Tips for Simplifying Your Life

Keeping up with the fast pace of life can be overwhelming.  If you have ADD or ADHD, there are steps you can take to help you keep up.

By Eileen Bailey

  1. Accept where you are in life.  You may not yet have accomplished all that you wanted or what others have expected of you.  Know that is okay.  Know that you are where you are supposed to be.  Don’t look back on what you should have already done; look forward from where you are today.

  2. Evaluate your life, your visions and your values.  Get a picture of what direction you want your life to move in.  It is not important to determine all the steps needed to get there.  Take the time to understand what is important to you and what you would like your life to be like.

  3. Write down specific goals.  Look at each goal and decide whether it fits with whom you are, what you want to accomplish in your life and your values.  Any goal that does not match should be discarded. Choose one goal.  Place the other goals in a safe place, to be taken out once you have accomplished your first goal.  Accept that those goals can wait.  Accept that when you have many goals in life, you can become overwhelmed and therefore not accomplish any. Accept that you will work one goal at a time.

  4. Limit the amount of time you watch television.  Choose a few shows at the beginning of the week.  Give yourself reminders for those shows and turn off the television at other times.  By planning your time in front of the T.V. you will be providing your days with extra time.

  5. Make a list of the weekly chores.  This should include running errands, cleaning the house, food shopping, cooking, laundry and whatever else you consistently do (or try to do) each week.  Decide if you can afford to have someone help you with some of the chores.  This can be a house cleaner or a high school or college student that will be less expensive but will make your life considerably simpler.

  6. Divide household responsibilities.  Provide your children with a list of chores they are responsible for.  Each person can be asked to keep one common room straightened up.  Laundry can be divided up, or if your children are old enough, they can be taught to do their own laundry.  After dinner dishes can be another delegated responsibility.  Parents do not need to shoulder all household chores. 

  7. Use a large kitchen calendar.  Keep track of activities for you, your spouse and your children.  Seeing all activities in one place will help everyone to keep organized.  You will know at a glance who needs to be where and when.

  8. Always ask for 24 hours before accepting any volunteer obligations.  During this time ask yourself:  How will this help me reach my goals?  Will this opportunity interfere with mine, or my children’s other activities?  Will this be something I enjoy?  Use these answers to help you make a decision before committing yourself. 

  9. Accept only one volunteer activity at a time.  This can be helping at school, working with a local agency or helping a friend.  Don’t become over-committed and end up not helping anyone.  Choose the one volunteer activity that will best fit into your life.  Politely decline all others.

  10. How many of the following do you have:  answering machine at home, voice mail at work, email accounts, cell phone, pager, and laptop?  Do you get messages on all of these and how many hours do you spend each day being interrupted by one or the other?  Set aside a specific time each day to answer phone calls and emails. Turn off your cell phone while completing a task.  Allowing yourself uninterrupted time will increase your efficiency.

  11. Take advantage of automatic bill pay through your bank (most offer this service now).  Set up payments for your bills once each month.  The fees you pay for the service are nominal and it might just save you money if you are consistently paying late fees when you forget to pay a bill on time.

  12. Consider flexible work schedules.  Can you telecommute or work at home a few days and in the office other days?  Can you delegate some of the responsibilities to other people in the office?  Can you negotiate your next pay raise for extra vacation time instead? 

  13. Take advantage of your personal peak time each day.  Are you most likely to get the most accomplished in the morning?  Or do you prefer afternoons?  Work around your own personal clock to be most efficient. 

  14. Consider doing the most dreaded task first thing in the morning.  Get it over with, otherwise you might waste time all day thinking about how much you don’t want to do it and wasting time avoiding it. 

  15. Use transitional times for yourself.  Stop by the park for 10 minutes on your way home from work or use your lunch hour to sit and do nothing, relax, meditate or enjoy the moment.  Reflect on your day, your life, and your goals (without judging yourself.)  Clear your mind and rejuvenate yourself. 

  16. Accept that simplifying your life won’t be accomplished overnight.  This is an ongoing process.

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