A friend I hadn’t seen for a while remarked the other day that I seemed different. Not more relaxed per se but calmer. Without wanting to invoke images of Mother Nature with flowing locks being gently teased by the breeze and a calm serene smile on my face as I stand basking in the soft glow from the strategically placed lamp (this is definitely not a description of me) but I understood what she meant. So I thanked her graciously for the compliment.
What does this say about either me or my friend you may ask? In fact, is this even a compliment or was she implying that I’m usually a complete nightmare to be around? Am I juggling too many things and starting to feel the strains of spreading myself too thin?
Everything around you is what you make of it.
My friend couldn’t put a finger on it, but I had been getting rid of unnecessary clutter in my day to day activities. This in turn removed a lot of the mini frustrations that can (if you let them) add up. A case of the straw and camel’s back if you will.
What easy changes can you apply?
1. Stop checking your email every five minutes.
My brain is like a magpie, anything and everything can attract its attention. While this is great, the domino effect of accumulated interesting articles and videos and blogs and emails and texts and messages means that sometimes things can get a bit out of control. One easy way to help clear that spaghetti junction of information that really works for me is to turn off my email. This allows me to work for a specified period of time without being distracted. Two hours later I’m finished with everything I need to do and I can get on with responding to any emails.
2. Remove those red flags.
I am usually quite composed and personable, but wrath to those who taunt me with their terrible points of view or bad grammar.
I avoid certain newspapers to avoid having to rant till the cows come home (and then I’ll probably rant to the cows). This means I’ve instructed my friends to not email me links to the article about the silly person who was stuck in a tree for hours or other silly amusing fun if it comes from certain tabloids.
Bad grammar is harder to predict, and therefore much harder to avoid. Sign makers, I’m sure, are doing it purposely to mock me (Luxury apartments with own balcony’s anyone?).
Your red flag may be waiting ages at the supermarket checkout on your Sunday shop. Try changing the day or time you shop, or better yet find a shop that invests in more staff working to give you a better shopping experience.
3. Turn off the 24/7 culture.
I have not had a TV for over five years, and it’s wonderful (although I probably still spend way too much time on youtube). Some people call it channel surfing and it does seem to have quite a sedative effect on them, but I couldn’t find a more irritating activity to spend an evening doing. There is nothing worse than that feeling that I’m probably missing a really good program right now but by the time I go through all 300 channels I will have missed it again as it goes to commercials. So now I choose the shows I want to watch (please email me for my Christmas DVD wishlist) when I want.
Another bonus to not owning a TV is that I don’t have to be subjected to the 21st century phenomenon of 24 hour breaking news. I remember I was a friend’s house once and the news on TV was reporting on a place where a natural disaster had struck. Endless reams of footage looped over and over again. I absolutely advocate reading newspapers and being aware of the world close and beyond, but there is no need to subject our brains to this kind of image and information overload.
4. Don’t text and drive (your life).
Smartphones have a lot to answer for by providing an easy platform to access all the social media in our lives. Ignore the temptation to check your emails, Facebook, Twitter, whatsapp or plain old texts all the time.
I am the worst offender. A few months ago I found myself checking my phone during dinner, and then throughout the movie afterwards. I was paying attention to what my boyfriend was saying, but let’s be honest, even if you’re a multitasking master, you’re still not focusing on something 100%. The people around you deserve to spend some time with just you. Just like using mobile phones while driving is now banned, you should try banning your phone while you’re spending quality time with your loved ones watching Police Academy 29.
What other things do you do to help make your life that little bit easier? Let me know and do share this with your friends.
Photo credit: Alan Strakey via flickr
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