A couple of weeks back I read this very fascinating article that provided tips on how to make our lives less stressful, to lead simpler lives and accomplish more. I fell in love with the angle that the writer used in writing that article so I read it over and over again. I then picked out my favourite tips from the list as I was to give a speech on simplifying our lives. As you happen to be my favourite people, I decided to share these tips with you. Also be sure to visit the article’s original site as there are plenty more great ideas where these came from.
- Cultivate the practice of thinking through favours.
I am a yes machine. Saying yes comes a lot more naturally to me than saying no. I often in the past found myself saying yes to the most ridiculous requests. “Would you like to work the night shift while I go home and rest?” ‘Yes!’ “Can you give me $500?” ‘Sure!’ “Can you sign a 2 year phone contract for me?” ‘Absolutely!’ While you may laugh, all these are fact, I in the past agreed to such requests. As you can imagine none of them turned out well. For most of my life, my greatest shortcoming has been my inability to say no. I blame this on my relentless whim to please everyone.
There is a saying that goes, ‘once bitten twice shy’. After shooting myself in the foot one too many times, I finally had to learn. It would have been a lot smarter to think twice before committing to huge responsibilities. Better late than never right? Talk about being taught by the world. Over the past few years, I have taught myself to think carefully before committing myself to anything. Not too long ago I picked up a terrific trick to buy myself time to analyze things. I am not sure if you are familiar with Marie Forleo? She is a personal development trainer. She runs a web television channel and is also an author. Marie talks about business and self-development. On one specific episode of her Web TV, Marie suggested that anytime you are asked for a significantly big favour, don’t jump in and say yes. Instead, ask for as much information as you can possibly obtain, then say “let me get back to you on that”. I embraced this piece of advice because I realized I needed to do things differently. I did not want to find myself in a remand center sitting in for someone or something even remotely similar to that.
- A trimmed down closet is a breath of fresh air
Perhaps this one is particularly for the ladies, but some gentlemen might need this tip too or maybe the wife, sister or friend. It is pretty awesome to have a closet that is just about to spill out its guts, right? I like that too. It is awesome to have all those clothes for a rainy day. I have to tell you though, the number of times I have had mornings from hell because I cannot find anything to wear are countless. Days when you can only find one thick warm sock in the dead of the winter and there is simply no time to search some more. I am convinced the drier eats up one sock every time I do my laundry. I guess it’s only fair to pay libations to the drier after all the work I put it through. I am sure you too have struggled to find a shirt or a skirt or something to no avail. It’s a headache rummaging through all those clothes. Some of which have not been touched in months. Besides, for some of us less clothes means less quarters needed to do laundry. Savings! When you trim your closet you will have fewer frantic mornings and more pocket change for coffee. A friend of mine always insists that if you haven’t worn it in 6 months, let it go.
- How about a digital sabbatical leave?
The internet is so addictive. How many times have you gone online simply to respond to an e-mail to find yourself seated at the same spot hours later? And still yet to respond to that e-mail? I am guilty of this. I get online and one thing leads to another. There are nights that I have stayed up past midnight not exactly being productive but working very diligently on the internet. The day following such late nights I am grumpy and exhausted all day. I then make a promise to self that from that day on I would be asleep by ten. I get home and prepare myself for the next day at work and go to bed early enough. Then at 12.17am I glance at the time on my computer and curse. Here we go again. Is it just me with zero self-discipline? Actually, it’s just you now. I moved my computer out of my room. My alarm goes off at 9.45pm to remind me that it’s close to bedtime. On Saturdays, I have a rule not to use the internet at all. I take a digital sabbatical leave and it’s refreshing. Now I wake up in good time, well rested and ready for the day. On the weekends, I can give my family and friends my undivided attention.
Making these few adjustments to your lifestyle could be all the change you need. Ever heard the saying “a change is as good as rest”? Often times we don’t even need a break, we just need to try a different strategy. My challenge is for you to resist the urge to please every Tom, Dick and Harry, get rid of all the unnecessary clothing you keep for just-in-case and lastly to learn to take a break from surfing the internet long enough to develop human contact with loved ones. The fewer things you have on your plate, the better your performance. In business school, they advocate for companies to concentrate on producing or providing only those services they are excellent at and leaving everything else for someone who is more skilled. The reason they insist on this method is because they are aware that one can only do so much without being overwhelmed. I recommend the same practice to help cut down unnecessary stressors.