How’s your life going? Even if you answered “great,” there’s probably still room for improvement. The truth is, none of us is perfect. We all have blind spots that make our lives more challenging than they need to be.
For instance, maybe you struggle to remember important appointments. Or maybe you have a habit of scrolling through social media until 2 a.m. every night. Whatever your flaws, there are small ways you can overcome them. Outlined below are five relatively simple lifestyle upgrades you can make to improve your life.
1. Upgrade your bedroom
You know you should get a good night’s rest every single night. But do you? Many don’t.
Adults should get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults don’t. While this might not seem like a big deal, getting sufficient rest each night is crucial. The lack of good sleep could eventually wreak havoc in your life. From making it difficult to concentrate on menial tasks to impairing cognitive function, sleeplessness has significant negative impacts.
The good news is that there are ways you can improve your sleep routine. For one, leave your electronics outside the bedroom, as blue light keeps your body in an alert state.
You could also consider upgrading the bedroom essentials. Get a comfortable pillow that supports your neck, and add a silk pillowcase to reduce friction on your skin. Use cozy sheets and quality blankets to keep you warm. You might also want to invest in blackout curtains or blinds so the sun doesn’t wake you up before you’re ready.
These small bedroom changes might not sound like much, but implementing at least one could make all the difference.
2. Establish a default routine
Having a routine might sound boring, but it enhances productivity and alleviates stress — two things most of us desperately need. The key to creating a routine is to break your day down into small tasks that help you focus on what you need to accomplish.
Start by deciding what absolutely needs to be included in your routine. Common examples include working out, going to the office, picking your kids up from school, etc. After that, focus on bigger goals. For instance, let’s say you want to complete a big work project by Friday. Your routine for the week should be constructed to include the tasks needed to get that project done.
Once you’ve added your needs and your goals, build a plan to get everything accomplished. Make sure you’re as specific as possible. For example, your plan shouldn’t say “Call clients in the afternoon.” Instead, it should say, “Call client A at 3:15 to discuss article topics.” The more detailed your plan, the easier it’ll be to follow and the less likely you’ll be to get off track.
3. Create a calendar
Regardless of whether you live alone or have a big family, you should maintain an up-to-date calendar. On this calendar, make note of school project due dates, dentist appoints, vacations, bills, and so forth. Whatever you have to do that month, put it on your calendar — and be sure to update it as needed throughout the week.
If your calendar keeps track of your entire family, assign everyone a different color so no one gets confused. For instance, all of your son’s appointments could be entered in green while your daughter’s schedule might be in purple. Color coordination makes it easy for every family member to keep up-to-date with their schedule as well as everyone else’s.
Nowadays, you don’t have to physically create this calendar. Instead, you can use an app like Calendar or Cozi to create a virtual calendar. What’s nice about such apps is their convenience. They can be shared with, seen, and updated by every family member, regardless of location. The only thing any of them requires is a smartphone.
Creating a calendar that’s easily accessible takes the pressure off you to remember everything. Instead of having to keep yourself — and your family — on task every day, a calendar app can do the heavy lifting for you.
4. Prepare your own meals
For many people, cooking can be one of the most stressful parts of the day. Even if you enjoy the art of cooking, you might not want to spend time in the kitchen after a long day of work. Well, you don’t have to. There’s this beautiful lifestyle hack called “meal prepping.”
Meal prepping isn’t complicated. You just plan out your evening meals ahead of time. There are several ways to go about meal prep, depending on your schedule. Some people spend Sunday cooking everything they’ll eat that week. Others don’t take it that far. They might cook one big meal on Sunday and live off the leftovers for the next few days.
Regardless of your preferred approach, adopting meal prep as a habit will reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen throughout the week.
5. Develop (and stick to) a budget
Do you truly want to make your life easier? Create a budget every month — and stick to it.
Sure, it’ll take at least a few attempts to get good at budgeting. However, having a clear plan for your finances will make your life much easier. Not to mention, your wallet will thank you.
Contrary to what you may have heard, creating a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. You don’t need to create a spreadsheet or work with an accountant. All you really need to do is find a plan that works for you and your finances.
One popular budget is the “50/30/20” approach. Using this budgeting tool, you’d allocate 50% of your income to needs — rent, mortgage, utilities, etc. After that, 30% goes to your wants — new clothes, concert tickets, etc. Finally, 20% of your earnings go to debt repayment, giving, and savings.
Of course, you have the freedom to adjust these percentages depending on your lifestyle and financial goals. For instance, if you’re saving to buy a house, you might want to put more than 20% of your income into a savings account designated for that purpose.
By having a budget and sticking to it, you’ll alleviate a lot of stress. Instead of wondering every weekend if you have the money for this or that, you can just check the budget you created for yourself that month and go from there.
By consistently using the five suggestions above, you can streamline your days and make it easier to accomplish everything on your schedule. The best “upgrade” you’ll get is a happier version of yourself.