95 Ways to Simplify Your Life - Office and Tech

If there's one area of our modern lives that's supposed to bring freedom and ease, yet often wastes so much time and creates frustrating complications, it's technology.  We can't live without it, but we need to make sure it's serving us, not stealing our energy and attention.  I hope this list inspires a positive change, however small.  (For Part 3, go here.)

Part 4 – Office and tech

50.  Stop as much incoming paper as possible.

Get off mailing lists, cancel catalogs, and sign up for online billing and statements.  Don't accept flyers, handouts, or freebie newspapers.

51.  Sort mail now.

Don't set it down somewhere it doesn't belong.  Piles grow when you neglect them, so take a few minutes right away.

  • Junk mail can go straight into recycling (shred anything with personal information).
  • File important papers (like a new investment statement or insurance declarations page) immediately; remove and shred what's outdated.
  • Keep an "action file" for bills to pay or items that require a response.
  • Read and enjoy "real" mail (like a birthday card).  Display it for a few days on a bulletin board.

52.  Keep a family calendar.

Notes and invitations for school, church, or social activities do not need to be kept once the date and time are entered on the calendar.

53.  Print as little as possible.

Don't give yourself unnecessary stuff to file or recycle.

54.  Automate as many bills as you can, and pay the rest online.

Save time and postage, and maybe do without checks altogether.

55.  Bank online.

Transfer money and even deposit checks without going to the bank or standing in a line.

56.  Organize your digital files.

Develop a logical system of folders, so you won't have to wade through hundreds of random files to find what you're looking for.

57.  Backup your digital files.

Some people will prefer a USB flash drive or an external hard drive for this; others will feel more comfortable with an online storage service.

58.  Purge bookmarks regularly.

The stuff you found interesting last month may be of no use to you today.  Don't waste time scrolling through the excess.

59.  Limit the number of blogs you read.

When you subscribe to a new one, drop an old one so you don't increase your time commitment.  (I hope you'll keep mine!)

60.  Quit social media (or don't join).

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all the rest can be major time sinks, and can become something you feel obligated to participate in.  At the very least, limit the time you spend on it, limit the number of people or organizations you follow, and keep "friends" limited to people you actually know.

61.  Check and answer email during defined periods.

When you're distracted by constant incoming messages, it takes longer to complete any task.

62.  After a certain hour, put cell phones in a charging station.

You can still access your phone if you want, but you're forced to be more mindful about when and why you reach for tech.  Do you need to check for an important message, or are you just going to mindlessly scroll through social media?

63.  Create a tech-free zone.

The bedroom works particularly well for this.

64.  Take digital sabbaticals.

Whether it's every evening after dinner, one day a week, or one weekend a month, periods of digital disconnection let you focus on the people, activities, and surroundings of the real world.

65.  Stay out of debt.

Life is much simpler when you don't have to use current earnings to pay for past purchases.

66.  Telecommute.

If you can work from home one or two days a week, you'll save time and money, pollute less, and maybe find yourself more peaceful and productive.

Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.
Martin H. Fischer


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