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I’ve become really interested in learning how to optimize my life – 4 hour work week style – so I can save time from doing things I don’t want to do and have more time to do the things I actually like, or just reading or relaxing. There are big changes you can make to your life, such as creating passive income streams or working from home, but right now I just want to share some quick and dirty life hacks that have each saved me a little bit of daily frustration and stress. Here are 15 random life hacks to simplify life and be more organized.
They seem small, but when you add up all the hundreds of actions you do each day, changing how you do the little things can change everything. The point isn’t to make you lazy but to free up your time so you can work on something you’re passionate about, start the business you’ve been dreaming of, have time to meditate, or just work on your personal growth. Whatever you want to do with your newfound time.
15 Random Life Hacks to Simplify Life and Be More Organized
This morning I was watching a motivational video from a popular entrepreneur and I was going along with it and nodding my head in agreement the whole time until he dropped the fact that he’s been working 19 hours a day for the last 20 years.
Now, he is very successful, but I would argue that if you work 19 hours a day at anything (or even 12 or 15 or less), you’re going to stress yourself out and ruin your mental health.
In my opinion, it’s just not worth it, and it’s not necessary.
We live in a culture where being busy is praised as hard-working, but I think we should focus more on the tasks that matter and make a difference and less time doing things that make you seem really “busy” but aren’t actually productive.
Instead of running in a hamster wheel and having constant movement but making no real progress, we need to get out of the cage. You don’t have to always look busy to have a productive life.
Sometimes when people work too much (at school or work), they get burned out, anxious, or even depressed. I’ve seen a few quotes lately that the cure for depression is to constantly be busy, and I have to disagree.
I think we need more white space in our day, and time to do nothing.
I’ve been writing 5 blog posts a day for the last month for Resilient and I still only work 4 or 5 hours a day. That’s because I know how important it is to take time for yourself, relax, take breaks every hour or two, meditate, and have time to just do absolutely nothing. Having this free, unscheduled time in your day will dramatically improve your stress levels.
If you’ve scheduled every minute of your day from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, of course you’re going to feel anxious and overwhelmed. At first having a moment when you have no responsibilities or tasks to complete is very unnerving. But if you just sit with the discomfort, over time you’ll find that it’s a relief to have time to yourself for the first time.
What would you do with 15 minutes of free time? (or hopefully more). You could read a book for fun, learn about personal development, read our blog, look at inspirational quotes, meditate, write a gratitude list, or just lay on the grass and watch the clouds. It’s amazing what this can do for your mental health.
1. Using a one cup coffee maker with no paper filters
I used to use a Keurig and stopped because I moved and would have had to ship it or buy a new one. So I ended up buying a really cheap coffee maker on Amazon. However, unlike some coffee makers (like one back at home that I used for a while), with this oneyou simply fill your mug with water, pour in the water, put in one big spoonful of coffee, put your mug under the spout, and press the start button. It doesn’t seem like it would make a big difference in your life, but it actually saves me a lot of the little frustrations that I used to have from making an entire pot of coffee (or trying to measure out for just one cup), using and having to keep buying paper filters, etc. THE LITTLE QUICK FIXES ADD UP.
2. Simplifying your meal preparation
Here are just a few of the (super lazy) ways I save time when nomming throughout the day:
– Getting my groceries delivered to my doorstep with Instacart… it makes me feel SO fancy. 😉 If you use the code KHARP51D9 you can get $10 off your first order!
– Jarred pasta sauce
– Precut and packaged apple slices- makes it super easy to pack for work
– An obvious one, frozen food (just not those sketchy hungry man things… I like Amy’s or Evol)
– Baby carrots to pack for work… these literally last forever in the fridge. Buy a giant bag and never buy them again. EVER.
– Premade salad kits.. these are a super lazy way to eat your vegetables
– Cut up and freeze veggies in bulk in advance so cooking is faster
3. Buying all your books on Kindle (or the Kindle app on an iPad, which is what I do)
I read a LOT and I love buying books for Kindle because it’s an instant download (a couple years ago I read 54 books in a single year!). No driving to the bookstore or waiting for something to ship in the mail. I just saved you from having to put on pants. You’re welcome. 🙂
4. Using one homemade multi-purpose cleaner for absolutely everything
I mix a bottle of white vinegar with orange peels (and the juice squeezed in). It smells good, it’s natural, and it can clean anything. Depending on what you’re cleaning, you can either use a reusable washcloth of some kind for most rooms or just use paper towels for anything gross.
5. Using store cards instead of coupons
I know I could save more money if I took the time to coupon, but I like getting the highest ROI for the time and effort I put into things, so instead I just sign up for store rewards cards and scan them every time I shop. Easy peasy. I’ve saved as much as 20% on my groceries just by scanning the little card on my keychain. Remember: your time is valuable too.
6. Buy more of what you need, less often
If you know you use something regularly, buy the biggest size you can (or multiples). For example, I go through coffee creamer like it’s water so I recently started buying the biggest size they have and now it lasts me two weeks. So I don’t have to go buy coffee creamer every few days anymore. (Or you can buy this 180 pack of mini coffee creamers;))
7. Unsubscribe from as many email lists and newsletters as possible
If email is a big time suck for you, then I encourage you to go into your inbox now and look for emails that you don’t really want to be receiving. You’re probably subscribed to a lot of stores you’ve shopped at, websites you’ve visited, etc and you may not even read their emails. If it adds value to your life and you regularly read the emails, keep it. Otherwise, unsubscribe each time you get a new email that you don’t want. But you should definitely keep our emails. 😉
8. Block the Facebook newsfeed
Most of the time, I use the free Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator to block the newsfeed on Facebook (and replace it with an inspirational quote!). You can still go on Facebook and see if you have any messages or notifications, but it prevents you from getting drawn into the endless time suck that is stalking other people’s lives on the newsfeed.
9. Use LastPass for password management
LastPass changed my life. It’s a free password management app that saves all your login info for you so you just login once, save the info to LastPass, and you never have to type it in again. It’s great! Saves hours and hours of time and frustration and looking for tiny little slips of paper that may or may not be the password you’re looking for.
10. Switch to paying all your bills digitally
I have everything set up so my subscriptions, rent, bills, etc are all paid online automatically with a card. I don’t even have to remember to pay them each month because it’s automated. How’s that for saving time? Paperless billing also saves trees!
11. Walk everywhere instead of working out
I’m kind of lazy and don’t like working out so instead now I live in the city, don’t own a car, and walk everywhere. I usually walk about 20-30 minutes a few times a week from going grocery shopping or whatever. I also don’t have to worry about a gym membership, car payments, auto insurance, or filling up my gas tank. Total peace of mind.
12. Turn off most notifications on your phone
The only notifications I get now are basically text messages, emails, Facebook messages, and maybe a few random notifications I haven’t turned off yet. Hearing a ping every time someone likes your Instagram picture can be addicting, but it’s super distracting and it’s stealing a little piece of your attention every time you look at your phone and away from what you’re doing.
13. Use an automatic backup system to backup your computer
I use Carbonite and I love it. It took a little time to get it set up and have it back up my entire computer (because I have tens of thousands of files on my computer…), but now it automatically updates the backup when files on my computer get updated. In other words, it’s always up to date and I never have to touch anything. And it’s stored in the cloud so I don’t have to worry about finding an external hard drive if there’s a natural disaster or something.
14. Use a to-do list app that syncs with all of your devices
I use Trello and it’s great. It’s pretty much organizing my entire life right now. Now my to do list is on my phone, iPad, and computer and I can add notes anytime I need to so I don’t forget anything. I’ve also used Asana in the past and loved it.
15. Manage your finances with automated personal finance apps
For this I would recommend setting up Mint for personal finances or what I use for business, Wave (which is actually accounting software). It’s easy to connect with your accounts and then you don’t have to worry about how much you’re spending and earning because all of that is automatically inputted for you. It’s hands-free budgeting and accounting.
You can also use apps like Betterment and Stash to completely automate your investing. I have them set up to automatically invest a certain amount of money each month into the stock market, and now it’s hands-free growth! You can get $5 free to start on Stash here. Or you can get 90 days free on Betterment with this link. 🙂
Ok, phew, that was a lot of life hacks! I hope you found this useful. I would recommend starting with one of the above life hacks and implement it into your life this week, and then move onto adding new ones gradually if you want. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Just focus on one small life change at a time and you’ll see a big difference over time.