Put the Simple Back in Life

Cellular phones, fax machines, computers, and voice mail. They're all supposed to make it easier for a guy to do what a guy's got to do.

All too often, though, our so-called digital assistants seem to conspire instead to push the pace of life past break-neck speed. Sometimes, what we need is less, not more. Less can be a pretty hard thing to come by these days, though, so here are 10 tips for putting the simple back in your life.

Save Cell-Phone Calls for Parking Lots
You can give yourself some peace while driving by asking callers to wait for a call back once you've reached a spot where it's safe to talk.

Help Those Who Matter Most
Much as we'd like to save the world, the place to start is with our loved ones. Learn to say "no" when the call for help comes from coworkers or friends of friends.

Volunteer for Small Groups
You'll get a lot more done working with one or two others than joining a committee that gets bogged down in protocol.

Let Subordinates Do Their Jobs
Put away that "if you want it done right" attitude, and let them do their jobs—helping you do yours.

Box and Label Old Papers
If you're not sure why you'd ever want it but can't part with it now, label the box with today's date. After a year has passed, throw it way without looking inside. On the other hand, if it's taxes, warranties, or something else important, label it with today's date and "keep."

Pick Up After Yourself for Better Sex
Spend a week observing what you do that she has to clean up after, and make amends. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

Take Advantage of Automatic Debit Opportunities
Many of the companies that send you monthly bills would be delighted to debit your checking account automatically. It may feel like loss of control, but consider what your hourly wage is for the unpleasant task of paying bills.

Buy Neutral-Colored Clothes
If you stick to grays, dark blues, and browns that mix well, you can get by with less clothing.

Arrange to Commute Off Rush Hour
Talk to your supervisor about coming in and leaving an hour earlier. You'll save as much peace of mind as you save time.

Exercise Regularly
A moderately intense aerobic workout—one that takes you out of reach of the phone—lets the day's details float by with relaxing detachment. When you finish, they'll somehow seem less worrisome, and life will start to put on a simple face.


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