8 Small Habits That Make My Daily Life Simpler, Easier and More Effective

by Henrik Edberg


Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/notsogoodphotography/ / CC BY 2.0

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”
John C. Noble

I often write about making big changes in your life. So today I’d like to mix that up and just look at eight small habits that make my life simpler, easier and more effective.

Feel free to use the comments section below to share your own small daily or weekly habits that you have found improves your life, even if it’s just a little bit.

  1. Keep everything in its place. If everything has its own place then it is whole lot easier to keep your home reasonably ordered and decluttered from day to day. This also helps you with your inner stillness as the outer environment affects how you feel on the inside. I also find it useful to always keep things in their place on me when I’m out and about. The wallet is always in the same pocket and my cell phone is always in the same place. If you have forgotten something and have this habit you’ll quickly notice if something is not as usual and you can go back to fetch what you lost.
  2. Go food shopping once a week. You’ll save time, perhaps some money and I find that I do less impulse buying of unhealthy things too compared to if I go shopping when I am getting hungry.
  3. Cook more food than you’ll eat. I usually make two or three servings of what am about to eat. This cuts down on time that you spend on cooking and you’ll have to do less washing up in general. Plus, it’s good to have portions of food to bring to work to save some money. Or to have a meal that you can quickly reheat when you come home from school or work and you are starving.
  4. Declutter for a few minutes in the morning. Keeping everything in its place works for the most part. But there is still usually a bit of clutter. You can spend a few minutes in the morning (or after your work day is done) to clean up your workspace, remove old coffee cups and clean up papers and books and put them in their proper place.
  5. Write everything down. Otherwise you’ll forget about your goals, great ideas or perhaps something funny or fascinating you heard. By writing things down you don’t have to occupy your mind with having to remember everything. This lowers stress levels and gives you a clearer mind to use.
  6. Pack your bag the night before. This very simple habit can alleviate quite a bit of stress in the morning. If you pack your bag before you go to bed then you don’t have to run around in your house half panicked tomorrow while looking for your books or some important papers.
  7. Reconnect each day with what you should be doing. On my wall there is a small white board. On the white board there are things written like “keep things extremely simple” and “stick to the schedule”. These two reminders and a few more are always there. Whenever I lose my way during my day I can always just look at the wall to center myself and reconnect with what I should be doing and how I should go about it. I highly recommend doing this to stay on course.
  8. Be 10 or 5 minutes early. This is a very simple tip that transforms those traveling times during your day into relaxing breaks instead of passages of time and space that only up your levels of stress and other negative feelings.

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{ 23 comments }

Parker Lee April 28, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Hi Henrik. As always, I enjoyed the article. If there’s anything I can add that I make sure to do it’s, “planning next day’s schedule the night before”

I find that this works much better than waking up to plan, because it’s in the start of the day where we loose valuable time, versus in the night when things are winding down and you’ve done most of what you have to take care of during the day time.

A bad habit I used to have, is waking up each day feeling “out of it”. I would wake up, have my coffee… think to myself, “what do I need to get done today.” This would go on for seconds, seconds turned to minutes, minutes turned to hours(you get the idea!)

Now I just wake up and when I’m completely clueless, I easily look at my list of things to do, and Wallah!–Time and energy saved.

Planning your schedule @ times that aren’t as valuable in exchange for planning your schedule during times to need to get things done.

All the best!

jonathanfigaro April 28, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Getting ready to before in the morning is helps a lot. It saves time, mental stress and you can flow once you get up. Nice post henrik.

Lucky Balaraman April 29, 2010 at 8:35 am

Henrik,

How about 10 minutes of quiet introspection 1st thing in the morning?

Cheers,

Lucky

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Joshua Noerr April 29, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I love that you mentioned writing everything down. I keep a small journal with me all day. If an idea hits or I hear a great quote, it goes in there. I wonder how many brilliant ideas are lost simply because people do not write them down.

Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com April 29, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Reconnecting every day with what you should be doing is a great one. It keeps your soul and passion alive.

Topi April 29, 2010 at 12:48 pm

I love these simple tips – often it’s the simple ones that are the best! Another tip I’d add (although it’s probably an extension of “write everything down”) is to get (or make) a small notebook with a pen attached. It’s incredibly frustrating to have something you need to write down, and no pen to write with! By attaching the two, you’ve always got the tools you need to write down the good stuff you need to remember (I tried keeping notes on my phone for a while, but I’ve found that writing things down works better for me).
To the simple life! Topi

John Sherry April 29, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I love the simple, easy paced approach of this Henrik. It is so often understated and under utilised. We are too used to making life difficult and you’ve pin pointed exactly little ways to get back to the uncomplicated stuff. My favourite is packing (or preparing) the night before so you can be realxed and ready the next morning. Great idea.

oya April 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm

hi :
this is the first time i write on your website , so i am a new friend :D
this article is amazing and i love it
nice post henrick .

keep it up.

Lauren - OfficeArrow April 29, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Yes- great tips here! The key is being proactive and doing a bit of extra work now so you don’t have to later. I like to keep a to-do list for the day so I know what I need to accomplish. It has become one of my favorite things to do when I cross an item off that list!

HabitMix April 29, 2010 at 10:20 pm

#8 – This will also help those people that are expecting you, to know that you don’t think your time is more valuable than their time. (a pet-peeve of mine)

Amanya Jacobs April 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Everything in its place and no clutter are also good feng shui principles!

Chris Akins April 30, 2010 at 2:59 am

Good suggestions, although I find that shopping daily limits my consumption and helps me make healthier food choices. The exception is we go to the farmer’s market for vegetables each Saturday.

Chris

Megan Zuniga April 30, 2010 at 4:48 am

I agree with Parker, scheduling the night before is helpful. Even if you don’t write it down (it would be better if you did). Just mentally list the things needed to be done before going to sleep. Added side effects to this would be: You’d dreaming about your work. HaHa!
Something I do, and I don’t want anyone to get offended…is to pray every morning. Ask God for wisdom and guidance to help me through the day.

rob white April 30, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Great simple tips here. I especially relate to #8 and am reminded of the great (American) football coach Bill Belichick who teaches all his players to be prompt. If there is a team meeting at 9:00 and you show up at 9:00 you are considered tardy by Belichick’s standard. On time means you are 10 minutes early. This is a great lesson in what it takes to achieve excellence in any domain.
Blessings,
rob

Lifesher May 2, 2010 at 2:35 am

Useful tips Henrik.I follow the 6th point .This helps me to save some time in the morning searching for the things that need to be packed & that makes me relaxed.i will try out the other points of urs..

Giulia May 3, 2010 at 9:02 am

Hi Henrik
useful tips!
I tried to open a discussion on Technogym Facebook Fan Page (http://www.facebook.com/TechnogymSpa)
in order to get some ideas!
I love every eight number but especially number 7!!
Good Work ;-)
Giulia

Jay May 3, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Great post Henrik.

The eight useful tips you’ve laid out here underline the importance of organization and preparation. These twin virtues are not only essential to living a more effective life, they also make things a hell of a lot easier.

Jay

Henrik Edberg May 3, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Thank you all for your comments, I really appreciate the added insights and tips. :)

Terry May 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm

As you noted, this are small steps, but when added up they can make a huge impact on your day-to-day. I follow several of these and have made them part of my daily and weekly habitual routines, they have helped reduce stress and increase happiness. Interestingly, until I read this I hadn’t even noticed it! Thanks…

A few things that I look to do in addition, are to have at least 10 minutes of quiet time (self-hypnosis) and usually first thing in the morning. I also give thanks to all the things that I have and that make up who I am.

Terry

Masha May 3, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Hey, Henrik! Great advice – I’m all about writing everything down! I have a notebook and a pen close to me at all times, to make lists or just scribble a new idea. It has been really helpful! :)

People should remember how much they forget!

And I would add to the list to start everyday with even 10 minutes of exercise – In my opinion it’s one of the best things someone can do!

Raj@ The Positive Life May 5, 2010 at 1:28 pm

yup, I completely agree with your point of writing important things down. u know even my manager at work was deliberating on doing this, It really helps u become more productive :)

Roman Soluk May 8, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I like the 8th tip. To be 10 minutes early. It is very useful, I know it from my own experience.

Anonymous July 20, 2010 at 4:09 am

niceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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