“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” – Confucius

Despite Confucius’ wisdom, it can be hard to bring things back to the basics in our increasingly complex world. We Google everything, research endless possibilities, find everything we need with a few taps of the keyboard, and we’re dealing with new information coming at us 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Sometimes too much choice can cost us valuable time, and money. It doesn’t have to be that hard.

1) Parenting. It seems to have gotten more complicated once we turned the word parent into a verb by adding the “ìng” to it. The more we read, the more confused we get. The best resources for raising our children are normally right in front of us: our own parents, or friends with older kids who seem to be heading down the right path. Take an “It takes a village” approach and trust your instincts, and those who you trust, to find the right way for you to parent your child.

2) Health. Check the top ten apps online, and I bet you’ll find over half of them are devoted to how to managing your fitness and overall health. Here’s what it comes down to: Exercising regularly is good for you. Is it hard to fit a workout in your packed schedule? Of course, it is. But if you have time to be active on social media, you have time to exercise.

3) Nutrition. There’s a new diet or food app out every day. Low carb, high fibre, low calories, no wheat…what hasn’t changed is that the closer we can get to eating a food in its natural state, the better it is for us. The more calories we take in, the more weight we’ll put on. Simplify your eating choices by cooking at home or ordering foods with all-natural or organic ingredients. Limit your “bad” food choices to be the exception, not the rule.

4) Finance. Banking seems to have gotten more complicated with a variety of options for credit cards, chequing accounts, savings options, but it doesn’t have to be complex. You can opt to “debankify” by choosing an institution that fits your needs, and doesn’t charge you for basic services. A no fee daily bank account, coupled with a no annual fee credit card, combined with rewards that are easy to cash in, can be your best option. And it isn’t hard to transfer over existing accounts and clean up your wallet — just ask. PC Financial’s chequing account will save you up to $200 a year compared with what the big banks offer, just on daily bank fees alone. Easy. Peasy.

5) Technology. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting the latest and greatest phones, TVs, tablets, computers, even watches, but before you wait overnight in line for the latest gadget, make sure you know your tech needs versus your tech wants. What do you need your computer to do? How important is it to have the latest phone? Isn’t one tablet enough in your home, and doesn’t the one you have already keep the kids entertained? Don’t treat technology like a solution looking for a problem; keep it the other way around.

6) Time Management. While online and digital scheduling is great on the go, make sure you have a central calendar system in your home, on paper, for an easy visual for the family to see if you’re being overbooked. It’s easy with kids’ sports or other extracurricular commitments to be overbooked, and to miss out on just enjoying life. Try to find some white space in your calendar.

This article first appeared in Huffington Post and can be found at this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/kathy-buckworth/simplify-your-life_b_5126238.html

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