WE are leading increasingly busy lives. Stress 24/7 is now the norm.

So all of us need to take stock and think about what we can do to alleviate the day-to-day pressures that engulf us.

One way is to declutter our lifestyles. We must consider what are the priorities. What are the things we have to do now as opposed to the things we can leave for tomorrow?

I made a note earlier this week of all the things I had to do and it couldn’t have been clearer or simpler.

It made life so much easier and stress-free. Planning ahead after considering all the options is definitely the answer.

Although, if I’m honest, I have a nagging doubt that I may have forgotten something, which may have been important, around the Thursday mark. No matter, I’m sure my better half will remind me.

Aah! That’s it. Creosote the fence. See the system’s working already. Although it could have been Great Aunt Maude’s 85th birthday. I’ll have to check my details again.

Like many people it’s also the time to look at the old finances. I see I’ve slightly overspent at Christmas. And I’m being economical with the word ‘slightly’.

I know I need to set aside a penny or two for rises in my household bills. Good old council tax, water rates and energy bills.

I’ve also got to look at various insurances and see if I can lower the payments.

I did this last year and got distracted by a cat playing the piano on YouTube. I really should have let it go after the 15th viewing.

But this year, it’s the new me. I will be paying attention at all times. Concentration is the key. Although, that video of dogs with funny hats on has to be worth a look.

My advice is also to spend some time away from your smart phone. It isn’t part of your hand. You can put it down.

There’s so much pressure to find out what’s going on every single second of the day. Social media is a way of life.

But just turn your machines off and look up. And lo and behold, there are people sitting next to you. That’s right, it’s your family. Talk to them. No, not on the phone. Have a conversation. You never know you might learn something.

You might also find you’ve been sitting in the wrong house and hadn’t realised it.

There’s also the gogglebox. TV viewing does take up a lot of time. The television is now also the size of a small car. Why is it so big and when did it also become smart?

One of the worst offenders at clogging modern lives is the dreaded spam. And no, I’m not talking about the tinned luncheon meat, which seems to get the same reaction as Marmite. You either love it or you hate it.

This spam arrives in the shape of an unwanted email and appears to grow like Japanese Knotweed.

Before you know it you’re looking at hundreds of unnecessary emails every day. It makes you nostalgic for the days when you received tons of junk mail through the post.

We also have an array of gadgets, which allegedly make our lives easier.

I never buy the cheapest of anything, but neither do I buy the most expensive. But I still end up with machines that pack up as soon as the warranty expires.

I’ve mentioned my battles with the machines before, but since then I’ve had a new kettle, fridge freezer and washing machine.

The fridge freezer decided it had had enough a few days before I was due to go into hospital for an operation that would keep me off work for two weeks. I quickly ordered a new one and did a late-night shop to fill it just hours before my operation.

And my washing machine came to a grinding halt on Christmas Day. So there was no way of getting a replacement brought in for several days.

I also spent time going round a large superstore in the wee small hours after the kettle gave up.

But I’m not getting stressed about it. I’ve written a list and I’m keeping to it. Those days of worrying over little things have gone.

Although I can now hear my better half talking about Valentine’s Day. Surely that wasn’t this week? How could I forget?

Perhaps the decluttering went a bit too far. Obviously, I had to make room for the football results and it must have got missed off the list.

It may be I have to go back to just trawling through things for as long as it takes.

The worst thing would be if I happened to forget to write my next column.

(Cue outpouring of national grief.)