In Part 1 I wrote about the growing awareness that many people need to slow down if they are to enjoy life more and take care of their health. For some people this awareness hits them when they have a health scare and others simply decide they aren’t happy as things are and make some changes. I gave a few ideas of what you can do to give yourself more breathing space and the chance to enjoy each day. What else can you do?
Lower your standards. Decide for yourself what housework really needs to be done and how often. Evan Esar said, ‘Housework is what a woman does that nobody notices unless she hasn't done it.’ However, there are probably some things you can leave and no one will notice they haven't been done.
Delegate where possible. (I have trouble delegating but my goal is to get better at it.)
Simplify your house. De-cluttering really is a good idea. I have some ornaments and vases that I haven’t unpacked since moving over a year ago. I don’t miss them so I guess they can get sold at the garage sale I am planning.
From time to time do a stock take of what is currently important to you. We change with time. I used to have lots of books and wouldn’t part with any. Now I have only a few special books. I use the library frequently and find the internet great for getting current information.
Maybe the garden can be simplified. Gardening is good for you but if it becomes a chore and a strain perhaps some changes would make it more enjoyable. I find too many pots can be time consuming but it’s all a matter of personal choice.
Avoid buying clothes that need ironing. These days I rarely iron and the sky hasn’t fallen down yet. When I do the washing I hang some items on clothes hangers when I put them out to dry and then hang them straight in the wardrobe when they are dry.
Limit the time you spend at the supermarket. Freeze a couple of loaves of bread and keep some UHT milk in the pantry so you don’t have to rush out to the shops to grab some because you have run out.
Think about shopping online for your groceries. If it works for you it could be worth paying the delivery fee. You may find the fee is cheaper than what you spend on extras like lollies and chips if you have to take a couple of children shopping with you.
Cook extra food and freeze for quick meals.
Put a ‘No junk mail’ sign on your letter box so you don’t waste time reading junk mail. This has the added advantage of reducing the pressure to buy things you don’t need.
Politely and quickly say ‘no’ if unsolicited salespeople phone or come to the door. Alternatively, put a ‘Please do not knock’ sticker on your front door and get your name on the Do Not Contact register. (Charities are still permitted to contact you.)
Send fewer emails but make those you do send important, humourous or uplifting in some way. Both you and the receiver will benefit.
Learn to work smarter, not harder. Can you do several errands when you head out? Work out the best order to do those errands so you aren’t back tracking. A list can be useful. Is there anything you don’t need to do at all? If so, don’t do it.
Think before you talk, email or post. If it isn’t important or positive, is it worth the time and effort?
Sometimes, don’t be available. Turn your mobile off or leave it at home. If you have a land line, take it off the hook and have a break. People can leave a message or phone back.
Drive more slowly. Appreciate your surroundings and contemplate life. Better still, sometimes use public transport and leave the driving to someone else. Use your time to read a novel or some poetry. Alternatively, just sit, look out the window and take notice of what you can see.
Don’t compare yourself to others who are living a hectic lifestyle and feel you have to be as busy. Make your own decisions and live by your own rules.
Don’t over plan. Sometimes we expend lots of energy planning every minute detail. Don’t anticipate problems and stress over what you will do if things go wrong. Sometimes a plan B is a good idea but don’t overdo it.
Go to the movies and get lost in another world. You have to turn your mobile off and you can’t multi task.
Enjoy the ordinary and live in the moment. This moment will never come again.