How to simplify your life? Use the 10-year test

This question originally appeared on Quora: How can I make my life simpler? Answer by Nelson Wang, entrepreneur, writer, ten years in technology and founder of CEO Lifestyle .

It took me thirty years to realize a really important lesson in life: Simple is good.

There are 3 key takeaways I’ve learned in living a simple life including:

  • Less stuff is better. Stuff can weigh you down.
  • Living a simple life gives you more time for the important things.
  • Eating simply can dramatically improve your health.

Here are the top 12 ways I’ve been able to live a simple life:

1. Simplify your meals and buy a blender: I used to make a different breakfast every week. One week it would be breakfast burritos, the next week it would be egg muffins. It took a lot of prep work, cooking time and dish washing. So what did I do? I bought a nutribullet and now I drink a vegetable and fruit smoothie every morning. After 30 years, I’m finally in the best shape of my life and I save a ton of time and stress every morning.

2. Every year, clean out your house: Are you using it? If not, toss it out. The less clutter you have, the better.

3. Be present in the moment: When you do something, really focus on the task at hand and be present. For example, when someone is talking to you, don’t work on your computer at the same time. Look at them, really listen and engage with them. Try it—you’ll see how awesome of an experience that is.

4. Use your calendar on your smartphone: You’re going to have a million things to do. If you put it into your mental checklist, chances are you’ll forget it. So put it on your calendar!

5. Learn to say no: You can’t do everything. Find out what’s really important to you and prioritize those activities.

6. Arrive for your flight two hours ahead of time: Trust me on this one. After flying to 50 cities in one year, this will reduce your stress a ton!

7. Do more of what makes you happy: Life’s short. Don’t spend it living someone else’s life. For example, every week, I dedicate two hours of time to write for my blog. Someone once asked me, why do you both to write about motivation? How are you going to make money on that? I said I didn’t know but that I did it because it made me happy.

8. Slow down: When you take your time, you’re more likely to enjoy the moment.

9. Take an hour to unsubscribe to all the junk mail in your email: Having to delete junk email every day is a colossal waste of time.

10. Create an exercise routine: P90X, Insanity, Running, SoulCycle, Swimming, Walking to work—whatever it might be, make sure you keep exercising to stay healthy!

11. Use the 10 year test: Feeling stressed about something that just happened. Use the 10 year test. Ask yourself, will this matter in 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years? If it won’t, you need to stop stressing out about it. Move forward.

12. Learn to let go and to move on: You can’t change the past. It’s time to move on.

Remember: Simple is good!

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