We say it often…
Why can’t my life be easier…
The reality is we control most of what we do with our lives.
Our life is like a bucket that we carry back and forth from the well. It’s easiest and most efficient when the bucket is about half full. That’s the balancing act of our lives. Too little and we don’t accomplish much.
But too full…that’s what most of us struggle with. It’s easy to add too much to our lives. A little here. A little there. It seems harmless, but over time it adds up until we’re splashing water all over the place.
You CAN make your life easier.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Clean Your Surroundings
Clutter makes your brain flutter. I’ve experienced it all the time. I’m struggling with it now every time my 2-year old daughter throws her toys all over the room.
Maybe I’m different from most people. Maybe a little more skewed to avoiding mess. But when I see someone that complains about their life being too busy or complicated, I immediately start looking at their surroundings.
Their house is usually a mess. Their car is the same. Their schedule, if they have one, is in total disarray.
The struggle comes from thinking the mess comes as a result of what your life is doing to you. Instead, think that you can change it. You can clean the little things first. Your brain will relax and it’ll make your life easier.
2. Clean Yourself
Take care of yourself. Bathe. Comb your hair. Dress neatly. Schedule a regular day to do your laundry. Shave. Taking care of your body makes you feel good and it’s one less, but very important, thing to worry about. It can take a little time to develop good cleaning habits, but it’s worth it. You don’t have to try all the cleaning rituals. Choose a few and form a routine.
3. Develop Routines
Speaking of routines, they’re very important for lessening the load on your brain. Audit what you’re doing each day now. It’s probably a little random. It’s good to be flexible. But it’s important to have routines so you subconsciously do the little things without thinking too much.
Keep the routines healthy. Do the same good things over and over. It takes a little time to snap into good routines, but it’s well worth it.
4. Eliminate Channels of Communication
Billy Murray is a genius.
Yes, as an actor. He’s very entertaining and funny. At least to many.
But his real genius is how he has limited his channels of communication. And the crazy thing is that Bill did this when the only real forms of communication where letters, in-person and the phone.
He was mostly having issues with constant phone calls. Mostly positive ones with movie role opportunities. But he got sick of it. He recognized that the roles were too tempting for him to ignore so he got rid of his phone lines and only made a single 1-800 number semi-public.
Now it’s a challenge to contact Bill.
Today, most of us have way too many forms of communication that people can use to reach us. Email, text, phone, social media, etc.
Cut it down to one or two or your brain will explode.
5. 1 Job, 1 Hobby, 1 Sport
I read this advice in Rod Stewart’s memoir, of all places. But it’s been very good to me. Rod said that his father told him this advice and he’s followed it. Music is his job. Model trains are his hobby. Soccer is his sport.
For the average person, this method works very well. Spend your free money on what you love, your hobby and sport, and you won’t feel bad about what your peers spend their money on.
Less stress about money. More of doing what you love. You can still occasionally try new things, but mostly focus on what you love the most.
6. Spend Only On Top Priorities (ignore what others spend on)
Speaking of spending, when you spend on your main priorities, it really simplifies your life. Obviously we all have the basics like food, water, energy, shelter, etc.
But we spend a lot of money on things we don’t really need. That might bring us happiness in the moment, but that make us feel bad later on.
For each of the main spending categories, figure out what your top priorities are. Even look at the categories themselves and prioritize them based on what you and your loved ones really appreciate the most.
For some, it might mean allocating a larger percentage on food. For another, it might mean less on food and more on vacations.
This exercise is incredible for allocating money and spending on what you love the most. No hard feelings. No shame. Just accountable spending that actually leads to happiness.
7. Give People The Benefit of the Doubt
Life knocks us down a lot. It’s a struggle for everybody.
One of the realities is that some people will let you down. They’ll promise you something and not follow through. They’ll steal from you. They’ll make you feel bad about yourself.
Eliminate the people that do it repeatedly, but give new people the benefit of the doubt. Don’t question the intentions of new people until you get some data.
This frees up your mind for good things to happen with new relationships.
8. Learn From People
We like to show off our intelligence. I’m guilty of it all the time. I cringe at myself when someone tells me something and reply with, “I know…” or “I bet it’s because of this…” or “It probably works like this…”.
Why do that?
Try to learn something from each person you interact with. It’s impossible to know everything. Everyone has different work, experiences and more. They all have something to teach.
9. The Good Stuff Sticks
All through school and college I never took notes. Even when I worked for a few years in the corporate world I was a terrible note taker. It drove my peers, teachers and colleagues crazy sometimes.
It probably cost me a few things. But that’s life. You can’t remember everything anyway even if you’re taking notes. And when you’re taking notes you’re not listening and observing.
It might work for some people, but consider the alternative. No notes. No pictures.
I read an article about a successful journalist. That was very different from his peers. He never took notes. Even on important features. He said that the good stuff (sh!t) sticks.
And it’s true. Our brains are really good at filtering information.
Pay attention and trust yourself to remember what matters most to you.
10. Audit Your Days, Schedule Important Things
You now know that it’s good to figure out what’s important to you.
Now audit your days, weeks and months. Everything you do.
Then go back and schedule time for the most important things. The things that bring in money or that make you most happy or that make the people you care about most, the most happy.
Schedule it to make sure it happens.
Life is complicated. And we tend to make it even more complicated. Much more than it needs to be. But the good news is that we can also make it easier. It goes against our instincts. So it takes work. But if you take on the challenge you will come out happier and more relaxed and probably more successful on the other side.