We have crazy busy lives and it is almost as if we wear the hashtag #busylife like a badge of honour. Invariably when someone asks us how we are, we answer, “busy” with a wry smile and a shake of the head. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could answer instead, “I am really well” instead of letting others know how run off our feet we are? We are moving so fast, that it often feels like it is impossible to stop. Our lives are complicated, busy and seemingly forever connected. It is time to get back to basics, which can allow us to feel happier and more in control of our lives. Simplifying things though is not always as easy as it sounds, so following are my 10 best ways to get back to basics.
The feeling of being connected all the time can be a huge pressure. So, find time to disconnect. This does not have to be something frightening like losing your devices, but allocating a time when you are disconnected can be a wonderful way of calming your mind. I like to disconnect on Sunday. As a freelancer I could be working 24 hours a day, there is always something I could be doing. But I have recently got into the habit of trying to disconnect on a Sunday. I don’t check my emails, I avoid social media, I don’t scroll through my feed and when I watch television I don’t do it with one eye on the box and one eye on my phone. It is amazingly liberating how one day can be.
- Clear your inbox
There is nothing worse than opening your email and seeing 20 or 30 messages in your email inbox. Get into the habit of deleting, filing or responding. If you open an email and it does not need a response, delete! If you can respond straight away, reply and delete. If it is something that needs to be addressed but you can’t do it right away, create a folder that can be addressed at a later day. With a little bit of management, you can easily reduce the sense of overwhelm that your inbox can deliver.
Emails again – start unsubscribing. We all know the sites that we click on for that amazing travel deal we never take, the chance to win a car or get that freebie download. By doing so, we are opening ourselves up to even more emails in our inboxes. Everything that we inadvertently subscribe to, has a very simple and easy unsubscribe button on the bottom. If you see emails coming in and they are not essential to your life, hit unsubscribe!
- Stop opening so many tabs!
Want to simplify things? Then stop opening so many tabs or close them when you are done. You will find with only one tab open, the one that is applicable to what you are doing right now, there will be fewer distractions popping up on your screen and you will be able to focus and will also be so much more productive.
- Develop a morning routine
The way we start our mornings can set up the rest of our day. Develop an early morning routine where you give yourself a few minutes of quiet. It doesn’t matter if it is only 10 minutes and something as simple as hitting the snooze button while you lie in bed and count your blessings. But make it a routine and look forward to a few minutes of delicious selfish time.
- Stop doing two things (or more) at once
We have all become incredible multi-taskers. We are experts at ordering coffee while checking our emails. Watching our favourite television programme while scrolling through our Instagram feeds. Eating lunch while doing internet banking. Start focussing on one thing and give it all your attention. It has an amazingly calming influence to just do one thing at a time.
- Say no more often
Say no. Say no as often as you can. We don’t always have to say yes. We are not super-women and we don’t have to be everything for everybody. Start being a little selfish (selfishness is not a bad thing if it just means looking after yourself) and say no occasionally. If it means you have a little more time for you, and no-one is hurt in the process, it can only be a good thing.
- Go to bed early
Switch off and go to bed early. Sleep is one of the most restorative and powerful processes we can give our bodies. If it is not something you have to watch, if those things you feel you must do, can wait, then turn off those devices and go to bed. Go to bed early and luxuriate in a good night’s sleep.
- Minimize your wardrobe
Having fewer clothes to choose from, can also mean less stress in the morning when choosing what to wear. If you love clothes, you don’t have to deal with a capsule wardrobe or anything that is overwhelming. A simple idea is to look at your wardrobe and if you see anything you have not worn for a year, then donate it or get rid of it. If you have gone through four seasons and have not worn something, then chances are you are not going to wear it again. By reducing your wardrobe a little, it can simplify the whole dressing process.
- Slow down
It sounds simple, but so few of us do it. We are busy, busy, busy, but on occasion, we just need to slow down. Learn to inhale, count to 10 and simply slow down.