Every person views a simple life differently. For me, achieving simplicity means eliminating the unnecessary, choosing serenity over chaos, and spending time on what’s important in my life—identifying what’s important and getting rid of everything else.
But, achieving simplicity is a bit more complicated than that. We suggest picking one of the areas below and working through each of them as you feel comfortable.
“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify.” — Henry David Thoreau
Prepare to Simplify by Knowing Your Priorities
What are your priorities? Make a list of the top 4 to 5 things most important to you. This will help you know where to start and keep you focused.
Where is your time committed? Make a list of everything you do from the time you get up to the time you go to sleep. Be sure to include activities and commitments outside of work. Which are the most valuable to you? Which are most aligned with your priorities? Drop what you can and redesign your day to focus on what matters most.
Now that you have more free time, spend it with the ones you love, make time for self-care, eat and drive more slowly, stay present, and do something creative. All of these things are healthier – both physically and mentally.
Simplifying Work and Home Tasks
If your job is like most people’s, there are a million things on your to-do list that were all due yesterday. So rather than plowing your way through all of it and leaving each day feeling like you didn’t succeed, 4 D your way through the list.
Create systems and routines for mail, paperwork, and housework to help you stay streamlined.
Each day, make a list of the three most important things you need to do. When those are done, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something during the day.
Create an easy-to-maintain yard. Minimizing the lawn is a good place to start as a lawn takes tons of maintenance and water. If planting a garden, use native plants and mulch, as weeding is usually the biggest maintenance task.
Use smart technology to automate your home. If it can be simplified, there is a skill, app, or automation for it… most of the time.
First, and hardest for many people, saying no. By saying no, you eliminate additional tasks or work that don’t add value before they ever get added to your list.
Create a standard response for every request. For example, “I’ll get back to you soon.” or “I’ll have to check my schedule and get back to you on that.”
Set a schedule for electronic communication and stick to it. Limiting your time on social media and email helps you achieve simplicity and eliminates distractions.
Do the same for other forms of mass media consumption. You might discover you have time to read a book!
Focus on one task at a time. Single-tasking is the best way to increase happiness and lower stress.
Aka decluttering! Start with large items and work towards the smaller ones. Go one room at a time to keep from getting overwhelmed. We’ve got lots of great decluttering tips for you!
Keep your space tidy by setting up routines and limiting your spending habits.
Simplifying Your Digital Space
So much of what we do happens electronically. That can be a good thing, but a cluttered computer can be as stressful and time-wasting as a cluttered physical space. Declutter your digital space to help simplify your life.
Manage your email, so it doesn’t back up.
Simplify or eliminate RSS feeds.
Automate income, savings, and bill payments wherever possible.
For many people, figuring out what to make for dinner each night can be stressful. So they default to dining out and fast food.
Instead, set up a weekly menu of easy recipes and buy everything you’ll need to make them during your weekly grocery trip. This will help you eat healthier and, when combined with exercise, will help you achieve greater health.
Which of these tips to simplify your life and achieve simplicity did you find most helpful?