1.And free up time to do what you love most 挤出些时间做你最想做的事
Two years ago Shirley Michels of St. Louis found herself getting up earlier and earlier, and going to bed later and later, just to meet everyday demands. The wife, mother and ophthalmic technician met her responsibilities, but lacked time for the things that mattered most.
She and her husband, Vic, an attorney, began searching for ways to simplify their lives. “We had to decide what was really important,” says Shirley. They knew they wanted more time to play with their three-year-old son, Ryan, to exercise and eat right, and to nurture friendships.
So the couple chose to live more modestly, shopping with care for necessities and enjoying inexpensive pleasures such as reading, cooking and going to the park. Shirley quit her job and began working part time from home. She printed up business cards that read “At your service—buy yourself a little time,” and hired herself out for personal tasks such as shopping, paying bills, organizing parties, doing Internet research—whatever clients needed.
“I still work hard, but being able to control my hours makes all the difference,” she says. “I can carve out time to take my son to the zoo or play basketball with him. My stress headaches are gone. Having a chance to get to know neighbors not only has been fun, but it’s also helped us further simplify.
According to trend watchers, the Michelses are far from alone in wanting to slow down and live a more satisfying life. A Gallup Poll found that half of all Americans claim they lack enough time to do what they want. Fifty-four percent of parents say they spend too little time with their children, and 47 percent of married couples complain that they lack time together.
Where does the time go? For most people, work and commuting dominate the day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one out of five of us put in 49 or more hours a week on the job; one out of 12 logged 60 hours or more.
Then there’s the rich smorgasbord of modern life—so much information to sift through, so many products beckoning. “We’re wearing ourselves out trying to have it all,” says Elaine St. James, author of Living the Simple Life.
Simplifying means becoming aware of the ways, big and small, that we expend money, time and energy, and then raking steps to curb the waste. Here, from the experts, are some suggestions for gaining control over life’s hassles in order to have time for the pleasures.
Start the Day Right一天之计在于晨
Before she applied “the rule,” mornings were a trial for Baltimore teacher Claudia Bowe, mother of Alex, 11, and Clara, nine. “The kids, my husband and I had to leave every day at exactly 7:45. Invariably, books would be missing. My son isn’t a morning person, so he was dazed and at his worst when I needed him to be most efficient. By the time we were off, we were all in bad moods. We had to change our habits.
Bowe’s rule? Do everything possible the night before to prepare for the next day. For instance, get a coffee maker that can be timed to start brewing when you wake up. Decide what to wear, including belts and socks; check for spots, wrinkles, missing buttons. Children can set the table with bowls, spoons and cereal boxes—everything but the milk.
“Provide a list of items kids need for school the next morning—homework, library books, lunch money,—and have them check them off before getting into bed every night,” suggests organizational expert Ann Gambrell, owner of Creative Time Plus in Torrance, Calif. Set anything to be carried out into the world—backpacks, dry cleaning—in front of the door. Always put keys in the same place. Studies show that the average adult spends 16 hours a year searching for lost keys.
加利福尼亚州托 斯市Creative Time Plus的老板， 管理专家安·甘布里尔加立福尼亚州建议“准备好孩子们第二天早晨上学所需的一切棗作业、图书馆借的书、午餐费棗并在每晚上床睡觉之前检查一下。”把要带出去的东西都安排好棗把背包和要干洗的衣服放在门前。把钥匙总放在同一个地方。研究结果表明成年人每年找钥匙的所花的时间平均为16小时.
2.Declutter Your Home 不要让你房子凌乱不堪
“Every possession you buy requires tending,” says Don Aslett, author of Clutter’s Last Stand. “Every chair, blouse, stationary bike, candlestick must be dusted, guarded, stored, repaired. Freeing yourself from unnecessary possessions frees up time.” .
To overcome the hoarder inside screaming “I may need this,” Smith College psychologist Randy O. Frost advises talking back to yourself. “I’ll never use this twisted umbrella. New ones cost only six dollars.” Or, “Yes, I may need this leftover wallpaper someday, but am I going to save everything I might need someday? If so, maybe I should rent a warehouse.
San Francisco cleaning expert Jeff Campbell, author of Clutter Control, advises clients drowning in debris —but who seem unable to part with so much as a stray screw—to start small. Do one drawer, one shelf, at a time. If it’s broken, fix it or toss it. If it doesn’t fit, alter it or give it away.
Cultivating just one good habit can prevent clutter from accumulating: don’t put anything down “for now.” Don’t leave jackets on chairs or glasses in the sink “for now.” As Mom said, “Don’t put it down, put it away.” To do otherwise means handling everything more than once.
3.Gently Say “No” 和颜悦色地说声“不”
When Lyn Petit from Ridgewood, N. J., was a stay-at-home mom to her two daughters, Sarah, ten, and Elizabeth, 12, she taught Sunday school, helped run a thrift shop and chaired just about any committee she was invited to take on. After returning to her job as a floral designer, she continued trying to do it all.
新泽西州Ridgewood 市的林恩·柏蒂是位有二个女儿的家庭主妇：萨拉10岁，伊丽莎白12岁。她在主日学校教书，帮助经营一个廉价旧货店，还被邀请担任某些员会的主席。 在她重新做花样设计师后，她仍然尽量帮助做一切事情。
Eventually her impossible schedule led to anxiety attacks, which forced her to prioritize and limit her volunteer work to the Girl Scouts and PTA. Now the family sits down to dinner together every night. Petit is there to help with homework, and she says, “It’s great to get to know my husband again.”
“No is a two-letter word that can free up many hours a week,” says Elaine St. James. Say it gently but immediately, offering a brief explanation, such as “I just don’t have time.” Avoid giving detailed excuses—the other person is likely to see a way you actually could fit in the request.
4.Don’t Save Pennies and Waste Hours 不要为了节省几个便士而浪费数个小时
Most of us are taught to watch money, but not to value time,” says Andrea Van Steenhouse, author of A Woman’s Guide to a Simpler Life. “As a result, we may not even think about how much irreplaceable time we waste to save a few pennies.” Is it worth it to wander through a giant discount mart, searching for picture hangers, when the neighborhood hard ware-store owner would point to them immediately? To wait for takeout at the restaurant when delivery is available for a small tip? Rather than dismiss the idea with the words “I can’t afford that,” it may pay to think twice.
5.Encourage Your Kids to Help 鼓励孩子们帮忙
Stephanie Culp is a productivity consultant in Temecula, Calif., and author of You Can Find More Time for Yourself Every Day. Her golden rule for families: except for babies, no one is exempt from housework. Three to four-year-olds can fill Rover’s bowl or fetch the baby’s diapers. Five- to seven- year- olds can set tables, make beds, sweep walks. Children eight to 12 can weed, dust, take out the trash. Let kids know in advance what’s expected of them. Posting a rotating chore list that spells out who does what prevents squabbles such as “It’s not my turn to clear the table.”
Be prepared to reduce expectations at first—a poorly made bed is a lot better than one left unmade. But if the bed- making is particularly pathetic, it may be a sabotage maneuver. Stick to your guns, says Culp. If you give in, your child, having savored the victory of upward delegation, may use the same tactic to get out of other chores.
6.Turn Off the Tube 关上电视机
Americans average 16 hours a week watching TV, making it the nation’s dominant leisure activity. “Yet it’s a pastime few see as important or even enjoyable,” says John P. Robinson, director of the Americans’ Use of Time Project at the University of Maryland. “Life would be simpler for a lot of people if they could reclaim even a third of the time they spend semihypnotized in front of the tube.”
Robinson and other experts suggest families schedule activities before consulting a TV guide. Decide what programs to watch, tape them and promptly turn off the set after replaying. Have certain times—during meals, on Sunday afternoons—when TV is never allowed.
The payoff for all this simplifying? You’ll free up time to do what you love most, whether it’s playing with the kids, gardening or traveling. Nothing could be simpler.