“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ——Confucius
“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.” ——Bruce Lee
One simple reason and one of the most important ones for me is that simplicity reduces the heaviness in life.
It makes it lighter and not so stressful or energy draining as it once might have been.
So today I would like to share 13 daily habits that make my life simpler, lighter and happier. I hope you’ll find something useful for your own life among these habits.
Use a very simple workspace. My workspace is just a laptop and a larger screen on a desk made out of wood. I use a comfy chair and there is room for my glass of water beside the computer. That’s it. There are no distractions here. This makes it easier to write and to keep a clear mind.
Cook more food than you’ll eat. We usually make 4-10 servings of what we are about to eat. This cuts down on time that you spend on cooking and you’ll have to do less washing up in general. Plus, you’ll have lunch for the day after. And sometimes a couple of portions to put in the freezer. And that really comes in handy on those evenings when you don’t feel like cooking.
Write shorter emails. I tend to write emails containing only a few sentences, usually between one and five. In some cases I write more of course. But keeping this guideline in mind cuts down on the time and energy that is spent on processing emails.
Be 10 or 5 minutes early for meetings and appointments. This will help you to make your time of travel into a sort of break and a time of relaxation. Instead of it being another thing that ramps up the stress.
Spend only 20% of your time on dwelling on a problem. And 80% of your time focusing on a solution. Instead of the other way around. It is not always easy to do but keeping this thought in mind makes it easier to not fall into the trap of feeling like a victim or going down a spiral of perceived powerlessness.
Stop trying to do things perfectly. Go for good enough instead and when you are there you are done. Get things all the way to done this way and then move on to the next thing. Setting this more human bar for yourself not only leads to more things actually being finished but also helps with keeping your self-esteem on a healthy level. Perfectionism makes it pretty impossible to find or maintain high self-esteem.
Stop trying to please everyone. Because no matter what you do there will always be people who you don’t get along with. That you don’t have good chemistry with. Or that do not like you for some reason that may often be about them and something that you have no control over.
Eat slower. Make your lunch time a time of relaxation rather than a time to just add to the stress of your day. One thing that works well to slow down when eating is to put down the fork between bites.
Enjoy the simple pleasures. A pear. Fresh and clean bed sheets. A hug and a kiss. Holding hands. A laugh with friends. The sun and blossoming nature after a long and cold winter.
Give each item a home. Then you’ll know where to put the item when you have used it and easily find it again when you need it. Plus, you’ll reduce the clutter in your workspace or at home.
Write everything down. Pretty much everyone’s memory is leaky. So help yourself. Write down what you need to do or shop for today. Write down your ideas before they fly away. Write down the one habit or area you are focusing on right now in your life and put that note where you can see it every day. Like on your bedside table or bathroom mirror.
Avoid making mountains out of molehills. When stressed about something ask yourself: will this matter 5 years from now? Or even 5 weeks from now?
Breathe. When you are lost in overwhelm, a problem or the past or future in your mind breathe with your belly for a minute or two and just focus on the air going in and out of your nostrils. This will calm your body down and bring your mind back into the present moment again.