Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged life

Evaluating Your Time, The Trick To A Happier Life

They say that when people start to track what they eat they generally start eating less, just because they’re being conscious of what they are eating.  The same rings true when you look at how you’re spending your life, what time you dedicate to different things.  Over the past month or so I’ve been taking a look at how am I spending my life, where is my time going and how do I feel about it all.

I wanted to map what my life is actually like and compare it to what I want it to be.  The difference between what it is and what I want it to be signals where I need to make changes.  To do this, I’ve found a few tools that I’ve really liked and thought I’d share some of them here.

Track your life with Life Cycle

This is a pretty neat app that automates the tracking of your entire day and it does it pretty well.  It uses your GPS to figure out what you do where and then tracks how long you’re doing it.  You tell it where you work, it tracks time spent at work.  You tell it where you work out, grocery shop, get dinner, do errands and it tracks it all.  At the end of the day you get a snapshot of what your day was.

So here you can see I spent 7 hours and 23 minutes sleeping, 6 hours 28 minutes working, and so on.  The app interfaces with the iPhone’s health app, tracking your steps and it also connect to their other app, Sleep Cycle (more on that in a minute).

Track your sleep with Sleep Cycle

This is from the makers of the Life Cycle app and interfaces with it, its basically required to use.  Basically it analyzes how you sleep by detecting movement on your bed and breathing patterns.  It operates on the premise that when you are in deep REM sleep (the kind that really gets you rested up) your body actually prevents itself from moving so we don’t act out our dreams and many other reasons.  This means when we are in deep sleep, we don’t really move.  The app tracks this and measures your sleep patterns.

Understand better how you work with Rescue Time

If you’re like me, when it comes to work, it’s almost all done on a computer.  Rescue time puts a little program on your computer to track exactly what you’re doing and for how long.  It can spit out reports to show you exactly what you’ve been up to, it can categorize those into “productive” or “non productive” activities.

rescue time tracking

This is really good for those who get distracted easily on the web or on their computers.  We know that just because you’re on your computer, doesn’t mean you’re actually working.  Since using this app (over two years for me now) I’ve found that I get on my computer, do only work, then shut down and move on with life.  In short, I don’t waste time, get my work done quickly and get on with more important things.

Dig into emails with Gmail Meter

One of the lessons I learned from using Rescue Time (above) was that I spend a lot of time in email.  Email is often a terrible use of time.  The saying goes: “an email inbox is a convenient way to organize other people’s priorities.”  I use an add-on to Gmail called Gmail Meter which analyzes your email.  I’ve taken some drastic steps to help reduce the number of emails I receive.  For example I used to receive around 400 emails a day, now 170 email per day.  I still have a very long way to go.

It also shows your top people who email you.  This helps me identify people who I need to break it off with if they are endless emailers or validate that the emails I do get and send are productive.

So What Does This All Mean?

After sitting with this data, I break out my life into three main categories:  Recreational, Sleeping and Business Activities. Having objective data is a very important step because we can get down to specifics and reality, not guesses and gut feelings.

I then can ask myself, what do I want my life to be like?  What do I want a day to look like?  Then after that I can delve into things more specifically: what do I want my free time (recreational) to look like?  When I run my business, what should that look and feel like?  How much sleep do I want to make sure I have?

The important part here is defining what will make you happy and then comparing it to reality.  The gap is where I need to focus and make intentional changes.

For me, email is a huge issue.  I also spend more time driving that I like.  My average sleep time is around 8 hours, which is good, but I need to work out more.

You can use fancy tools like I have here or simply jot down in a notebook.  The point is, how often do you take inventory on your goals and your life?  Most people don’t.  Most people do nothing or at best, work of guesses.

Your Turn!

  • How do you track your time spent?
  • How do you keep on track to your goals?

How Was Your Worst Day Your Best Day?

Today I was listening to a podcast when I heard a question that was radically profound in the way it looked at things.  The truth is that our happiness is often not what happens to us, but how we choose to perceive it and react to it.  The question was this…

in-what-was-was-your-worst-day,-your-best-day

It’s fascinating how re-framing something can change our world view.  I could go on, but I think for today, just spend some time thinking about how your worst day was actually your best day.

Off Grid Q&A Video

Recently shot this video on a Q&A session about off grid living.

 

 

Your Turn!

  • What should our next Q&A Video be on?

Purpose In Life – Mad Libs Edition

Time and time again I’ve shared how important it is to self-reflect and take time for introspection.  Taking my own advice, I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working on myself, trying to uncover understanding around my personal purpose and meaning in life.

Purpose In Life(1)

Large questions bubble to the surface when you live The Tiny Life; it’s inevitable.  Part of this journey for me is expressed in the form of posts to you all, because many of you are on a similar journey as I am.  I decided to try writing down questions that would get me thinking about these questions from a different viewpoint.

Fill out the Mad Libs and share in the comments!

  1. When its my last day on earth, I’ll look back and be thankful that I did ______.
  2. The biggest source of stress in my life is _____.
  3. When it comes to things I have to do, I hate doing ____, _______, and ______.
  4. I can’t stop smiling when I do ______.
  5. Before I die I want to _______.
  6. When I do _____ I look up from doing it and realize hours have past.
  7. I feel powerful when I _______
  8. If I could put one message on a billboard in Times Square it would be ____.
  9. Your 10 year old self be most disappointed to learn that you were doing ______.
  10. Success means ______ to me.

Your Turn!

  • Share your answers in the comments!
  • What question would you add?

Five Easy Minimalist Habits That Will Make Your Life Better

There are many things in this world that are competing for our attention.  We are bombarded with ads, over extended in our work duties, and have too much going on in our lives.  So today I thought I’d share 5 simple habits or tricks that can make life much better.

five easy hacks to a minamalist life

Turn Off Notifications On Your Phone

This was a big one for me.  Every time I looked at my phone there were little red badges all over the screen saying “look at me! You have things left undone!” It wasn’t healthy and when I considered turning off the notifications I was actually getting closer to my goals in life.  I’ve come to realize that email is a convenient way to organize other people’s priorities, not your own.  Every phone is different, but you can switch them off; then I began telling my friends, if you need to get in touch right away, call me.  My phone should work for me in the way I want it to, not to better server others.

Don’t check email or socials before bed or first thing in the morning

This was a tough one for me.  For my job, I have to monitor over 15 social media channels and it’s daunting.  Worse, spammers are always posting on my sites and pages because of the reach I’ve built, so it’s a constant war.  I have been tempted to remove my phone from the bedroom all together.

Cancel one thing on your calendar this week and do nothing!

We always overbook, we are always overstressed, and there will never be enough time in the day.  Look through your calendar and choose one thing and cancel it.  Take that time to just chill out, read a book, go get a coffee, or go for a walk.

If you see something you want in the store, wait.

If you’re going through a store and see something that interests you, instead of buying it right then, wait until you’re in that store next time.  More often than not I find that next time I see it in the store my desire for it will have disappeared or I will have forgotten about it all together.  If it’s really important to you or you truly do love it, what is the likelihood of you forgetting it?

Flip your hangers

Go into your closet and hang your hangers all in one direction, preferably in the direction that is most awkward to unhook.  Once you do that, you’ll be able to tell what things you actually wear and what you don’t.  Go through in spring, summer, winter and fall, then look what you haven’t touched in a year; those items will be a prime candidate for donation.

Your Turn!

  • What have been your easy habits that help you live a simpler life?
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