Tuesday, 17 January 2012
12 Ways to Simplify Your Life
We all strive to be superstars at work, stay in top shape, have fabulous relationships, maintain a beautiful home, and find the time to volunteer for causes we support. But in trying to accomplish all this — at times simultaneously — we often have even less time for ourselves, our friends, and our families and end up instead with more stress, which can eventually lead to health problems. Try the following tips to simplify your life for a happier, healthier you. Learn to Say No One of the easiest ways to de-stress and find more time for yourself and the things that really matter is to learn to say one simple word: No. It's easier said than done, of course, but you don't need to give a lengthy explanation for your response; a simple "I would love to, but I just don't have the time right now" will do. Does that leave you feeling guilty? Try saying "No, but…" and offer an alternative that works better for you. Create a Place for Everything We've all lost countless minutes searching for our keys or that favorite pair of black pumps, inevitably when we're already late for work and trying to rush out the door. Create a place for your keys — put a hook by the door, for example, or a small silver tray in the foyer — and put your shoes back in their proper place in the closet after you wear them. Do the same with those other things that always seem to vanish. Your life will run much more smoothly. Pay Bills Automatically Buy yourself time and energy each month by signing up for automatic bill payments. It works best with utility bills such as your cable and telephone bill, which are about the same amount every month (and therefore unlikely to cause unpleasant surprises to your bottom line). You won't have to write checks or buy stamps, and your bills will always be paid on time. A bonus: It's good for the environment too, because you won't use the resources needed to mail a check. Stop Being a Slave to E-mail The average person spends about seven hours a week on e-mail. Needless to say, not all of that time is spent wisely. If your job allows for it, turn off your e-mail alerts and check e-mail only a few times a day. Second, create an e-mail account that is solely for your subscriptions (such as sales notifications, frequent-flier updates, newsletters, and so on) so they won't clutter your in-box. Clean Your Closets Do a clean sweep of your closet twice a year: at the start of spring and fall. Be as ruthless as possible, removing everything you haven't worn for two years or longer. Donate old work clothes to Dress for Success or the Salvation Army. When your closet is less cluttered, you'll spend less time searching for your skinny black pants, and getting dressed every morning will be that much easier. Invest in Smarter Lighting Compact fluorescent lightbulbs, which use up to 75 percent less energy than regular incandescent bulbs, aren't just better for the environment and your bank account — they also make your life easier. How? They last as much as ten times longer than incandescent bulbs, so you'll spend less time running to the store for replacement bulbs — and you'll never get caught in the dark. Save Time With Speed Dial Save the numbers of your favorite take-out restaurants in your cell phone. You can order on your way home from work or the gym so your dinner will be ready for pickup when you get there. It's a good idea to store all your important phone numbers in your cell, including those you call infrequently, like your doctor, dentist, and hair stylist. You won't waste time looking them up again. Just make sure you have those numbers recorded at home too, in case you lose your phone. Book Ahead Next time you're leaving your hair salon or doctor's office, why not schedule your next appointment? It will be one less call you'll need to make a few weeks down the line, and you'll get a prime time slot. Always ask for an appointment at the beginning of the day or after the office's lunch break so you'll be less likely to spend time cooling your heels in the waiting room. Enter the appointment straight into your PDA or onto your calendar. Prep Your Gym Bag Next time you get home from the gym, throw your sweaty clothes into the laundry hamper right away and put a clean set into your gym bag. You'll have one less excuse not to go to Pilates or spin class! Stock Your Desk Keep extras of basic supplies in your desk at work so that if the need arises, you won't be caught off-guard. Stock up on hand lotion, tampons, pantyhose, contact lenses, snacks, and pain medication. Clean Out Your Purse Throw out old gum wrappers, grocery lists, and other trash from your purse on a weekly basis. Designate a safe place in your wallet for receipts, in case you need them later. A clean, lighter purse makes it easier for you to find your keys, lipstick, and other essentials and will save your shoulder from excess strain. Ask for a Helping Hand Although it's a natural inclination to attempt to do everything on your own, that doesn't necessarily mean it's a good thing. When trying to complete an office project, delegate parts to co-workers or team members. You may be pleasantly surprised at how excited they are to help out. On the home front, you may find it's helpful, if your budget allows, to hire someone to do the work for you — for example, send your clothing to a laundromat, hire a monthly housekeeper, or have an accountant do your taxes. If you have a hard time making it to the gym, enlist a trainer to help get you there.