Techniques for simplifying life


Check your key ring. Keys are responsibilities. Consider each one; do you really need it? Do you use it often enough to justify its presence? If not, remove it. Be ruthless.

My key ring has four keys, although one could be removed since it isn't used daily. That's a reasonable number of keys.


When was the last time you spent a day without television, radio, or recorded music? Try it for a day. Then try it for a week.


Unplug it. With the exception of the weather and traffic reports, both of which can usually be obtained elsewhere, television shows extremely little that directly affects daily life. Go without for a while and see how much time you regain.


It is in fact legal to simultaneously turn off both your answering machine and the phone's bell.


The chances are low that you would lose friends if you didn't immediately answer email or instant messages. Allow yourself a small, fixed amount of time per week to do your Internet work.


No media, no phone, no machines at all. A cold glass of iced tea, a book, a chair, a sunny window.


Why wait for your car to break down? Why pay for fuel and insurance? Trade it in for a bicycle. If this isn't practical, ask yourself why. Then make it be so.

Junk mail

The best way to avoid it is never to get it. Notify organizations that you do business with that they are not to sell your personal information. This is especially important with catalog sales and magazines. Do the same when you order gifts; don't spam friends.

Online advertising

Filter it. Use Privoxy or equivalent software, or remap offending sites in your hosts file.


Do only one thing at a time. While you wash dishes, do not listen to the radio. While you listen to the radio, do not fold laundry. Give each act your full attention.

Last updated 23 January 2002
All contents ©2002 Mark L. Irons