Alyssa has studied psychology, philosophy, religion, and the arts. She loves sharing her thoughts, ideas, and papers with the world.
When people seek habits to make their life better, the lists all look the same: wake up early, drink water, exercise, make your bed. Cue the eye roll, I won't get into why you don't need to make your bed in this article.
What if you already do most of those things or you're looking for new and fresh ideas that you'd actually want to implement?
Those are the questions I tried to keep in mind as I was compiling this list. Ultimately, I decided on my personal five out-of-the-box-type habits that I thought would make other people's lives easier, physically and mentally.
- Accomplish three things every day.
- Add a little green to your home.
- Set aside time for reading.
- Learn to love chores.
- End your day thinking about three things you're grateful for.
1. Accomplish Three Things Every Day
As a busy mom and wife, I often feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done. I'm organized to a fault and I love creating to-do lists on index cards. I have a card for everything: a master to-do list, a yoga pose to-do list, a school to-do list, a writing to-do list. You get the idea. I have a lot of lists!
This can quickly get overwhelming, with new things added to each list daily. A few years ago, I started implementing my personal rule of three to prioritize and manage my pending tasks. This has made an incredible difference in my life.
Every morning while enjoying my coffee, I review my master to-do list. I look over each task and decide what needs my attention that day and what can wait. From there, I designate three tasks that must get done. No matter what, those three things get accomplished that day. This method keeps life running smoothly and prevents tasks from piling up. Oftentimes I find that my energy is so focused that I end up accomplishing more than what I originally set out to do.
Turn chaos into organization by implementing your own rule of three. With work obligations and children at home participating in virtual learning, this will help you focus your time and energy on the things that are most important. Each morning decide which three tasks you are going to tackle and then get started. Regardless of what life may throw your way, you can consider your day a success because you accomplished those three priorities.
2. Add a Little Green to Your Home
My husband and I bought our very first plant 12 years ago. It was a lucky bamboo we found at Meijer for $10. At the time, we lived in a little townhouse and he thought it would be a great addition, adding a little pop of color and life. Little did he know he would be creating a monster. Fast forward to present times and we still have that same bamboo plant, now split into several plants that we've kept and a few more we've given away. In addition to that, our house is filled with a variety of plants, so much so, that I'm actually running out of room for new ones. While I love getting out in the garden, I don't have the same magical touch with outdoor plants as I do with my houseplants.
Having plants inside offers many benefits. They help keep the air inside clean, reducing pollutants by absorbing toxins, and increasing humidity and oxygen levels. Plants are wonderful mood boosters, helping to reduce stress while increasing your focus and productivity. Caring for a plant can also bring a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. By the way, plants are rent-friendly. If you live in a place that doesn't allow for pets, get a plant instead!
If you have a brown thumb, no worries! There are a variety of plants that are not fussy and easy to take care of. I always recommend pothos varieties to family and friends who don't feel like they are plant-friendly folks. Pothos plants are easy going and don't require a lot of attention to thrive. However, always do your research before buying a plant. Make sure you have the proper environment and time required to care for it.
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3. Set Aside Time for Reading
Growing up, there was nothing more I wanted to do than lose myself in the world of a good book. As an adult I still love to read, but responsibilities and everyday life scream out for attention and I just don't have the time. Over the years, I've realized it's all about prioritization and convenience. Using technology to my advantage, I've found a way to still fit in my beloved activity.
If you have a library card, you can download the free OverDrive app and check out books from the convenience of your phone. There are no fees and no hassles. Bonus points if you have multiple library cards! Each library is a little different, but they all offer a variety of ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines. You can put titles on hold and request titles for your library to purchase. Recently the app was updated to make holds more convenient. Instead of automatically checking out a title to you when it becomes available, the app will notify you when the title is available. You can choose to check it out immediately or postpone it for a future date without losing your place in line.
Reading keeps your mind sharp and helps you enhance your vocabulary, whether you enjoy a juicy fiction novel or want to learn something new with a non-fiction selection. If reading isn't your thing, try an audiobook. You can listen while you go for a walk or during your commute to work. What's better than a free multitasking opportunity? Not only will this app save you money, but it will also help you stimulate your brain.
This app has been my saving grace. After I tuck my son in for the night, I get myself ready for bed. Then I read a chapter or three before I fall asleep. I don't have to worry about visiting the library, due dates, or trying to finagle with a flashlight and a physical book. I just pull my book up on the app and read. While it takes me longer to finish a book nowadays, I'm happy with the fact that I can at least fit in one of my favorite activities.
4. Learn to Love Chores
A few years ago at a family Christmas party, I was engaging in a conversation about household chores. How we got on this topic, I can no longer recall, but I remember sharing that washing dishes was my least favorite activity. My husband's grandma responded by telling me that she enjoyed the peacefulness that washing dishes brings. "No one bothers you when you are doing them," she said. I agreed with her sentiment and thought about it on our way home. That small piece of conversation helped me change my perspective on the more mundane things in life.
I started thinking about how I could make the everyday tasks more enjoyable. Now, I don't mind doing the dishes because I know it's my time to catch up on my YouTube watch list. When I need to clean, I put on one of my Spotify playlists. Music makes any activity instantly more fun.
This is a great habit for everyone to cultivate. Pairing an enjoyable activity with one that is dreaded is the ultimate multitasking life hack. You get to have a little fun and the chores get done. You might even find yourself looking forward to the chores simply because you also get to engage in an activity that you enjoy.
5. End Your Day With Three Things You're Grateful For
No habit list is complete without discussing one of the most powerful practices: gratitude. Cultivating a daily habit of gratitude is truly life-changing, and I know that from experience. Several years ago, I was in a tough spot. I won't get into the nitty-gritty details, but I was dealing with past and present emotions. Suffice it to say, my life was at a crossroads. I came across a book that helped me develop my own gratitude practice. Not only did it allow me to get rid of the anger I was holding onto, but it also helped me realize that I was in control of my own happiness. Learning to appreciate all the things in my life I had been taking for granted and focusing on being more aware of the present moment, allowed me to put everything in perspective and shift my mindset. It seems small, but doing this has had a major impact on my life.
A daily practice of gratitude goes beyond generic thank-yous and basic manners. It's about being appreciative of everything and everyone in your life; and it reminds you that the simplest things are often the most important. Gratitude makes the good times that much greater and helps get you through life's inevitable challenges. It will help you develop a better mindset, give you perspective, and if you allow it, will change your life.
A simple way of getting started is by ending your day with the three things you are most grateful for or the three things you enjoyed the most. What went right? What was great about the day? Who in your life are you most thankful for? It can be anyone or anything; something as simple as an amazing cup of coffee or just being alive to bigger accomplishments like nailing an interview or scoring a promotion. You can write them down or just think about them before turning in for the night. This is a powerful habit everyone should create.
© 2020 Alyssa
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on September 09, 2020:
Thank you, Eric. No, it is not always easy, but if you work at it, it is achievable.
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on September 09, 2020:
Thank you, Bill! Happy Wednesday! :)
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 09, 2020:
A marvelous list. I am working on getting back to enjoying chores, not always easy.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 09, 2020:
It's pretty hard to argue with this list, so I won't even try. I should have died fourteen years ago, so gratitude is pretty easy for me these days....and today I am grateful for you!
Happy Wednesday, my friend!