Whether it’s taking fruit to work, being polite to rude strangers or taking up skinny-dipping, here’s a century of ways to make life better, with little effort involved …

  1. Exercise on a Monday night (nothing fun happens on a Monday night right?)
  2. On the fence about a purchase? Wait 72 hours before you buy it.
  3. Bring fruit to work for lunch.
  4. Consider going down to working four days a week. It’s likely a disproportionate amount of your fifth day’s work is taxed anyway, so you’ll lose way less than a fifth of your take-home pay.
  5. Everyone has an emotional blind spot when they fight. Work out what yours is, and remember it.
  6. If you have a garden or space under good sunlight, plant spring bulbs, even if they’re just in a pot.
  7. Send a voice note instead of a text; they sound like personal mini podcasts.
  8. Keep a bird feeder by a window, so you can watch birds come and go.
  9. Rather than drink, bring ice to house parties (there’s never enough).
  10. Get the mood lighting right: turn off the overhead one and turn on lamps instead (but turn off when you leave the room).
  11. Sharpen your knives to make cooking faster and easier
  12. Feeling sluggish at work? Try the Pomodoro technique: 25 minutes on, five-minute break, and repeat.
  13. Buy a blender and use it to finely chop onions (it saves on time and tears).
  14. If you have children, keep their drawings and paintings. Put the best ones in frames.
  15. Set aside 10 minutes a day to do something you really enjoy – be it reading a book or playing games.
  16. Don’t be particular about how to stack the dishwasher.
  17. Reuse all plastic bags – even bread bags. Much of the packaging you can’t reuse can be taken to larger branches of supermarkets for recycling.
  18. Take a photo of the tag you are given when leaving your coat in a cloakroom.
  19. Can’t sleep? Try a relaxing soak with lavender bath oil before bed.
  20. Add the milk at least one minute after the tea has brewed.
  21. Laugh shamelessly at your own jokes.
  22. If you go out drinking, leave a pint of water and a small healthy snack (like a sandwich) next to your bed to eat before sleeping to help prevent a hangover.
  23. Start a Saturday morning with some peaceful music – it sets the tone for a calm weekend.
  24. Set time limits for your apps to stop you being on them all day. Here’s a guide for Android phones and one for Apple phones.
  25. If possible, take the stairs.
  26. If you are accepting that you might miss the next train, you won’t be as disappointed if it is late or doesn’t show up.
  27. Try to reduce the frequency that you eat meat.
  28. Be polite to rude strangers – it’s oddly thrilling.
  29. Ask questions, and listen to the answers.
  30. Connect with nature: stand outside barefoot for a few minutes – even when it’s cold.
  31. Join your local library – and use it. Find yours here.
  32. Go for a walk without your phone.
  33. Eat indulgent things, we can’t be dieting constantly.
  34. Stretch in the morning after waking up and the evening before sleep.
  35. If you’re going less than a mile, walk or cycle. About half of car journeys are under two miles, yet these create more pollution than longer journeys as the engine isn’t warmed up yet.
  36. Sleep with your phone turned off in a different room (and buy an alarm clock).
  37. Send postcards from your holidays. Send them even if you’re not on holiday.
  38. Instead of buying new shoes, get old ones resoled and buy new laces.
  39. Buy a plant. Think you’ll kill it? Buy a fake one.
  40. Don’t have social media apps on your phone.
  41. If you find an item of clothing you love and are certain you will wear for ever, buy three.
  42. Try taking a cold shower (30 seconds to two minutes) before your hot one. It’s good for your health – both physically and mental.
  43. Text to say thank you.
  44. Read a poem every day. Keep a compendium, such as A Poem for Every Day of the Year, by your bed.
  45. Take out your headphones when walking – listen to the world.
  46. Buy secondhand.
  47. Shop local and from independant shops.
  48. Learn how to floss properly.
  49. If something in the world is making you angry, write (politely) to your MP – they will read it.
  50. Say hello to your neighbours.
  51. Learn the basics of repairing your clothes.
  52. Bring something – wine, flowers – to a dinner/birthday party, even if they say not to.
  53. Learn the names of 10 trees.
  54. Call an old friend out of the blue.
  55. Every so often, search your email for the word “unsubscribe” and then use it on as many as you can.
  56. Eat dessert.
  57. Make something from scratch. Works best if it’s something you’d normally buy, such as clothes or a bag.
  58. Go to bed earlier – but don’t take your phone with you.
  59. Volunteer. ​​Go to gov.uk/government/get-involved for ideas.
  60. Dry your cutlery with a cloth (it keeps it shiny).
  61. Instead of buying a morning coffee, set up a daily transfer of £2 from a current into a savings account and forget about it. Use it to treat yourself to something different later.
  62. Don’t save things for “best”. Wear them – enjoy them.
  63. Sing!
  64. Think about your posture: Stand up straight and roll your shoulders back.
  65. Hang your clothes up. Ideally on non-wire hangers (it’s better for them).
  66. Skinny-dip with friends.
  67. Switch your phone off on holiday (or at least delete your work email app).
  68. Always use freshly ground pepper.
  69. Thank someone who changed your life.
  70. Respect your youngers.
  71. Keep your keys in the same place.
  72. Ditch the plastic cartons and find a milkman – The Modern Milkman has a comprehensive list.
  73. Rent rather than buy a suit/dress for that forthcoming wedding (even if it’s your own).
  74. Always book an extra day off after a holiday.
  75. Ignore the algorithm – listen to music outside your usual taste.
  76. Mute or leave a WhatsApp group chat.
  77. Cook something you’ve never attempted before.
  78. Join a local litter-picking group.
  79. Handwash that thing you’ve never cleaned.
  80. Learn the art of napping effectively.
  81. Learn how to breathe deeply: in through the nose, out through the mouth, making the exhale longer than the inhale and breathing deep into your stomach, not your upper chest.
  82. Buy a bike and use it. Learn how to repair it, too.
  83. Politely decline invitations if you don’t want to go.
  84. If you go to events or gatherings, have an exit strategy.
  85. If in doubt, add more cheese.
  86. Don’t allow phones during dinner, if you eat with others, talk to them instead.
  87. Do that one thing you’ve been putting off.
  88. Give compliments widely, freely and genuinely.
  89. Set up an affordable standing order to a charity.
  90. Keep a book in your bag to read when you have a spare moment instead of playing on your phone.
  91. Listen to the albums you loved as a teenager.
  92. Make a friend from a different generation.
  93. Staying over at a friend’s place? Strip the bed for them in the morning.
  94. For instant cheer, wear yellow.
  95. Learn to accept failure, then fail faster.
  96. Only do your washing once a week maximum – it saves money, water and makes your clothes last longer.
  97. Clean your keyboard.
  98. Learn some basic phrases from a foreign language – try duolingo to get started.
  99. If something isn’t useful, or beautiful consider getting rid of it to declutter your home.
  100. Just vibe.


Source: The Guardian. Photo: Julia Avamotive