The first week of August is also known as National Simplify Your Life Week, and because of this, we would like to offer you some tips on how to simplify your life at home, at work, and within your daily routine. Each of these areas of simplification will require a bit of letting go, a bit of internal rumination, and dare I say a bit of fun.
Your home is where you begin and end each day. It’s where you raise your family, enjoy meals, and spend your free time. Make your living space an area of harmony in your life by following these tips.
Donate what you don’t need. This is the first one because it is likely the most obvious. How can you make your life simpler? Declutter! In the words of Marie Kondo, do your things spark joy? If not, toss ‘em. This is a large task for many of us, so divide it into manageable chunks. Take this process one room at a time, beginning with smaller rooms such as hallway closets and bathrooms. If you find items you didn’t even know you owned, chances are you can live without it. When sorting your clothes, consider packing up all of your clothes (and I mean all), and only take out what you need when you need it. After a month of this behavior, consider donating what hasn’t been unpacked.
Clear off surfaces. Now that you have parted ways with your non-essentials, look at countertops and bookshelves, bedside tables and dressers. Are they covered in items you decided to keep? Clean surfaces that hold only what is useful and/or beautiful will keep your mind clear while in your living space. The aesthetic value it adds will reduce stress and create a more open and airy look to your home.
Don’t let your chores pile up. Rinse dishes and place them into the dishwasher immediately after use. Do small loads of laundry each day to avoid a pile-up. Maintaining a clean living environment will help tremendously in achieving your simplistic lifestyle.
Limit media consumption at home. Staying plugged in 24/7 takes an emotional toll. It can put up barriers in your relationships, cause procrastination, and create a false sense of self within us. Set an intention to limit your media consumption (i.e. television, video games, social media), and to spend most of your free time doing something you love. Make a list of 4-5 things that you love to do and make it a point to accomplish those things each week.
Be present. Try to remind yourself that our days on Earth are limited. Every moment has the possibility to be relaxing, inspiring, and a point from which to grow. Eat slowly and enjoy each bite. Spend time with friends without worrying about the time. Take your kids on adventures before they grow up. Spend time doing the things you love now, because we are not promised tomorrow.
Ask yourself: Does this simplify my life? If it doesn’t, get rid of it.
Work is often considered one of life’s necessary evils. In order to have the things we need to survive, a dayjob is a basic requirement. A person spends an average of 90,000 hours at work during his or her lifetime. That’s quite a bit of time to be spending stressed out and overwhelmed by each day’s chores. Follow these tips for simplifying your work life.
Start early. If you are the type of person who often runs late, you are probably all-too-familiar with the stress that comes from rushing around all morning. Whipping through a morning routine out of obligation is no way to start each day. Set an intention to arrive at work 10-15 minutes early each morning. Even if you are unable to clock in for those minutes, you will appreciate the time to yourself while you organize your thoughts before the work begins.
Take your breaks. Busy people in particular tend to feel as though they cannot possibly stop working, not even for a minute, when a big deadline is looming. If you are holding a full bladder or the same hunched position for hours in order to increase your production, it is likely that you are actually hindering your work. A study from Forbes found that skipping out on breaks from mentally tasking jobs will hinder “productivity, mental well-being, and overall work performance.” Take advantage of the full lunch break provided by your employer. Unplug and relax while eating your meal so that you come back to work re-energized. In addition, take shorter breaks every hour to just walk around the office, grab some water, or stretch.
Simplify your email. If you are the long-winded type when behind a keyboard, set an intention to respond to emails in no more than five sentences. Spend some time each day unsubscribing from emails that do not benefit you.
Only focus on what you control. An easy way to become frustrated and distracted is to worry about things that are out of your control. Rather than gossiping or stirring in quiet irritation about another’s life, redirect that focus onto things that are within your control, and try your best to make a difference in those areas.
Don’t be afraid to say no (when appropriate). There are certain personality types that find it nearly impossible to turn down a person in need. Unfortunately, it is this same type of person who becomes taken advantage of. If you are already in the weeds and a coworker asks for your help with something, let them know what your schedule is like and politely decline the request. And if you are the type of person to ask for help frequently, understand that the person you are asking may be under stress, as well.
Tidy up. Just before signing off for the day, spend 2-3 minutes resetting your desk or office for the following day. Combine paperwork into organized piles and clip them together. Stack them in order of importance for the next day, or file them if the work is complete. Rinse your dirty dishes and take them home each night. (Nothing is worse than the smell of yesterday’s lunch!) Clear your computer windows and make a list of tasks to work on for the next day.
Within Your Daily Routine
If you find yourself struggling to maintain any sort of schedule in your life, maybe you’re doing too much! If it’s less about finding the time and more about finding the motivation, set some intentions for each day of the week, and begin taking part in a routine that enriches your mood and energy levels. Here are some tips on getting started.
Create a morning routine. Wake up 30 minutes earlier than you need to, and begin each day doing something you love. If you journal, set some intentions for your day. If you play an instrument, spend some time serenading yourself. If you have a dog, take it for a walk around the block. Warm up your body and your mind so that you are full of energy by the time you arrive at work. Whatever routine you choose, make it your own. Beginning each morning with activities that make you feel good will set an intention for the entire day. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Prepare healthy breakfasts in advance. Starting each day with the goal of eating healthy will last throughout the day, and grabbing a slice of breakfast pizza on your way to work may not encourage those same healthy objectives.
Drink a full glass of water. How often do you go through a work day without taking a single sip of water? The best way to begin a healthy habit is to start each day with it. The more water you make yourself drink, the more you will begin to crave after a couple of days with this routine.
Make your bed. If you are the type to feel peace when your home is in order, go a little step further by making your bed each morning. It will complete the look and feel of a clean room when you return, later on.
Meditate. Spend some time in the present, with minimal distractions. Sit with your eyes closed and breathe, pushing away thoughts of what you must do later as they come to you.
Schedule your chores. Designate a room of the house and one cleaning task (i.e. vacuuming, dusting) to each day of the week.
Keep a planner and make lists. Have you ever remembered needing to do something important, and then a second later you lost it? Keep a written record of appointments and tasks so your mind can have a break from mentally juggling everything for you. Looking at a completed schedule may also give you some ideas of what to cut from it.
Maintain a sleeping schedule. How many hours of sleep satisfies you during the weekend? If it’s more than what you traditionally get throughout the week, it’s time for a stricter bedtime. Our bodies are very responsive to routine and maintaining a schedule for sleeping (even on the weekends!) will simplify your days by giving you more energy to do the things you both need and want to do. Before going to bed at that set time each night, experts say to charge your phone in another room to eliminate distractions.
Create a bedtime routine. When it comes time to wind down and prepare for bed, spend some time decompressing from your day. Do something relaxing, like read or watch TV. Experts, however, do not recommend decompressing with your handheld devices. Taking a warm bath or hot shower before bed will relax your muscles and prepare you for sleep. You can also help your future self by setting out tomorrow’s outfit and preparing the morning’s breakfast.
If insurance tends to be a point of complication and stress in your life, you might be trying to handle too much on your own. Luckily, agents exist to take on that burden for you. Contact an independent agent near you by clicking the button, below. These experts are ready to match your exact needs to the perfect policy for you, and nobody knows as much about the industry as them.