Simple living ideas and the divorce lawer. We hear a lot these days about living more simply, getting back to basics, not being part of the rat race, to take part in the experience of our own lives, and to be present. Well, that is a lot easier said that done when we have a family, our case load, needy clients, staff issues, and other lawyers to deal with.
So, where can we begin with all of these balls in the air?
These are the top 10 best ideas that we have come up with. We hope you can find them useful in your own life and law practice.
10 minutes a day to de-clutter your life and keep things beautiful? I think so. The problem with clutter is that it sneaks up on us and can become overwhelming. One of the most common simple living ideas is to de-clutter our home, office, desk, closets, and any other physical area of your life. This results in room to breathe, feeling happier, and easier spaces to clean. I find that since I have done this, I have way more time on my hands and I enjoy the physical spaces in which I live a lot more. Of course, as time moves on, I slip a bit here and there, and then add that 10 minutes a day to my routine until all is beautiful again.
How do I start with this? I literally spend 5 to 10 minutes a day with something as small as a desk drawer and go from there.
The more time I spend outside (and, in particular, in nature) the better. When being outside is not possible, I spend time near a window. I also sleep with my window slightly cracked so I can hear the early morning birds sing.
I find that when I commute by bike or by walking, I am in greater touch with everything around me. I actually experience my days rather than have them just blow by me. Although I live on the west coast of Canada and this means the weather is fairly temperate (even on rainy days being outside is doable and for me, enjoyable and refreshing), even in the chillier climates I have lived in there has a great benefit to being outside. If you don’t commute by bicycle or by walking, an idea is to park a little ways away from your destination.
Another of the simple living ideas? It is very simple. It is also probably the most challenging. Don’t use consumer credit ever. Accomplishing this will have a profound effect on your life and well-being. I can’t stress it enough.
Even though I am probably the most extroverted and social person I know, I still wake up each day (mostly at 5 am) with at least an early morning hour of quiet, contemplation, writing, and relaxation. I call this my power hour(s). It is time I use to meditate, write in my journal, or write an article like this one. It makes me feel like I am experiencing the life in which I live. Of all the simple living ideas, it is probably, next to not using consumer credit, the most powerful. Maybe your time to spend alone and in contemplation is in the evening. The point is to have the quiet contemplation time.
Only buy it if you really love it, or will use it a lot. Before I committed to living life with simple living ideas in mind, I have, in the past, bought cars, original art, computer equipment, furniture, and other items without giving it at all much thought. This was before I incorporated simple living ideas into my life. With a ton of those purchases, I have not only had to live with the significant effect of how much they cost, I have also cluttered up my life with the items. A ton of these items I never kept and just move along when I got bored of them.
The 30 Day Rule:
Now, if I really want something, I must really really want it before I buy it. I first wait until I actually have the money (in and of itself a huge behaviour change). I then wait 30 days and diarize it (I do with my daughter too) and then decide if I really want it then. I also decide and think about what it will be like to live with that item in my home or office. I also imagine it as an old item and think about whether or not it will have the same appeal. These methods all cause me to hesitate before buying. This saves me money and it saves me having to worry about clutter adding up in our home yet again.
I am one of those people that gets a lot done in a day. People often ask me how I do it. Before, I used to get a lot done because I madly rushed from one thing to another. Now, I don’t do things that way. The real thing is that I don’t watch television at all. Although I have gotten into the odd Netflix series, I have not watched cable television itself for many years. I think that even if a person watches an hour or two a day that they spend so much of their waking time on nothing. Commercials are for the brain dead. This is one of the simple living ideas that saves oodles of time for real living.
Eat a healthy simple lunch at the office. I used to eat lunch out every day. It used to take up an enormous amount of my time (and money). A lot of the time it was not to socialize or have fun, but only to “feed” my belly.
Now I have lunch at work. It is one of the healthier simple living ideas because I make a meal-sized awesome salad in our small work kitchen. I don’t waste a huge amount of time going to a restaurant. At the same time, if I want to enjoy lunch with a friend or with a great book I do that. I make lunch an event. The thing is that if I go out for lunch now it is on purpose and for a reason of enjoyment or networking rather than just filling up.
At work for lunch I continually recycle a few simple, healthy meals. This way I don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about what I am eating, going to eat, or want to eat. Its one of hte simple living ideas that makes life simpler, healthier, and more satisfying.
When I first became a lawyer (before I got swept up in the consumer culture and keeping up with the Joneses so to speak) I always took a couple of holidays per year to warm and sunny places during the time it was not so warm and sunny where I lived. I always found these holidays rejuvenating, fun, and that they had the effect of reducing my experience of the doldrums of the dark winter days.
A number of the senior lawyers I worked with could not figure out how I could afford to take such luxuries. The thing is, that I had no car, lived with roommates, and purchased almost no consumer items. I had no car payments, lease payments or other ongoing obligations. The holidays I paid for were well within my budget. I earned a fraction of the income compared to what I earn now and yet holidays like this are farther from me and experienced by me way less often.
Something to think about right?
Stay away from leased vehicles or cars bought on credit. They are killers on the finances.
I am now working on undoing the payments I created, making my life simpler, and remembering not to use consumer credit again ever.
One example of the many dumb things I have done with money is leased my small law firm’s smart car. This is a car I could have bought used for, like, $7,000. Instead I leased a brand new one and in the past number of years, I have spent just shy of $20,000 to lease it. Now the lease is about to expire and in order for me to buy it out, it will cost me another $9,000. Not the cleverest financial decision made that is for sure.
That extra money would do a lot over the course of the year to contribute to a relaxing vacation. Or, put another way, how many hours have I spent at the office to spend for that hunk of metal?
Written by Val Hemminger, divorce lawyer
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Val has created this website to share with her colleagues. She is not suggesting, by any means, that she is the best divorce lawyer out there. She is, however, suggesting that she is the best divorce lawyer that she herself can be. Feel free to share anything you find useful.