Little ways to simplify life

by - August 12, 2018


When something is done well for the day, there's a sense of achievement that money can't buy and less stress is carried to the next day.  But with so many things demanding attention, it is not easy to keep motivated and work efficiently all the time. How do I not let busyness rob my time and have a productive day?

It starts with having less friction in life. It is the first lifestyle change because you get more focus, clarity and you can simplify your life without knowing what's your purpose.

The idea came from the book What's Best Next by Matt Perman, a guide to why we work (for the Gospel) and transforming the way we work. There are over 400 pages of how-tos in the book based on the four practical principles to get things done. 

The four practical principles to get things done
1. Reduce the friction in doing good. 
2. Amplify your ability to do good.
3. Free up time to serve
4. Do more significant and more challenging good works. 

How to implement it 
1. Simplify
2. Amplify 
3. Find your purpose
4. Do challenging things

Here are the steps to simplify my life that I've taken:

 Health

i. Jump 20 times a day
I opt jumping so that I don't need to think about my gym clothes and shoes. Jumping is active, is actionable, is free. There is a study that shows jumping will improve bone density. And if not proven, jumping uplift the day.

ii. No coffee and sugar water
Some of you must have coffee and that's fine.  My body doesn't react well with caffeine, and I should save the latte. And I just want to cut sugar water.

iii. Lights off by 11:30pm
I sleep late most of the time so 11:30 is a start for me to sleep better.

iv. Scrub the face every alternate day
An expensive or even a cheap scrub keeps the face clean. I find that I don't need to go facial after I start scrub as part of my life routine. Less one thing to schedule.

Finance

i. Cancel extra credit cards
Any cards that I don't use anymore should go to the bin. I did this with CITx and HSBx cash back card. They have too many clauses for a simple idea, I want the cash back.

ii. Pull all financial records into one place
One for all excel file. Simplify may not be maximize. Sometimes it cost money to be efficient.

iii. Create a flowchart for financial decisions
Simple chart like should I buy this, investment entry and exit price, subscription value etc.

iv. Bank in the coins and foreign currency
This is more of clear clutter exercise, and I still keep the special coins so that one day it will be extremely valuable. LOL

Work

i. Have an ultimate to do and not to do list - and aim to cross things off
I've always admired the people that never forget, like Mike Ross in Suits. The truth is, I don't remember everything or sometimes anything at all. I quickly missed things and forget where I put my list. Getting things done for me means having an ultimate list.

I have a to-do book, from the front it lists all my life to-dos as and when I get the task without any filter. From the back, I keep a few life lists ( like 25 books to read on one page) and nothing else. If I get any project, I will list the title and keep some space for the project task.

ii. Put all documents on the same device
Having one office notebook with two cloud drive, one tab, one personal notebook means I have a hard time finding which documents go in the past. Now, I keep the personal and office line clear and have a hard drive that back up both sides.

Things

i. Listing books that I would never read again
My room is filled with books that I read, loved it and still love it but never read it for the last 10 years. I had to ask, why do I keep books on the shelves? What is so important that the books have to take space in my room?

ii. Give out things to friends that need it or a car boot sale
It was harder than I thought. Turns out I don't have many friends let alone friends who need dress, bag, shoes or skincare. Then I found out that I could go for a car boot sale. Which I did.

iii. Create a want and a need list in the to-do book
Sometimes this reminds me of the things that I want to get. But overall, it has helped me to see the things that I don't actually need. Over the months, I find myself wanting fewer things.

iv. Shopping app
Keep two or three essential shopping app. Shopback used to be my favorite. But it appear to me that when you surf with Shopback, hotel bookings get pricier from agoda or booking.com. So I deleted the app. Now I topup with Shopee. And I pay Fave with Paypal, linked to Amex.

Social media 

i. Automate setting
My twitter is automated with every new post in the blog.

ii. Delete the apps
Economist finds that heavy social media use link to anxiety, depression, and sleep problens and it's worst when you use IG. I don't keep a Facebook account (although it's good for marketing), or update my Linkedin unless I need to find a job. Keep the social real by meeting real people outside.

Commute

One aspect that I am still struggling. I stay about 30 minutes away from my workplace and on weekdays, it means 1-2 hour travel per trip. Each week, I burn up to 20 hours on mindless travelling.

What I find after years of looking at how experts work?
People who are passionate about their work tends to make routine all other aspects of their life. That gives them the time and energy to pursue greater heights in what they do. So reducing friction is crucial before you start a new project in your life.

What do you do to simplify your life?

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