Practical Daily Simplicity

3d-optical-illusion-sand-art-jamie-harkins-1Even though I only do traditional ‘work’ for 4 hours a day my life is still packed full of activity, often too much activity!  Over the years I’ve gradually created a coping strategy based on simplifying my life and in particular simplifying all the little things in life, with the aim of reducing the number of decisions I have to make.  The more trivial decisions I eliminate, the more willpower I have left over for making sure I do all the little things that improve my health.  It’s important to remember that the big things in life are often built from these small decisions.  Here are a few examples:

  1. I don’t buy ‘things’ except consumables and experiences, I already have everything that I need and so I’m freed of wondering whether I should buy gadget X, Y and Z
  2. I follow the same basic routine most work days, wake, meditate, walk/cycle, write blog post, read my Instapaper queue in a cafe, walk/cycle, lunch, work, dinner, family time/swim, TV (scan RSS feeds) and supper, read fiction in the bath, sleep
  3. I don’t keep a traditional to do list, so I’m not burdened by all the stuff I never get around to doing, but I do keep a list of objectives and jobs that need doing around the house.  Each night I write down 3-4 things I want to achieve tomorrow
  4. I wear the same clothes every day, or rather I have an office outfit and a home outfit.  I make minor changes depending on the weather, but pretty much I wear the same stuff. 
  5. I get my clothes ready and pack my daily bag last thing at night before I go to bed, and I write my plan for tomorrow so I have no decisions to make when I wake up.  Sometimes a flare forces me to change plans, but on bad days everything changes anyway.
  6. I eat the same thing every day, with minor changes depending on activity level.  Two green smoothies, a large berry salad and a cooked meal with meat and lots of veg, a mini dark chocolate bar, dried pear crisps.  If I’m doing a lot of activity I might add a bowl of oats and nuts, if I’m going out for the day I often pop into a cafe for bacon and eggs
  7. I go on holiday to the same place (Filey) every month, so I don’t spend time trying to decide where to go.  When I go away on a think week I always go to my favourite Premier Inns which I book only when the cheap room offers are on.
  8. I find things that I like and I buy in bulk, for example I like polyester and cotton extremely cheap Puma T shirts (cost £2-3) and I have about 15 (10 in use and 5 spares).  I like Karimor light weight walking shoes and I have 1 pair in the car, one on my feet and 3 in my store room.
  9. I have pre-packed bags for most purposes, for example I go on at least 12, 5 day breaks a year and I keep a bag packed and almost ready to go, I just need to add shorts or hiking trousers and a fleece depending on the weather.  The bags have all the clothes, toiletries, medications, chargers etc that I need.  I have another bag packed ready for swimming and another ready for hiking.  When I return from any of these trips the first thing I do is repack.  One of the reasons for this is to remember all the little things I need to reduce the risks due to the variability of my health, all the emergency gear, the emergency meds etc.
  10. Since I often have to stay a night or two at hospital with zero notice I have an emergency bag packed and ready in the car.  It’s proved very useful on many other occasions and it stops my Brompton from bouncing around the boot.

So on work days everything is very rigid, but it’s also very easy for me to adapt and embrace change.  On non work days, nothing much is planned in advance, but I do pick from about 20 favourite activities. 

It’s also worth noting that I do keep refining my ‘planned’ life, adding a few new favourite activities and places each year and refining my working day plan depending on my health, the season and the demands of my job.

This post was inspired by The 7 Rules That Keep My Life Simple

I’m writing this post in Caffe Nero while suffering from a flare that came on suddenly last night, it’s dull outside but not raining yet so I will soon be up and about and enjoying the beach.  I didn’t take todays photo, but it is of our beach and people having fun so it cheered me up no end.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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