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Six Tips for Living a Simple Life

The goal of living a simpler life is becoming increasingly popular as people begin to feel the emptiness of materialism and the stress of an over-committed life. Here are a few tips to live a simpler life.

Tip 1: Identify your priorities

What is important to you? Spending time with your family? Doing volunteer work? Down-sizing? Traveling the world? Take some time to actually think through and write down your priorities. Your goals are much more likely to happen if you deliberately think about them and write them down. Then ask yourself if the life you're currently living is consistent with your stated goals. If not, what needs to change?

Tip 2: Learn to say no

Some of us have a natural tendency to over-commit. We don't want to let someone down by saying no, and that often results in making more commitments than we actually have time to accomplish, which leads to too much stress and then health problems, etc. You get the picture. It's better to say no upfront and allow some margin in your life so you can do justice to the commitments you already have. Remember, time is your most valuable resource. Money and stuff are replaceable. Time is not.

Tip 3: Limit distractions

We have many more options than previous generations, which also means we have many more distractions that can sidetrack us from what's really important. How will you accomplish your life goals if you are constantly distracted by things that suck up all your time? Smart phones, TV, video games, sports, and social media may have their place, but they are also notorious for sucking up time. If you did an audit of how you spend your time each week, you might be surprised at how much productive time you could gain back by turning off and unplugging. By intentionally limiting distractions, you can be more productive, reduce the risk of brain overload, and get back to living your priorities.

Tip 4: Remember that small things add up to big things

A little money wasted here or a little time wasted there adds up really fast! I have found for me that it's not the big chunks of time or big expenses that get wasted easily. If I'm buying a big item like a car, I'm going to shop around for a good deal and be wise with my money. Rather, it's the small amounts that are easy to waste. What about that daily cup of coffee, soda, or bag of chips? If you spent just $5 a day on such things (it's only $5, right?), assuming five days per week, you'll spend $1,300 over the course of a year! Or let's look at time spent on social media. Time spent on social media globally averaged at 135 minutes per person per day in 2017 (that's 2.25 hours). If that's you, congratulations, you spent 49,275 minutes (or 821.25 hours) on social media in 2017! Small things add up to big things. Choose wisely.

Tip 5: Automate your finances

For most of us, a large portion of our time is tied up in either making money, spending money, thinking about how we're going to spend money, regretting how we spent money, or wishing we had money. One way to simplify your financial life is to automate your finances as much as possible. You can set up monthly bills to get paid automatically, set up your retirement investing to be deducted from your paycheck, and some banks even allow you to set up automatic transfers (for example, from your checking to savings) so you can save money without thinking about it. Awesome!

Tip 6: De-clutter your home

All of us have extra items around the home that we don't use anymore. Why let them take up space and collect dust? Clear them out. Donate them to a charity, recycle, or possibly sell them. I suggest focusing on one section (like a closet) or one room of your house at a time. That way, it's not this massive, overwhelming project that ends up failing before it even starts. As you make progress little by little, your attachment to “stuff” will weaken. It's refreshing to have fewer possessions to clean, fix, and store. You'll find that not only does your home get de-cluttered, your mind does too!

That wraps it up for now! Do you have your own ideas to add? We'd love to hear them! Post them in the comment section below!

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