Simplify Your Life

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What is your life like? Is it complicated - or relatively simple? Is it stressed - or mostly relaxed? Is it balanced - or somewhat unbalanced? Do you feel "overwhelmed" - or largely in control? Are you productive - or unacceptably inefficient?

It's obvious that the world is fundamentally complex and difficult. And it's getting more so all the time. Even in the best of times, there are many challenges, problems, and traumas to handle on a regular basis. And many times we do things that make our lives even more complicated.

We spend more money than we should. We let things go that need to get done. We try to juggle too many projects. We can't say 'no' to requests for our time. We don't prioritize or organize our lives. We don't take time to "rejuvenate" our minds. And the list goes on.

This "complicating" process we create for ourselves causes stress, anxiety, and frustration. So, one way to make ourselves happier - and to Be Happy! overall - is to simplify our lives.

This does not mean we lessen the focus on our goals, or reduce the amount of productive work we do, or even minimize our motivation to expand our opportunities. We can have or do all these things and still maintain a simpler, more relaxed state of mind.

There are many books, programs, and other sources of information designed to help us simplify our lives. For example, a friend of mine, David Irvine, wrote a bestselling book called Simple Living in a Complex World: A Guide To Balancing Life’s Achievements". Check it out. It provides a thorough perspective on the subject.

Since this is designed as a "quick tip" to improve your life and make you happier, though, what I want to accomplish here - for some immediate benefit - is to give you a few simple ways (just 3 for now) to make life simpler for yourself so you can be more balanced, happier, and less stressed.

Here they are:

1. Establish your priorities: This is a simple, two-fold process. First, establish your big-picture priorities. These are your life's priorities, like your family, your career, your health, your religion, and so on. Write them down in order of importance on a sheet of paper, in your PDA, or wherever you like - just make sure to physically write them down. Next, from this big picture list, consider the number 1 priority within each of those categories. For example, in the area of health, your top priority may be to get to your ideal body weight or quit smoking. Under family, your number 1 priority may be to make sure your children are given the best opportunities to succeed and be happy.

Once you have these two lists, you at least know what's most important to you in your life - from both a general (big picture) perspective and a more detailed perspective. This will allow you to then address tip #2, which is...

2. Organize things: Again, this is a two-fold process (and not as easy as #1). First, to organize your life you must know your time commitments. What takes most of your time on a daily and weekly basis? Are you involved in any organizations that require your time? Do you spend a lot of your time working on your house and/or family? Is your job your most time-consuming commitment? Do you have any hobbies that take up time? Are you on the phone a lot?

Once you know where you spend most of your time, you can start to evaluate which ones provide the most value to you (as related to your priorities from #1). Then you can organize the timing of each activity. For example, if one of your "big picture" priorities is health, and within health is maintaining excellent cardiovascular fitness, but you don't have time to exercise because you are spending too much time everyday watching TV (partly because entertainment relieves stress for you), there may be a disconnect. Or, if you spend quite a bit of time on the phone, it may be a matter of allotting one specific hour during the day to making or returning phone calls rather than taking calls as they come - whenever they come - or making calls whenever the "need" arises. Things can almost always wait a few hours, maybe longer.

Next, as the second part of "organizing things" to simplify your life, it is essential that you eliminate "stuff" and put things physically in their place. Simple things like tidying up your desk at the office, your closet and garage at home, your bills and financial documents, etc. Having things organized and neat simplifies both your mental and physical world.

One great way to do this is to hire a personal assistant (which is a goal of mine for next year). This will allow you to (1) organize things much more easily, (2) reduce distractions, and (3) maximize time for productive, fun, fulfilling activities.

3. Take time to rejuvenate: Many times, life seems more complex than it is in reality because of "mind clutter" rather than physical clutter. Some people meditate to relieve this clutter. Many experts believe meditation is a critical key to success and happiness. Other people prefer to take naps. Some people just like to get away - maybe to go fishing or something - for a few hours. Whatever works for you to rejuvenate your mind is acceptable.

These are 3 quick things anyone can do to simplify life a bit. Obviously, there much more. And since everyone's situation and preferences are different, you have to decide for yourself what works best for you.

The bottom line, though, is that simplifying life can make anyone happier. Again, without sacrificing goals and productivity. In fact, with less complexity and "mind clutter", productivity and the achievement of goals could improve.

Try it - and...

BeHappy! my friends


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