How to Live a SIMPLIFIED Life
You make hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of decisions every day, and I’d bet a pretty penny that you barely even notice it.
What time should I wake up in order to give myself enough time to get ready before work? Should I wash my hair today or just put it in a ponytail? What outfit should I wear? Do I want milk in my coffee? Take transit or drive? Buy or make lunch? Go to the gym on my lunch break or on my way home? Maybe not even go at all? Proactively prepare for my meeting or try to wing it? Grab coffee with co-workers or make it a solo trip? Walk home or take transit? Make dinner or order in? Watch Friends or Stranger Things on Netflix? Red pajamas or blue? Go to bed early or watch one more episode?
Seems exhausting, doesn’t it? And that’s only A PORTION of the split-second choices we make on a regular basis. Can you believe how powerful our brains are that they do all of this practically subconsciously? It’s one of the reasons that we’re so prone to burn-out and fatigue. We’re constantly forcing ourselves into making these choices that we’re not even giving ourselves the choice to NOT make these choices. Ugh… my head hurts.
However, I am on a personal mission to reduce the number of decisions I have to make in a day. This is to not only decrease my overall stress and anxiety, but to increase my overall well-being and happiness, as well. The fewer the choices I have to make, the more I can prioritize making QUALITY choices. If you’d like to make this your personal mission as well, read on for some of my tips and tricks on how to live a much more SIMPLIFIED life.
1. MEAL PREP/PLAN
If I’m being honest, this is one of the harder ones for me, and that’s why I’m mentioning it first. Some days I have to choose between getting to work on time, looking like a regular human-being, and making and eating breakfast.. That is NOT a choice I should be forcing myself to make, and that is why meal prepping/planning is a great solution.
For some (namely me), meal prepping can actually lead to increased stress. I really like variety in my food, as well as the process of cooking food and eating it fresh. So, the thought of eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all. week. long. is a total nightmare. That said, preparing meals in advance may be just the thing you need to help you eat better and even save some money in the process. Still, if you’re anything like me, you may prefer meal planning instead. This just means that you know exactly what you’ll be making and eating for each meal of the day. Some of it could be pre-prepared if you wanted like hard boiled eggs or pre-portioned fruit, but for the most part you are still making everything relatively fresh. It just takes the guess-work (and decision-making) out of your daily meals!
2. LAY OUT YOUR OUTFIT(S) THE NIGHT BEFORE
Guilty as charged, the biggest decision of my morning tends to be what to wear. And I KNOW that most of you spend a large chunk of time before starting your day just staring at your closet full of clothes. But that feeling of “I’ve got nothing to wear” is no longer valid, and here’s why: if you take the time to plan your outfit or outfits the night before, you won’t feel as pressed for time the next day. This especially goes for the social butterflies of the world that like to go out after work, or the gym rats that need to get their pump on before heading home for the day. If you plan and bring your extra outfit with you, you’re more likely to follow through with your plans.
Guilty as charged AGAIN, I can’t count the number of times I’ve gone all the way home to pick up my gym clothes and ended up not going to the gym at all because I’m already comfortable at home.. Don’t do this to yourself, because it’s super self-sabotaging.
3. TIME BATCHING
If you’ve never heard of it, Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential is queen of this efficiency hack. Time batching is something I’m trying to incorporate into my life a little more because it’s a great way of narrowing in on what needs to get done and when. If it says in your calendar that from 8:30am until 9:00am that you’re commuting to work, then there’s no questioning that’s time allotted exclusively for travel. Same goes for catching up on emails, or preparing for a presentation. It helps to reduce the number of distractions, and it makes it way easier to be present and stay focused on the task at hand.
I’m a terrible multi-tasker, so even when I’m working on one task, there’s usually 50 other things going on in my head at the same time. This is a) very overwhelming, and b) often results in reduced efficiency and sometimes even quality of work. Again, DON’T DO THIS TO YOURSELF.
4. SET REALISTIC GOALS
This ties back to the first point, in that, you have to give yourself some credit and be realistic about your goals. If meal prepping isn’t for you, then find alternative measures to help you reach your goals. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew, so being realistic with ourselves about how much we can ACTUALLY get done in a given time-frame can help us manage personal expectations. A good portion of my day-to-day stress comes from my own expectations of myself. However, by lowering my expectations to a more achievable level, I am leaving myself enough room to mentally walk away and come back to the task at hand with a more refreshed mindset. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right?
5. LEARN TO SAY NO
Are you a “Yes-person”? I sure am. Ever see the movie Yes Man with Jim Carrey? Well, SPOILERS, saying yes to everything leads to total and complete disaster. And remember at the beginning when I pointed out how many decisions we’re ALREADY making for ourselves on any given day? Just throw in all the additional things to consider as soon as you incorporate someone else into the equation, and you’re bound to burn yourself out and quick. Don’t get me wrong, saying yes to opportunities when you’re just starting out is really important. That shouldn’t, however, come at the cost of your mental and physical health.
This is another one of the biggest struggles I’m facing right now, as I am a total people-pleaser. Still, in certain instances, saying no to things has been the best decision I could possibly make for myself. The more commitments I make to other people, the less commitment I’m making to bettering myself as a young adult, a girlfriend, a daughter, etc. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to give your brain time to rest and recuperate.
Which of these tips and tricks are you planning on incorporating into your own life? Are there any that I missed that you swear by? Because, honestly, I can’t take much more of this over-stimulation.