Five tweaks to improve your life

giraffes-627031_1280 (1)I'd like to think that you and I have time to put into improving our lives. That we have enough energy to be inspired to do so. But I get that life has a way of stopping us. These past few weeks I’ve been so busy it's been hard to get anything done! Yes, I see that irony!!

This got me wondering how you and I can still keep working on the good and positive within that crazy context. Let’s face it, we find ourselves like it more often than not! So I've come up with five tweaks we can all make to improve yours and my situations no end! Are you ready for them?

  1. Get enough sleep
  2. Fight decision fatigue
  3. Take small steps often
  4. Control your electronics
  5. Stop sometimes

Let's look at each of these:

  1. Get enough sleep

‘Busy’ is a dominant theme in most of our lives. It's like we've decided to take on the equivalent of juggling five balls – a feat with a high degree of difficulty – with no consideration of what this will cost us. Sleep is one commodity we seem to have made optional. Unfortunately it's a bad call.

I've had one of those ‘bad sleep’ weeks. It happens every now and then, and there's no point worrying about it. It's probably cos I'm so busy my brain has to keep working to get everything done. Which might explain why I’m writing this at five in the morning instead of getting my Z’s!

Good sleep not only improves our physical health (so we don't get as sick!), it also helps our mental capacity stay sharp so we can do all our stuff. We have more energy to throw into our days and the people around us, too. Getting enough sleep is a worthwhile  tweak!

  1. Fight decision fatigue

I didn't even know decision fatigue existed until a few years ago (although I felt it)! Decision fatigue isn't new, but it is an overwhelming component of our modern lives. It's literally the exhaustion which comes from choosing so much all the time. Which leads us to fuzzy headedness and a diminished capacity to make good and clear choices. It tends to get worse over the day and has scary impacts on our will power!

Hands up who'd like to limit this evil? Me too – can you see my hand waving? Luckily there's a few simple things which can help us.

  1. Take small steps often

It's about now in a post that I'm usually overwhelmed by TMI (too much information!) and decide it's all to hard. After all, my life is so busy and I'm already doing so much! The only way I can see any of us over-committed people adding any improvement to our lives is by taking micro steps on it.

Although it would be lovely and good to implement sweeping changes and gloriously rearrange some less-than-ideal parts of our lives, most of us can't. We simply don't have a year to take out of our lives and re-evaluate. I'm realising that improvement in adult life is mostly taken one little step at a time. Lucky for is, groups of little tweaks still bring great benefits. A winning marathon is lots of small steps put together, you know!

  1. Control your electronics

All the talk on living in an electronic age is about the improvements it brings to our lives. And much of it is good! But our generation has swallowed hook line and sinker the idea that we just have to go with the wave. We don't! I’d like to start a conversation about the ways social media and smart phones take away from our lives. And what we might do about it.

The idea I'm returning to is that this life is mine, not my smart phone’s. Which by way of logical extension means that I can make the decisions and put some controls in place if I choose! In a week where, I confess, I got up at 2am to check something on a device (defence: I was awake anyway!) this seems like an art worth considering. What if I turned my phone off for an evening? Will I die? What might I gain? Perhaps this is another adjustment I would gain by.

  1. Stop sometimes

There's something ironic about the fact that the very culture which is so into chasing a perfect life is the one which has locked us into seemingly eternal busyness. Last weekend I had a few minutes space when everyone went out. What did I do? Filled it with trying to tick one more thing off my list! Why? Because I won't get things done- I won't achieve anything to show off about!- if I don't!

Sometimes we just need to stop. Deliberately. As a choice. And be non productive. And enjoy it. When I was very young everything would close at midday Saturday and that was it til Monday morning. Now there's weekend trading, and if we want something at night we buy it online. Nothing ever really closes, which tricks me into thinking that I shouldn't shut down either.

We’re made for rest. Like sleep, we limit our good lives by not taking it. We need to re-learn to stop. And deliberately choose to waste some time. It's good for us!

There you have it. Five tweaks to improve your life. Of course, now we have to act on the ideas. But I reckon they're good enough to turn into a series! Over the next few weeks I’ll post some more specific ideas on each one so we can know what to DO. See you then!

PS Are there other simple areas you've automated or simplified in order to keep your life in a good place? I'd love to hear about them. Let's celebrate them together!