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3 Tips for Enriching Life Without the Riches

3 Tips for Enriching Life Without the Riches

Is money really the root of all evil? It might be if we’re living life thinking it’s the root of all happiness.

That’s what came to mind after recently bumping into an old friend—let’s call him Kevin—who moved back to our hometown following a midlife crisis over money. Kevin’s story goes something like this:

Meet Kevin

Having had a fascination with numbers since he was a kid, Kevin eventually turned this into a skill that proved beneficial throughout his education and later on in the workforce. Though we all need cash to pay the rent, buy groceries, and support a family, Kevin eventually bought into the philosophy that money was the means to a more enriching lifestyle and took this way of thinking to a whole new level. After some bad advice—and still more bad advice—the bills for the car, memberships, subscriptions, and other expenses accumulated, until he was hoping for nothing more than a pot of gold to fall into his lap! The situation got so bad he decided to pay off all his debts, left the city he was in, and moved back home to start brand new.

“Money isn’t evil,” Kevin said as we were sitting in a coffee shop one day. “It’s like many things in the world that need to be dealt with in moderation. And like all those things, if we’re living life thinking it’s the root of all happiness, then there’s a problem.”

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While Kevin is slowly starting to get back on his feet again, his story got me thinking about my own life and how what many of us are truly seeking when we’re focused on making money are the freedoms we associate with every new bill stuffed in our pocket. What do I mean?

We sometimes perceive a bigger cash flow as providing special freedoms and immunity to many of life’s pressures, such as debt and emotional stress, but this is rarely the case. The people we consider rich have many of the same problems as us, and even if they don’t, they have different ones that money can’t solve. It’s important to realize money is not the ultimate answer to freedom and that there are other paths towards enriching life and gaining fulfillment without all the riches.

There are three things in particular that have had tremendous positive influence on my daily flow and outlook, as follows:

Downsize

Looking around your living space, take note of some of the rarely used or untouched items that ‘close in’ your home rather than open it up. Clutter can be a killer of creativity because instead of day to day life feeling light, we’re weighed down in our pursuit of trying to move forward and follow our dreams.

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The answer, however, isn’t a bigger home or even putting it all in storage, but saying goodbye to as much of it as possible. The keyword here is downsize, and I’m not talking about parting with your favorite sweaters, stamp collection, or grandmother’s pearls and diamonds, but the piles of clothing you wear once in a blue moon, old school papers sitting in a box in the attic, and all those books on the shelves that have little significance for you at this point in life.

Downsizing not only renews our living space, but releases us from worrying about things like constantly cleaning everything up, figuring out what to do with it all in case there’s a need to move, or how to let others into our personal domain without feeling self-conscious.

It could take a few Sunday afternoons or more to sort through it all, but when you’re finished it will be an entirely new sense of freedom.

Live a minimalist lifestyle

Downsizing is one thing, living a minimalist lifestyle is something else because it helps slow the re-accumulation of stuff. Living a ‘less is more’ mindset also instills a revolutionary feeling that whether money is available or not, a person can still survive on very little and lead an enriching life.

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That being the case, if you’re used to stocking up the cupboards or getting things in bulk when they are on sale, try taking a minimalist approach and reject the temptation for all the extras. This can be particularly hard for someone like me who loves a good bargain, but when considering a purchase ask yourself if it’s just about the great price and whether or not the item is truly necessary.

As for all other possessions and new things that may find their way into your home, do an annual ‘checking in’; putting everything in one of two categories, such as sentimental and non-sentimental. Try as hard as possible to let go of the latter, and since this is a process, don’t get down on yourself when making hard or surprising decisions. Less will be more.

Respect yourself

Finally, having found a major part of enriching life being the letting go of things and living more simply, another side is taking care of and respecting one’s self so all the newfound freedoms that come with greater flexibility can be put to good use.

This may mean putting up certain boundaries like not staying out too late, or scheduling time for work and play so neither takes precedence over the other and we don’t stray too much off course.

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It also includes doing things like eating well, exercising, getting back in touch with old friends and positive influences from the past, and improving current relationships.

The goal should be to live an overall healthier lifestyle because when looking back over the years you’ll want to know two important things:

  1. That you made the most of what you had, happy with your lot.
  2. That you’re healthy enough to carry on and enjoy the rest of your time.

If you can manage that, all the money in the world wouldn’t change the feeling of satisfaction.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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