Archive for September, 2008

» Simplify Your Life

As I said in an earlier post, we all have too many things to do each day and we need ways to focus our energy on the most important things in our lives. Here is a list of things to think about when you find yourself in a state of panic from all of the things people are asking you to do:

  • Do nothing. See you’re so task oriented that you automatically wanted a list of things to add to your to-do list. Take some time to do nothing, just sit there and be with yourself. It’s so hard for most people that being left to do nothing is a severe form of torture.
  • Throw something out. Look into a drawer that you haven’t opened in awhile and pick an item to throw out based on the fact that you know you won’t use it again. We are natural hoarders, but this just adds unnecessary complexity to our lives.
  • Clean your desktop. Sitting at a desk with no clutter will keep our minds clear and thinking about the task at hand. Start becoming distraction free in the seat you spend most of your day in.
  • Clean your desktop, again. This time I’m talking about the one on your computer. Get rid of all those icons and organize the folders in which you keep all your programs. Give yourself something visually simple to look at in order to keep a clear and focused mind.
  • Make your bed. Many of us don’t make our bed the first thing after we get up. Sometimes this gets neglected completely, unless we’re expecting company. Make it first thing and look forward to climbing into something neat and comfy at the end of the day.
  • Clear your inbox. I love e-mail’s archive feature, it allows you put things away, and keep your inbox clean. Reply to everything you need to, delete everything else, and keep your e-mail as a focus point, not a clutter point.
  • Eat slowly. Do not treat eating as one of life’s little inconveniences. Instead, eat slowly and enjoy each bite as if it were your last, and if it were, know that you got the most out of it.
  • Drive slower. There’s no need to speed race, talk on your cell phone, eat, and take notes all at the same time. Treat driving time as a time for decompression, meditation, and de-cluttering of your mind. Turn off the cell and enjoy these quiet moments of solitude.
  • Laugh out loud. You really can trick your body into being happy by laughing out loud. If you don’t believe me, I’ll make a believer out of you. Spend the next 3 minutes laughing out loud, as hard as you can, making the sounds and body motions. You will be happier.
  • Talk to people. Instead of being absorbed in newspapers and television shows find a person to talk to. Discuss goals, dreams, aspirations and none of that self-pitying or past tense thinking.
  • Pick most important things. Sit down with pen and paper and decide on the 3 things that are most important in your life, and how you can drop everything else to achieve them.
  • Drink water. Forget the sophisticated and often complicated drinks and stick to the most essential of all — water. At least 8 cups of this stuff a day — a bit less if you eat a lot of fruit — and a bit more if you exercise or sweat heavily.
  • Go for a walk. You don’t even have to put on your fancy bubble sneakers and hit the treadmill. It’s enough to go for a nice walk — at least 30 minutes (yes, that’s 2x 15, you’ll thank me for it one day) — and let some blood pump through your body. It’s recommend to do this 3 times a week to stay healthy, but my personal recommendation would be to make this into your daily routine.
  • Clean your closet. Do your laundry, put away all your clothes, and then take a good look at your closet. What do you not wear? What is not essential? Put the answers to these questions in a box and donate them.
  • Plan your meals. Eliminate the guess work of where will you eat next by planning, if not the whole week, than at least this entire day, as far as what and where you will eat. I guarantee that planning will allow you to make healthier choices while going easier on your wallet at the same time.

o   “Nature is what we know – Yet have not art to say – So impotent our wisdom is To her simplicity”
~Emily Dickinson

  • Visit nature. Bask in the beauty and serenity that nature has selflessly provided us with. Go to a forest, park, or simply sit under a tree, and do nothing, read a book, or chat with a friend. While out walking I saw a kid sitting under a tree with his laptop; while not the most effective use of nature, it still beats doing the required homework inside the house on a beautiful day.
  • Play catch. You won’t find too many activities easier than tossing the ball around between two people. It’s great exercise, it’s relaxing yet invigorating, and a great opportunity to talk and bond.
  • Eliminate distractions. Whether you’re working, reading, doing homework, or spending time with someone it’s important to give it your full attention. Turn off the phone, television, and any other distractions that can pop up unannounced. Be present.
  • Say ‘No’. In an effort to simplify, do not accept new commitments that you don’t want to accept. Say no to your boss, spouse, kids, and friends. Explain to them that you need some time to concentrate on the tasks at hand in order to simplify your life and increase your happiness, productivity, and vitality.
  • Read daily. If you were to take out 30 minutes a day to read (another 2×15), you will have spent 4.5 full work weeks reading by the end of the year. You would be very smart.


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» Simplicity, Part 6

19) Move to a Smaller House
With the exception of one year, as a married couple, my husband and I, have not lived in a large house. At this point, we live in a 900 or so square foot house. It has two bedrooms, one bath, a large living/dining room area, kitchen and back porch (which serves to house our laundry room and home school/spare bedroom. You could probably fit another house our size on the total area of our lot…Plus, we have a driveway and small garage. All of this loveliness (aka mortgage) is less than $300 a month; which includes the house payment, the taxes and insurance.

20) Drive a Simple Car
I’m not sure how to gage the term ‘simple.’We have had our fair share of automobiles – – most of them were pretty good in the “was it worth it” department. Let’s see, when we met, he had a small car that resembled an older Toyota Corolla and I had a small sporty car. Both were given to us. With the exception of replacing the entire exhaust, my car ran perfectly. Just before we moved from Germany to the states, we sold both of our cars and purchased a Suzuki Sidekick (less than $200 monthly payment). When we got to Colorado, we paid cash for a Geo Metro. Not too long after that, his mother who had some disabilities moved in with us, necessitating a different vehicle (as she was not able to get into the Sidekick, comfortably). This was screw-up number 1: We traded the Sidekick for a van (the payments doubled). Later, we traded the van for a 4-door Chevy Metro (payments were less than $200). Then, we made mistake number 2: we traded the PAID OFF Metro for a Mitsubishi Gallant. A whole lotta problems occurred and we voluntarily had our car repossessed. Then we purchased (with cash) a Mercury Sable. After putting almost $5000 into the Sable on repairs and one day, when putting the car in gear, we hear a suspicious noise….we traded it in on a brand new PT Cruiser ($250 a month payment). We have paid cash for three pick-up trucks since that time, as well: a full size Chevy and two Dodge Dakota’s. At this time, we have less than a year to pay on the Cruiser – – and then we are FREE and CLEAR with car payments!! We are considering a diesel vehicle, which we can convert to vege oil (for fun) – – to drive around our small town. We’ll see!!

21) Sell the Damn Boat
LMMFAO!!! Since we don’t have a boat…….DONE!!!!

22) Build a Simple Wardrobe
We are pretty good in this area, as well. Hubby has uniforms that the company provides…so, much of his wardrobe is already taken care of!! ;) This year, he spent some time weeding out the stuff that had been worn out and looking horrible – – AFTER – – we found the sale to end all sales (at JC Penney), where we purchased enough clothing to outfit him in dressy casual attire for less than $130. I had been “collecting” shoes and clothing for a while – – had gotten spectacular ‘deals’ – – but, in the end, I rarely wore any of it. So, I really pared down my wardrobe. Recently, I received several shirts (hand-me-downs) and purchased new t-shirts, which have bulked my wardrobe once again.
I would say my family has a below average collection of clothing – – which we try to keep contained!! ;) I also try to purchase many of our day-to-day clothing items at garage sales/thrift stores – – saving money AND recycling.

23) Reduce Your Go-Go Entertainment
The author is discussing the reduction of activities such as movies, plays, theater, opera, concerts, cabaret, and nightclubs – – and really focusing on entertainment which is inexpensive or free. The author also discussed making a list of the things we REALLY liked to do. I will ponder on this and make my list soon. I urge you to do the same – – and post your list on your site. (Link here so I can read your list, too!! :)

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» Care for your lappy

Clean your laptop periodically to keep it dust-free and running smoothly.
You bought a new laptop a few months ago, and it’s already looking dirty. Besides outside layer of dirt that is visible on the body of the laptop, there is also probably unimaginable amount of dust accumulated inside the keypad and these may affect the life of your laptop. This may also leave scratch marks on the screen, hamper display or affect important functions of the laptop. However, before launching on a laptop cleaning frenzy, you should learn the proper way to clean the laptop and know what products to use and what not.
It is always a good idea to read the user’s manual that came with your laptop to familiarise yourself with your laptop and to learn the cleaning procedures recommended by the company. Clean your laptop once a year but if your laptop is mostly in a dusty environment more often than not, you may want to clean it every few months.
First of get all the things you are going to need together. These are compressed air, cotton, cleaning solution and a soft cotton cloth. Don’t use harsh chemicals or any product that uses ammonia on the laptop. For the cotton cloth, you can use an old clean t-shirt.
Start with the exterior of the laptop. Gently wipe the body with the damp cotton cloth dipped in a gentle cleaning solution. Don’t spray the solution directly on the body. Then use the can of compressed air to clean the cooling vents of your laptop. Be careful while doing this and make sure you don’t spray it too hard as the liquid on the fan blades may damage them. Cotton swabs help in holding the fan blades while you are cleaning them. Don’t spin the blades. Blow away dirt from the I/O ports with compressed air and then wipe them with cotton.
You should be extra careful while cleaning the monitor display. Turn off the laptop before you start. It will help you see the dirt more easily. Use a soft cotton cloth to gently wipe the display. Never use tissue papers or cotton on the display. They may leave flakes on the monitor or scratch them. Don’t use any concentrated solution. There are monitor cleaning solutions available in the market – use them.
For the keyboard, use compressed air again. If your laptop allows it, remove the keys and clean. As a precaution, never keep any sticky liquid near your laptop while working. It may spill and dirty the keypad and may prove difficult to clean.
Laptops must be cleaned with utmost care and precaution. You should not rush through it. So set aside some time for this so that you can do it properly and thoroughly. Regular cleaning will keep your laptop looking new and shiny, and also keep it running smoothly.
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