Sometimes my day looks a bit like this: wake up, caffeinate, meditate, throw myself into client work, start the dishwasher, forget to invoice a client, try to take a deep, cleansing breath, work out and get dinner on the table for my family.
It’s no joke that many of us think of our daily lives as stressful experiences. In a study by Endoca and SWNS/72 Point, one-third of millennial respondents believed that their lives were more stressful than that of the average person. Between financial stress and trying for the tenth time to get the Wi-Fi reconnected, stress takes forms both large and small.
Stress is something that never goes away entirely. However, with the right methods in place, you can reduce stress in multiple areas of your busy life. I found four ways to stress less using the minimalism method. Warning: Increased productivity and a healthier state of mind are known side effects.
Minimalism method No. 1: Tidy up your stuff
Marie Kondo introduced the “less is more” concept to American consumers—a concept far too long in coming to our shores. You don’t necessarily have to pick up each item, touch it and determine whether it sparks joy. It takes less time to get rid of things gradually. If you notice something that no longer serves a purpose in your home, set it aside.
For example, I keep an empty box in my closet. Whenever I come across something that I haven’t used in a long time (think longer than six months), I toss it into the box. Then when the box is full, I haul it off to my local donation center.
This way, you can curb your appetite for spending on things you don’t need. When you reach for a mug to pour your daily coffee, take note of which mugs you use often and which ones are hiding in the back. If you haven’t used it in over six months, add it to your donation box and continue on with your day.
Minimalism method No. 2: Clean up your finances
Finances can be a big source of stress; 62% of Americans report they feel stressed over this topic. Whether you micromanage your finances or refuse to touch them with a 10-foot pole, it’s wise to do some clean-up.
One great solution is to to review your current savings accounts. It takes just a few minutes to look up how much interest you are earning for each account. If it’s obvious that those accounts aren’t earning much interest, minimize the lost opportunity by switching to a better account.
I researched the best high-yield savings accounts and moved from a money market account that earned 0.7% interest to a high-yield savings account with a 2.2% interest rate. Not only was the process quick, but it was painless and helped me maximize my interest earnings.
Minimalism method No. 3: Fine-tune the all-important car insurance policy
Car insurance is one of those seemingly complicated tasks that we all have to complete eventually. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports that 30% of survey respondents don’t shop for the best deal. But figuring out what coverage you need surprisingly only takes a few steps.
First, understand the different types of coverage available. Would you rather save costs by getting coverage for vehicle damage only—or spend more on comprehensive coverage and feel safer? Determine how much of each type of coverage you need, then shop around for the best deal. Lastly, look for ways to bundle auto insurance with a homeowner’s policy and save even more.
When researching my own policy, I figured out that I wanted full coverage on my vehicle. I also wanted to max out my deductible on collision and comprehensive because I had more than enough money in my emergency fund to cover the deductible. Car insurance is one of those things that no one wants to mess with, but once I figured out what I wanted in my coverage, it was easier for me to find the best deal.
Minimalism method No. 4: Be strategic at work
If you’re a go-getter like myself, you might have a list of projects saved on outlook. You might also have a mental list of personal things you want to accomplish. Being minimal with work doesn’t mean you work less, it means working strategically.
Time management can be difficult to master. It’s not so much about the number of projects that you’re working on, it’s the order in which you complete those projects. For example, if I have a goal to promote a product in my business, it should take priority. If I find myself creating content that isn’t related to that product, then I’m not prioritizing effectively.
Is there one goal or project you can focus on this month? If you find yourself with multiple goals, try prioritizing each one. Once you complete your first priority, you can get to work on the next project. This method streamlines your productivity and can help you say no to that shiny object on your social media feed.