In our daily lives, we often rush through tasks, trying to get them done, trying to finish as much as we can each day, speeding along in our cars to our next destination, rushing to do what we need to do there, and then leaving so that we can speed to our next destination.
Unfortunately, it’s often not until we approach our final destination that we realize what madness this all is. At the end of the day, we’re often exhausted and stressed out from the grind and the chaos and the business of the day. We don’t have time for what’s important to us, for what we really want to be doing, for spending time with loved ones, for doing things we’re passionate about.
It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to live a simpler life, one where you enjoy each activity, where you are present in everything (or most things) you do, where you are content rather than rushing to finish things. If this appeals to you, here are some suggestions for living a simple, peaceful, content life.
1 - Decide what is important. Take a step back and think about what’s important to you. What do you really want to be doing, who do you want to spend your time with, what do you want to accomplish with your work? Make a short list of 4-5 things for your life, 4-5 people you want to spend time with, 4-5 things you’d like to accomplish at work.
2 - Examine your commitments. A big part of the problem is that our lives are way too full. We can’t possibly do everything we have committed to doing, and we certainly can’t enjoy it if we’re trying to do everything. Accept that you can’t do everything, know that you want to do what’s important to you, and try to eliminate the commitments that aren’t as important.
3 - Do less each day. Don’t fill your day up with things to do. You will end up rushing to do them all. If you normally try (and fail) to do 7-10 things, do 3 important ones instead (with 3 more smaller items to do if you get those three done). This will give you time to do what you need to do, and not rush.
4 - Leave space between tasks or appointments. Another mistake is trying to schedule things back-to-back. This leaves no cushion in case things take longer than we planned (which they always do), and it also gives us a feeling of being rushed and stressed throughout the day. Instead, leave a good-sized gap between your appointments or tasks, allowing you to focus more on each one, and have a transition time between them.
5 - Eliminate as much as possible from your to-do list. You can’t do everything on your to-do list. Even if you could, more things will come up. As much as you can, simplify your to-do list down to the essentials. This allows you to rush less and focus more on what’s important.
6 - Slow down and enjoy every task. This is the most important tip in this article. Read it twice. Whatever you’re doing, whether it’s a work task, eating, brushing your teeth, cooking dinner, driving to work: slow down. Try to enjoy whatever you’re doing. Try to pay attention, instead of thinking about other things. Be in the moment. This isn’t easy, as you will often forget, but find a way to remind yourself. Unless the task involves actual pain, anything can be enjoyable if you give it the proper attention.
Eat slowly. This is just a more specific application of taking things more slowly but it’s something we do every day, so it deserves special attention.
Drive more slowly. Another application of the same principle, driving is something we do that’s often mindless and rushed. Instead, slow down and enjoy the journey. See How to Practice Zen Driving.
7 - Single-task. This is an important point. Do one thing at a time, and do it well; see How to Avoid Multi Tasking.
8 - Eliminate stress. Find the stressful things in your life, and find ways to eliminate them. See How to Relieve Stress.
9 - Create time for solitude. In addition to slowing down and enjoying the tasks we do, and doing less of them, it’s also important to just have some time to yourself.
10 - Do nothing. Sometimes, it’s good to forget about doing things, and do nothing and don't worry.
11 - Sprinkle simple pleasures throughout your day. Knowing what your simple pleasures are, and putting a few of them in each day, can go a long way to making life more enjoyable.
12 - Practice being present. You can practice being in the moment at any time during the day. The key methods of being present include paying attention instead of daydreaming, observing what is going on around you, breathing attentively and meditating.
13 - Live in the Moment. Instead of delayed gratification, try enjoying life right now.
14 - Putting others first helps with living a peaceful life. Living in conflict with people hurts, and sometimes we feel so small after a minor or major argument. But if we could just look past their faults, they could look past ours maybe. forgiveness helps with living a peaceful life, (at peace with ourselves and others around us).
If you have children, do not over schedule their lives. They too can learn to have a simple and peaceful life.
Don't always buy a things you just want. Instead buy the things you need .
Recognize that having lots of material possessions will not increase your long-term happiness. Don't shop on impulse. Instead, make planned purchases based on your priorities, lifestyle and personal style.
Get a low stress job if you can, such as a 9-5 Monday through Friday job with no off-duty calls. This will minimize stress and give you more time to do things you enjoy.