My New Sleeping Regime

I have a new plan for my sleeping. I am turning it into a regime! Yep, you heard me, it’s going to be 100% focussed on two things. And already I can see the benefits of doing it for just one day (today).

By doing just two things related to my sleeping I can see that there are already a multitude of benefits. For a start, by getting up at a specific time this morning, meant I got back home this evening earlier than I have done in years.

But enough rambling on, I guess you want to know what the two things are.

It’s pretty simple.

Firstly, I’m going to go to bed at 11pm, every night. This doesn’t mean get into bed, it means, be in bed with the lights at as soon as 11 o’clock strikes.

Simple aye!

Secondly, and this will be the harder one of the two, I’ll be getting up at 7am as soon as the alarm clock goes off. I know this will be harder for me since I’m not a morning person but if I’m getting a good amount of sleep it’ll be much easier.

The Benefits

There are a number of benefits but I’ll just hint at a few. The main benefit though is to make sure I get a good nights sleep every single night. Maybe I might relax these rules at the weekends but for now, that’s exactly what I’ll do.

The next benefit is such that my body will know its timetable is and hopefully should allow me to get to sleep much more quickly. Since I stopped drinking caffeine though it’s very infrequent that I get those insomniac nights.

Finally, the last benefit is more a lifestyle one. If I get into work earlier, then it means I can come home earlier and have way more time for myself in the evening. This also ties in with not messing around in work and having a reasonable lunchtime (instead of an overly long lunchtime).

What things have you changed in your life regarding your sleep? Did it work?

Posted: 05 January 2010

Be SMART in your Goals

Over on Retire at 40 I just posted an entry called The Real Goal. The goal is to retire by the time I’m 40. Now usually, to most people, that means to stop working, but for me it isn’t as simple as that.

What I had to do then, was actually define what I meant by retiring at 40. To do that I had to set out a list of my goals that I wanted to fulfil such that, in 6 years time I can look back and say “Yep, I made it to 40 and I’m retired”.

To be able to do this however, you can’t be flippant in what your goals are, you need to define them thoroughly. You can try and make some things up but in all honesty, the time-tested, tried and true method of doing this is to Be SMART.

Each and every goal you ever write down, you should try and conform to the above. The way I see it is, ask yourself some questions of your goal and if you can’t answer them, then the goal needs to be change such that it can. Also, sometimes the question might not even make sense – and again the goal needs to be rewritten such that it can.

By following this guide you can be sure that setting your goals is a simple and painless exercise.

The Questions

The first question is about being specific:

Do you know exactly what you have to do?

Is it measurable:

How will I know if I have achieved my goal?

Then you need to know if you can even do it:

Without breaking myself or my family, will I be able to reach the end of my goal?

If it isn’t realistic, then it’s not a good goal. Ask yourself:

Is this goal something that an everyday person can do?

Finally, you need to set a time limit:

When am I going to review this goal and figure out if I have done it or not?

If you can answer all of those questions, then you probably have a well defined goal. There are a few things to remember however. Firstly, you should review your goal regularly as you go along. This is to make sure that the goal is still relevant.

Also, if this goal is pretty big, then split it up into mini-goals which all contribute to this one. Make sure you have an answer to each of these questions for the mini-goals too, otherwise they’re not good goals.

Finally, good luck on achieving whatever it is you are setting out to do. Feel free to leave any comments on your experiences setting out and achieving your goals.

Posted: 03 January 2010

Choosing What is Important in your Life

There are a number of overlaps in the Personal Finance world and the Simple Life world. Having just read The Other Side of the Frugality Fence I realised that doing this can help simplify your life too.

One particular quote Trent said jumped out at me:

The solution? Cut back. Ask yourself what things you most enjoy doing and toss the rest of it. Look for ways of minimizing the costs of the things you do enjoy.

As I said in the comment I left over there:

It’s definitely a good idea to review what is important to you every so often. That way, you can see what your biggest enjoyments are and whether you’re scrimping on them which actually makes them less enjoyable.

It’s also about cutting down or out all of those things which aren’t that important, especially if they cost an arm and a leg :)

By letting go of some of the things that don’t give you as much pleasure, you also end up saving both money and time. Both of which you can (if you choose) spend on the things that are more enjoyable to you.

Finally, happy New Year to you all, I hope 2010 gives you your best, and most simplest, year yet!

Posted: 31 December 2009

Why go Simple?

Going simple doesn’t mean you become a simpleton. In fact, it actually means you’re aware of what is going on around you and you act on it accordingly. It means you take stock of your life, decide you want to do something about it and then act on it.

Doing this regularly instead of just for New Year’s Resolutions means you can pro-actively improve your life at any time. The power of this thought is phenominal.

And that’s the other reason to go simple. It improves your life.

Let me just re-iterate that for you:

Going simple, improves you life!

That statement is one that I’m going to keep in my mind foremost when writing these articles and going about my everyday activities.

A State of Mind

Of course, it’s a very hard statement to prove but in reality, everything is in the eye of the beholder. That is, if you think it improves your life, then it probably does.

As a counter example, someone who owns a big 4-wheel drive car and drives around the city probably thinks that the car improves their life but we here know differently. Having to worry and pay for all that maintenance, petrol, tax, licensing, cleaning not to mention the car itself really does complicate things.

Just imagine the time saved, the money saved and the stress saved by not having to sit in one of those big metal contraptions. The advantages of not having a car are endless.

In fact, I got rid of my car back in December 2008 and I can honestly say it’s one of the best things that has happened to me (I guess we make our own luck).

So in my eyes, getting rid of the car meant I had less to worry about and therefore improved my life. No-one else can say for certain if such an act actually did improve my life except me.

The New You

Selling your car is just one way to simplify your life. Another is to move into a smaller home and have less to worry about there. Another still is to organise everything you have. Have just one of everything instead of multiple things and also that one thing should have it’s place.

Have a read around this site and use it as a reference. Try a few suggestions and come up with your own – I’d love to hear about them.

In a few hours, or days, or weeks, or months, you’ll look back on your old self and wonder how you managed to cope.

Good luck on your new journey!

Posted: 30 December 2009

Try a Smaller Home

Having a large home means you have more things to think about. Also many more things to worry about. Let’s just note a few of them down:

Less of Everything including Less Stress

Having a smaller home brings many advantages. Here are just a few things but please leave a comment with any others:

Some of these are subjective (I personally like a good sized garden since I find it very enjoyable) but mostly you’d agree with them I’m sure.

Posted: 29 December 2009

Less is More

In quite a number of the articles on this site, many of them give lists of good and bad things. Unlike many other parts of life, with simplicity, less is more.

Try a Smaller Home is a perfect example of that.

In normal life, you get all of those lists which say higher, greater, extra and more. But those, they’re the bad lists.

In the simple life, you want to be reading those lists that say lower, lesser, fewer and less. See them, they’re the good lists.

Having less of something means less to worry about, less to clean, less to think about and less to try and remember.

A Different Way of Thinking

It can take a little bit of time to figure out that this is, in fact, a better way of thinking. Usually having more money is a good thing, or being able to run faster, do more or have more but with the simple life, the opposite is true.

Once you get your head around the fact that less is more then you’re well on your way to a more simple and more thoughtful life. One with more time on your hands and more time to enjoy the things that you truely enjoy.

So as you can see, less is more.

Posted: 28 December 2009

Go By Bike

Owning and riding a bike is pure fulfillment at its best.

That’s quite a statement to start off with but I believe it’s true. Since buying my bike I have become fitter, more energetic, less grumpy, richer (yes, it’s true) and more fulfilled than I ever was when I owned a car.

I also have less things to worry about. When I had a car I had to think about:

But with the bike I worry about:

Of course, there are still some things you need to do if you have a bike but the time and money spent on these is a fraction what it is with a car:

But even then, repairing my bike is something I can do and I don’t have to book an appointment at a mechanic, take time off work, take the car there and then pay someone for the privilege.
As if that’s not Enough, It’s Faster Too

The number one thing people believe they need their car for is because they think it is faster than going by bike. After selling my car I have realised that the opposite is true.

Sitting in a car and heading to work has got to be one of the most frustrating and slow things I have ever done. Luckily, I haven’t had to drive to work that much since I usually go by public transport or walk.

There’s not a greater feeling in the world to shoot past people stuck in cars on the way to work. Though it isn’t just restricted to rush hour.

Riding to friend’s houses at the weekend is also a time-saver since the buses run less regularly. I find that waiting at a bus stop is also quite an annoyance. At least by biking means you’re constantly on the way and getting somewhere.

As you can see, I like biking

Posted: 27 December 2009

Amalgamate your Online Presences

Over the past 5 years or so, I have bought and ignored domain names, started up and stopped a great number of websites and launched a number of blogs and stopped posting.

Why so many?

Because I have many interests.

Why have they all stopped?

Because they are on the periphery, they’re a distraction, never being given the chance to shine by having regular posts.

I have generally posted regularly to my main blog (though this year was an exception). I have also posted to other blogs in fits and starts. My interest in particular subjects grow, I get excited, then it wanes. Instead, what I need to do is keep them ticking along. Even just 2 or 3 posts a week to any of these blogs and that would be happy and healthy.

Merging all my Identities

By having all of my blogs in the same place it will make it much easier to maintain it all. I won’t have any sysadmin work to do, I won’t have to have a huge number of usernames and passwords and I also won’t have to go and audit my comments either.

All of this leads to a huge amount of simplicity in my life. Not to mention not having to re-buy all of those domain names each year.

So now, all of the following are all on this site:

… as well as my writing, wiki and some other bits and pieces (some content yet to be migrated).

The Advantages

The Disadvantages

Each site might be good on it’s own, if I were able to put all of my time into them. Instead, I want to concentrate on just a few blogs but instead have the other blogs right there so I can post to them every so often. These wouldn’t be worth having their own sites, even if those sites could prosper if given the right attention.

I may also lose the ability to monetise those blogs independently but I don’t mind actually keeping things simple in this department too. Most of what I publish will be free of adverts though this may change in the future if I so decide.

Finally, I will lose some ‘brand’ identity for each blog but instead I’ll gain ‘brand’ identity for me. I’m happy with this since it might turn out well and in all honesty, it’s a bit of an experiment.

All in all, this is going to be a new adventure and hopefully a happy and simple one :)

Posted: 26 December 2009