Modern life is complicated. But it doesn’t have to be stressful.

Instead of succumbing to the clutter, complexity and stress that our hectic lives can bring, devote a little time to building a more efficient and tranquil life.

 De-clutter

Do you want to own possessions, or be owned by possessions? The more stuff you have, the more stuff you must store, clean and maintain. Excess clutter means more cleaning, more time spent tidying – and you may find it harder to find homes for your belongings.

With less clutter you will have more room to store the things you love, and those favoured possessions will no longer get lost amongst everything else.

Reducing clutter doesn’t have to involve days of work. You could just do a little at a time. Pick a drawer or a shelf and start filling the bin. Anything valuable can go to a charity shop – or eBay.

Try to avoid letting clutter enter your house. Always ask yourself whether today’s purchase is just tomorrow’s clutter.

If you want to go full-on with a total de-clutter, check out the slightly bonkers phenomenon ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ by Marie Kondo. She will encourage you to ask whether each possession brings you joy. Anything that fails the joy test should be sold, binned or given away.

Delegate

Your time is precious. As are you. So it’s important to claw back a little time wherever you can, and make sure that you’re not the martyr that does all the cooking, tidying and housework. If you suspect you might have become the family dogsbody, write a list of all the jobs you currently manage. Compare this with the contributions made by the rest of your family.

If you discover that your list is unfairly weighted, then it’s time to delegate. This might mean getting the kids to help with the washing up or the laundry, or asking your spouse to take over some of the admin like paying bills and arranging holidays. Your family may resist these changes. And that’s fine. But you must stand firm and remind your family that everyone has a role to play and nobody is entitled to a free ride!

And if budgets allow, consider getting professional help with things like cleaning, laundry and DIY. A little bit of assistance can make a huge difference to your workload and, consequently, your stress levels.

Automate

Tired of repeating the same tasks every month? Is there any way to automate the job? For example, you might set up Direct Debits and standing orders to manage your money. Use Amazon’s Subscribe & Save service to automatically order essentials like nappies and pet food. Use Dropbox on your phone and computer to automatically backup your pictures. Whenever you cook something like chilli or bolognaise, cook double (or triple) what you need and freeze the leftovers.

Every bit of energy you put into delegating, sorting and automating will repay you with less work, less stress and more time to enjoy life.