Simplify Your Life
If your life is the perfect example of a Rube Goldberg machine, then maybe it is time for you to switch to the KISS principle of Keep It Simple, Stupid! After all, the simpler your life is, the fewer openings there are for the stress bugs to crawl through.
Frugal living is a way to simplify your life and to save money at the same time. Although we do not expect you to sacrifice your motorcycle for a push bike, there are no doubt plenty of expenditures in your life that you could do without. For instance, can you really tell the difference between brand-name toilet paper and generic toilet paper? Do you think the cockroaches and other insects care whether you have dropped a few extra bucks on their poison? Similarly, if you are not much of a gearhead, consider saving yourself a few thousand bucks on the car you buy. Relax — we will not send you into Volvo territory by reminding you that a car is a device to go from A to B. As a final idea in frugal living, investigate whether you can use an Internet phone or voice-chat software to communicate with your long-distance loved ones.
For finance, the first step in simplification is to pay off all your debts. Do not spend wildly while you have debts accumulating; they will come back to haunt you after you have had your thrills. You can simplify your bill payments by arranging for direct debits. Ideally, you should have a separate bank account for your direct debits so that your bank statements are simplified and easy to follow. Then all you have to do is “feed” your secondary account from time to time. You can also use the secondary account for your online purchases, online sales, and online banking — doing so is probably safer than using your primary bank account anyway.
Limit the number of people who have your cell phone number and other contact details. This way, you will have fewer calls to handle. Free yourself of stressful commitments by developing the assertiveness to say no to people when you are not interested in doing something they would like you to do.
To save yourself from having to do a lot of extra work around your home or apartment, limit the amount of washing you have to do by wearing some of your clothes two or three times. Iron only dress shirts and pants — the rest is a waste of time, and no one will be able to tell the difference anyway. If you can afford one, buy a dishwasher to automate another tedious chore.
Among the many ways of simplifying your online life, you can use RSS feeds to simplify your Web surfing. These will let you know when your favorite sites have updates, eliminating the need for manual checking. If you are an email addict, consider limiting the number of emails you initiate. (You thought we would say the number of emails you reply to, right? Hey, we are not that rude!)
Also, unless the emails you receive are matters of urgency directed to your superhero business, you can probably limit yourself to checking your email only once or twice a day (morning and night). Better yet, download a free email-notification utility that will let you know when you actually have email.
Get rid of unneeded books, clothing, furniture, and other freeloaders around the home. Consider donating your used clothes to a charity or a homeless hostel. Sell your unwanted junk on eBay — one popular saying assures us that what you consider junk, another may consider treasure. Tidy up your desk and bookshelf so that you have only the essentials of business and pleasure.
Two books that you may find inspirational are Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by, well, Benjamin Franklin. One book that may change your life is Getting Things Done, by David Allen. Allen suggests that the first step for effective living is to transfer all your “open loops”, or things to do, from your mind to an advanced system of activity management. Indeed, the simple act of unloading a huge to-do list from your memory to a piece of paper reduces stress immediately.