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It’s Simplify Your Life Week!

It’s Simplify Your Life Week!
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BY STEVE NUBIE

The first week of August is actually called, “Simplify Your Life Week.”  Here are 5 tips to simply make that happen.

There are a lot of people who would agree that our lives and lifestyles have become more complicated. It’s inevitable with age as clutter continues to grow in our attic and basements, and as we find we’re inundated with more and more messages from the Internet, cell-phones and growing financial burdens.  Making the decision to simplify isn’t simple but it can be done if you take it a little at a time.

1.   Prioritize

What’s important to you? Make a short list of the 5 things that matter most in your life and think about reducing the time you spend on the rest or eliminate them all together.  If your kids or grandkids are the most important thing in your life, what can you reduce or eliminate so you can spend more time with them?  It’s hard to simplify when you don’t have your priorities in order so make that your first step.

2.    Clutter 

If you haven’t used it for 5 or more years and none of your friends or family want it – have a garage sale, donate it or throw it away. Obviously we wouldn’t do this with something of great sentimental value, but if it’s an old, broken chain saw your grandfather used to use and it’s not an antique it’s time to let it go.

If you want to take a more measured approach to this, collect things you think friends or family might want and have a free shopping party. Who knows, they might spot an old dresser you had planned on keeping and make you an offer for it.

Donations can also be an easy way to reduce clutter usually at resale shops that work for charities. Keep a record either as a list, or photographs and try to estimate the value.  Donations of property are tax deductible but make sure you keep good records and get some kind of receipt from the resale shop or the charity.

Finally, you can just throw it away. If you do a little at a time with your regular garbage pickup you’ll erode the clutter you couldn’t sell or give away.

3.    Finances 

The obvious move for many people is to sell their home and move into a place that’s more affordable. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.  However, downsizing a house can be a little easier to do in addition to downsizing some of the more advanced features with your cable TV, Internet and wireless service provider.

Some empty-nesters will close off rooms in the house and shut down vents for heating and air-conditioning. However, you don’t want to shut the heat off to a bathroom unless you’ve disconnected the water and that’s a bit extreme.  

Energy saving lightbulbs and appliances are another simple move. Here again, you could buy a couple of bulbs a week and keep an eye on the energy efficiency of any new appliance you buy.

The easiest way to get finances simplified gets back to priorities. What’s important to you and what could you do without?  Once you have that sorted out you’ll know where to start.

4.    Everyday changes

The telegram here is learning how to say, “no.” We’re always getting asked to volunteer, help out, lend some money, watch my dogs or some other task that eats up our time.  Get back to your priorities.  If it’s your daughter’s dog of course you’ll watch it.  But can you say “no” to that neighbor who lives down the street when they ask for the same thing?

Try reducing your communication and media time. Do you binge watch shows on Netflix?  If that’s a priority go ahead, but if it’s consuming time you need to spend on other things give it a break.  The same goes for emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and cell phones.  Pick a time to check your communications, but don’t let them dominate your day.

5.    Relationship simplification

Spend time with people you care for and whom you love. If you don’t particularly enjoy being with a person or group, it’s time to move on to those people who matter most to you.

The whole key is to make simplification your top priority whether it’s cleaning out a room, reducing expenses or spending more time with the ones you love. If you make simplification a habit you’ll not only find yourself to be more productive, but probably a whole lot happier.

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Steve Nubie
Steve Nubie has been writing professionally for 38 years. He is a published author with 10 books to his credit, has written for CBS Entertainment for the Twilight Zone series, and has written hundreds of articles for magazines and the Internet. He has served as Chief Creative officer in the marketing and advertising industry, was an Executive career-coach, is a chef and has traveled extensively living in Asia for two years, and London for two years.