It’s National Simplicity Day. In the spirit of the name, we’ll cut to the chase and tell you where that comes from. As a CNBC article explains:
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler,” said Henry David Thoreau, an American author, environmentalist, abolitionist, and poet. He advocated a simpler life and getting back to basics, an idea that struck a chord with millions. Therefore, to commemorate his birth anniversary, July 12 is observed as the National Simplicity Day.
Now, realistically, not all of us have the luxury of going off the grid to live in the middle of the wilderness and write treaties about it. Even so, there is something to be said for embracing simplicity. After all, there are good reasons why KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) has been a mantra among marketers and executives for many, many years now.
So, in honor of National Simplicity Day, here are a few ways you can put your appreciation for such a philosophy into practice.
- Maintain gratitude lists. Each morning, take five minutes to write down five things you’re grateful for in a journal. It could be the support of a coworker, the love of your family, or the value of a strong cup of coffee at the top of your day. The point is, taking time to remind yourself that there are good things in your life is a simple way to frame your day from a positive perspective. No matter what happens afterward, you still have those five things. Another upside? Studies indicate the practice can improve your sleep.
- Listen to music. Experts and business leaders alike have been touting the benefits of music on focus, effort, and overall performance since WWII, when the UK’s “Music While You Work” program reportedly generated a 12-15 percent boost in factory productivity. Research is actually split on whether or not all those impacts are objectively true, but there is general acceptance of the idea that listening to music can profoundly impact mood. So even if you need quiet to get the job done, taking a moment to listen to your favorite tunes from time to time can shape your mood in positive ways. It’s a simple way to set the tone for the work ahead or recharge.
- Keep your to-do list short and sweet. Most of us know what it’s like to stare down the barrel of a sprawling, seemingly endless list of tasks that all feel mission-critical. In theory, it’s good to know where all the pieces are on the board, but research suggests that relying on lengthy to-do lists can actually decrease your overall productivity by creating the impression of a high volume of work and busyness without helping you feel accomplished. It’s advisable to keep your daily punch list SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (something we recommend for financial goals, as well). This small, simple step can leave you mentally better prepared to move the needle.
- Commit to random acts of kindness. Pay for the lunch of someone behind you in line. Compliment your colleague for exceptional writing in a recent report. Tell a stranger you really like their shoes. Take a moment – any moment – to make someone else feel good in an unexpected manner. Data suggests that such activity can help with anxiety and depression, improve resilience in the battle against chronic health issues, and relieve stress, as a starting point. And really, in today’s day and age, the world could do with a little more kindness – period.
These are all very simple ways to celebrate National Simplicity Day, but more than that, they’re basic steps you can take that can will improve your work and overall quality of life. How will you celebrate simply?
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