10 Ways to Make Life Easier & Free Up Time

Modern life is hard work and, if you're anything like me, you're always on the look out for ways to make it easier, simpler and better organised.  You know that expression keep it simple, stupid?  Well this is the KISS approach to life.  Taking a relatively small amount of time now to put systems in place will reap time, money and stress reducing rewards in the future, and make life way simpler.

1. Empty

Clear your inbox out every Sunday.  Whether you work, parent or something else, answer, deal with or delete all e-mails by Sunday evening.  Starting the week with a blank slate is so much easier than having a backlog of unresolved issues.

2. Evaluate

Schedule in evaluation stops.  To avoid constantly feeling that you aren't doing enough or aren't good enough, and that life is a constant round of stress and repetition, stop and take stock.  What have you achieved?  What were the best moments or days of your week/month, and why?  Carry these successes forward and plan for more.

3. Schedule

Even if you're not a planner, having a clear rhythm to your week makes the day to day so much easier.  Schedule tasks, blog posts, hair cuts, grocery deliveries, exercise sessions, car MOT and service, etc etc as far in advance as possible, then slot everything else in around them.  This is so much easier than trying to do it the other way round.

4. Invest

Buy season tickets for local days out or attractions to both save money and give you something to do on days off.  Or join a nationwide organisation such as English Heritage or the National Trust for hundreds of free days out.  No more half-term 'what shall we do?' worries, it almost plans itself.

5. Meal Plan

If you don't already meal plan, start now.  No more 4pm 'what are we going to eat???' panics followed by frantic last minute dashes round the supermarket, or reaching for the take-away menus.  Build up a stock cupboard that works for your household, plan meals and make shopping lists.  And if you still haven't embraced the joy and ease of supermarket deliveries, start now.

6. De-clutter

Tackle a shelf or drawer at a time and get rid of everything you don't need.  Sell if you have time, space and inclination, otherwise make a trip to the charity shop or ask your local church, school or guide group if they have a sale or fair coming up.  Once you've cleared and organised, finding what you need is easier and quicker, and you can evaluate exactly what you do need, saving you money too.

7. Limit

Decide on a time you will finish work, and stick to it.  This is particularly important if you are self-employed or working a job that will expand to fit the time available, such as teaching.  Impose a cut off point, and stick to it.  If possible, have a designated area for work and walk away when your cut off time comes.  Turn your tech off too and don't be tempted to just have another quick check!

8. Set Targets

Make a targeted to do list every evening, with a maximum of 20 items on it, but a top 5 that must be achieved the next day.  When you start work or life the next day, tackle the top 5 first.  Get those done and anything else is a bonus.  If you find yourself endlessly transferring tasks to the next day and the next, question the task itself.  Does it really need to be done?  Can you delegate or outsource it?  Can it be broken down into smaller, more easily achievable tasks?

9. Be Unsocial

As much as you may love social media, walk away.  Get rid of the apps that beep or flash at you every few seconds and decide onset times and durations for checking social media.  The same for e-mails.  Checking first thing in the morning, at lunchtime and at the end of the day for example, for 10 to 30 minutes is more than sufficient.  Nobody needs to be available 24/7, nor waste so much time in the quagmire of cat videos/holiday pics/random notifications.

10. Be Positive

Quit negative emotions.  No more guilt or worry, they sap energy and waste time.  If there's a problem, do something about it.  Spend more time with people who are important to you; do what you can to guard against possible problems, then stop feeling guilty or worrying about it.

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