Get control of your time and energy: Why simplifying is the best thing you can do

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How do you know where you are going if you don't know where you are?

How do you know what you are supposed to be doing if you are not listening?

There is a huge problem that plagues our culture. It's called consumerism.

Everyday we wake up, we are immediately being marketed to. From the kind of car we drive, to the type of coffee we like to drink, we all have our go to's. We listen to certain music, we eat at certain restaurants. We sit in the same spots all the time.

We are creatures of habit, comfort, and convenience. We like what we like, but we think we need more. If something new comes out, we research it, we do price comparisons, we talk to our friends or coworkers about it, we want it, we need it, we buy it.

That's us. That's what we have become.

It's killing us inside, and we don't even know it.

Consumerism is an economic theory that says, a greater level of consumption is beneficial to the consumer.

I have a better theory that says, by consuming less, your quality of life will benefit exponentially.

How is that even possible. How does your life improve if you consume less, don't you have to spend money to have fun or buy things to make yourself feel better.

The answer is NO.

There was a period of time for me when I was younger (Age 18-28) where I spared myself nothing. I bought whatever I wanted, I didn't save money, and somehow I found that I still wasn't satisfied. As soon as I bought a gaming system, a new one would come out and be much better.

I would by bass guitars, and bicycles, only to find out there was a newer one out just around the corner.

I would buy new exercise equipment because I thought somehow, this was the year that I as going to get in shape, and that piece of equipment was my key to success.

It was my own fault, and keeping up with the Jones was taking its toll on me. I had been fooled by marketing, and my own foolishness.

After all that I still found myself overweight, in debt, and still wanting more.


We spread ourselves way to thin

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With our lives being so stretched with things to do.

Wake up, make breakfast or skip it, get the kids ready, take the kids to school, go to work, eat fast food lunch, work more, pick kids up, take kids to practice, pick up kids, make dinner or get fast food, get kids to do homework, get kids ready for bed, clean the house, do the laundry, PASS OUT. Start over.

Whoa, that’s exhausting.

Your life may or may not look like this. Either way there is a lot going on.

We bounce from one thing to the next, and no wonder we have a problem. We are so caught up in the rat race that we can’t help but do what they system has designed us to do.

Spend money, get fat, stay busy, and feel exhausted.


Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”
- Romans 12:2

Simplify

There is a better way, it is more intentional and focused. It requires discipline and structure, but you can do it.

It’s called creating a Baseline. By definition a baseline is a starting point or minimum used for comparison.

This means that you can always come back to this when things get crazy or out of control and you are feeling a bit overwhelmed. It is the point at which you can rest and you feel like you are doing everything right.

This baseline consists of 4 blocks:

  • Faith – You have to be praying and reading the bible, or something similar (This doesn’t have to be for hours upon hours like some will tell you, or an hour long journal session. It can be 5 minutes. Quality over quantity.)
    • I like to read a proverb right before working out, and then think about it the whole time. That’s how you learn and apply.
  • Family – You have to be spend time with my family. Not in front of a screen or at a movie, but quality time. Playing a game, reading a book, or playing outside in the snow.
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  • Finance – You have to have a budget, I have found that when my life feels out of control…my wallet general feels the same way. Put it in check, get on a budget, and stick to it.

 

  • Fitness/Recreation – Once again, and this is imperative, if you feel awful, it’s probably because you are not exercising or doing something exciting. I promise you that when you exercise, your mind feels better. When your mind feels better, you feel better about yourself. When you feel better about yourself, you tend to treat others better. It’s a cycle, and you want to stay in that cycle.

It is easy to get caught up in the “stuff” of life and take your focus off of what is really important.

One of the greatest times of my life, when I first discovered this Baseline, was when I was in Navy Bootcamp.

I was being challenged, and had to learn a whole lot. I was exercising constantly, spent time writing letters to family and friends, and spent about 5 minutes every night before lights out reading the book of Psalms.

For you, it might look a little different, but the 4 elements above are what will help you get through anything.

You can do 3 of the 4 before anyone is awake if you learn how to Bulletproof your morning.


Wake up Early

I can’t stress enough how much waking up early has helped me in my life. It’s not just me that says this though.

Read this Science based article from Entrepreneur.com, or this one from Business insider about a Navy SEAL’s morning routine.

There isn’t a secret to it, you just have to get your butt out of bed.

You know when you don’t get up. You know when you just lay there, you know when you hit the snooze and fade in and out of sleep. At that point, you are making your choice. Get up, and get moving, exercise right away.

You will thank yourself later in the day. Sure, you might be tired, and that means you need to go to bed. Then the next day you will get up early. It will be easier.


Putting it all together

When you feel like garbage, you spend money, get fat, hate your life, and start being more self-focused.

It inhibits your quality of life.

Establish a Baseline, a starting point, a ground zero, that has these 4 elements:

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Finance
  • Fitness

That way, when you start to your life getting away from you, it will be easier to reign it all in and say to yourself, “Am I doing what I need to be doing to be my best for myself, my family, and others around me”

 

Now, go and win.

Stephen