Life, in the modern age, can be a lot to handle. At no time in human history have men and women been bombarded with more information than now. We have to contend with work, media, internet, cell phones, constant communication and a seemingly unlimited amount of choice ranging from healthcare options to what kind of overly complicated coffee drink we select (just to get enough caffeine in us to wade through the choices we’ll inevitably be confronted with during a typical day). Freedom to choose is great, but the sheer tonnage of options can make life extremely stressful.
Keeping the complexity of modern living in mind, here are a few simple — but not necessarily easy — things you can do to take some of the stress out of your life. With less stress and more time on your hands, you can then take stock of the reasons you’re alive in the first place.
Get Organized and Unclutter
Unclutter your life. It’s simple to do, and incredibly beneficial. Why, you may ask, do clutter and disorganized households, garages, and car floors harm you? Because clutter wastes time. When you get home, if you take an extra few minutes and put everything away in its appropriate place — keys on the key rack, coats in closet, dirty clothes in the hamper, groceries in the cupboard or fridge — you’ll save a ton of time down the line by not having to dig through piles to find whatever it is you happen to be looking for.
A simple, organized way of dealing with your things will free up your mind for a solid rest, for work, or other leisurely pursuits. Stop fretting about where you left something by always leaving it in its proper place.
Give Unessential Items Away
Speaking of items that clutter up your life, a great way to simplify is by giving unessential possessions away. The term “hoarder” is part of our lexicon for a reason. Sure, you can go overboard with this, and maybe give away something you might actually need someday, but if you have old clothing, tools, sport equipment, and other items that you haven’t touched in over five years, or say, a decade, it’s probably time to let that stuff go. You’ll have more space, less clutter, and if you give your junk away to charity, you’re simultaneously helping someone in need. Learn to remove the useless debris from your life that you don’t need anymore.
Simplify Your “At Home” Diet
When you’re out on the town, go wild, and eat whatever you like (provided you’re not on a restricted diet), but at home, break things down and simplify your eating habits a bit. While this concept will differ between a true gourmet (who needs more cooking ingredients) and a meat and potatoes kind of guy, it can benefit both types. By not buying every new flavor of Doritos (or spiced herb for the gourmet dude), snack food, or cleverly marketed quick and easy dinner innovations, and focusing on the basic and tasty foods you like instead, you’ll save valuable time in the kitchen and the supermarket, as well as money on your grocery bill.
Think about, and then do a little research on the staple foods (not junk food) you tend to reach for. Learn the pros and cons of different brands, growers, and producers of your favorites foods, and then make a list. Use that list as your dietary base, augmenting every so often with a few special treats.
Stop Keeping Score
Unfortunately, in some social and business environments, the fact that you only have Timex, while another dude has a glossy new Rolex, is a big deal. Snobbery does exist, but you need to stop keeping score. If life is only about making sure you have the latest iPad, coolest car, or toy that your friends and neighbors have, you’ll never be satisfied, even if you’re a multimillionaire. Research suggests that, contrary to popular belief, our happiness levels off after we reach a certain degree of financial comfort.
Leave the snobs behind in their never-quite-obtainable material world. Relax and be your own man, separate from the things you own. You’ll be happier for it.
Plan Ahead With Simple Lists
Simple lists can do wonders for your life. Lists about what you need to get done this week, this month, or even this year, kept on your phone or in your agenda, will let you put a line through something once it has been knocked off. This will give you a sense of closure, and accomplishment.
Successful people tend to order the events in their lives with lists — or at the very least have an assistant do it for them. Why not decide what you want to get done with your time on this Earth — big picture and little picture — and then create a list or two, and start doing these things.