How to Streamline Your Life

Life can feel overwhelming, but with the right tools and habits you can reduce stress and chaos.
Life can feel overwhelming, but with the right tools and habits you can reduce stress and chaos.

There's just not enough time in the day. For every item you check off on your to-do list, three more pop up. On top of everything else, the technology you hoped would make life easier just seems to get in the way. What are you doing wrong?

Here's a little secret: Most of the time, technology alone can't solve all your problems. While there are plenty of gadgets and computer programs that can help you keep your life organized, you still have to do some of the work. If you're willing to take the time to learn these tools, you'll be able to take advantage of them. You can achieve the same results without using technology, but it requires a lot more work and discipline. Besides, engineers and developers worked hard to create tools designed to make your life easier. Why not make the most of them?

The first step to streamlining your life is to take a close look at your needs. Which activities seem to take the most time? Do you have trouble keeping up with appointments or meetings? Do you have a contact list a mile long? How often do you need to access information? Do you receive dozens of voice mails whenever you're away from work or home? Are you working in an occupation that requires you to stay in touch with your employer or coworkers?

Once you've answered these questions, you can take a hard look at what you need to stay on top of everything. For some people, a simple cell phone might suffice. But for others, it may seem like an entire suite of programs and gadgets might be required to meet their needs. It's important not to let yourself get overwhelmed -- often the answer is much simpler than you first imagine.

Before we take a look at the kinds of technology you can use to help streamline your life, let's look at some healthy behaviors that will provide the foundation for your new approach.