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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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