We all know how hectic life can be. From work, to school, to family obligations, most of us have become acclimatized to a chaotic life.
I am of no exception to this, as I have often found myself struggling with the demands of day-to-day existence, usually at the expense of my own well-being. Not wanting to perpetuate this lifestyle any further, I recently began making a more conscious effort to implement a number of habits into my routine in the hopes of bringing a little more peace and calm into my world.
While many have proven ineffective, the following list of 10 habits did make the cut and have improved my life considerably. Why not try them out for yourself? They might just make your life easier, too.
1. Cut The Multitasking
To me, multitasking is nothing more than a grand illusion of increased productivity. Doing several things at once may make us feel as if we are going to accomplish more and therefore have more free time afterwards, but in most cases multitasking ends up taking longer and resulting in poorer work. Rather than trying to cross 3 things off your To-Do List at once, instead really focus on one item at a time (with no distractions), and you might just surprise yourself by how proficient you can be.
2. Prepare Yourself The Night Before
Life is full of the unexpected, but the majority of our days tend to feature predictable occurrences and tasks to be accomplished. A simple little habit that I've found helpful in mentally preparing myself for the next day is to quickly think about or write out what my day is likely going to offer the night before. I don't have any science to back this up, but I've found it allows my mind to mentally prepare itself and handle the next day better.
3. Turn Off The Tech
The continually expanding world of technology is a wonderful thing; however, the amount of time we spend connected to it daily is far past alarming. According to a report by Digital Trends, Americans spend an average of 4.7 hours per day on their phone, which is scary enough, but becomes frightening when we also factor in time spent on our computers and in front of a television. I've made a conscious effort to stay away from tech a half-hour before and after sleep as often as possible and have found that just that alone has had a drastic impact on my well-being.
4. Stay Hydrated... With Water!
According to Sheila Tucker, MA, RD, LDN of Boston College, two-thirds of Americans do not drink enough water daily, meaning that we put our bodies (which are composed of approximately 60% water) through chronic dehydration. I personally can always tell when I've not consumed enough water in a day, largely through the difference in how well I can function. Staying properly hydrated can be one of the easiest and most powerful tools in feeling better and ultimately making your life easier. (Note: Remember that anything containing either caffeine or alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it fosters water loss rather than hydration.)
5. Get Rid Of What You Don't Need
We may not all be hoarders, but I'm sure that the majority of us have a number of things in our living space that we truly have no need for. I recently made the move from living in a house to a condo, and am amazed by how little I truly require to live my life happily. By getting rid of what you don't need, you give what you do require more space to operate, ultimately making your life feel less cluttered and focused.
6. Don't Be Afraid To Say "No"
Saying "no" seems simple enough, but for many of us it is a struggle that makes our lives that much more complicated and unhappy. It may seem scary or confrontational at first, but saying "no" eventually becomes quite empowering, especially when what is turned down is replaced by something you are passionate about or would like to accomplish.
7. Plan Out Your Meals
Finding time for this may sound like it wouldn't make your life easier, but planning out your meals ahead of time has a number of great benefits, the first being that it allows you to save money when grocery shopping by only buying exactly what you need, which in turn limits food and money waste. A second benefit is that it results in you eating meals at home more often, which Michael Pollan spoke to the importance of in a 2007 Ted Talk. I've also found great peace of mind in always knowing what I am going to prepare ahead of time rather than having to come up with something on the fly every day.
8. Daily Movement
Whether it be something as simple as an evening walk, or as stringent as a workout routine, I'm a huge believer in the importance of daily movement. This is especially important when we consider the amount of research that has emerged to show just how detrimental prolonged periods of sitting can be to our health. Amp up the benefit of your daily movement time by also cutting out technology while doing it. Need music to be active? Put your phone on airplane mode to limit its negative impact on you.
I hate to include it in the list because of how cliché the term has become, but the truth is, based on my first hand experience (and a wealth of scientific data), it really works. There are few things that I can say are capable of having as profound of a positive impact on my daily function as meditating does. We all have rampant minds, and taking even just five minutes a day to quiet it down can work wonders on your experience of peace and ability to handle life.
10. Remind Yourself Of What Gets You Going
Sometimes it's the quote, "if not now, when?" and other times it's the words of accomplished individuals like Will Smith that get me fired up about life. We all have those people, sayings, or things that really speak to us and get our engines going at full steam. Take some time and think about what those things are for you, remind yourself of them daily, and see how much of an impact it has on your overall functioning.