Top 10 Ways to Simplify Your Life
Most of us want to lead lives that are simpler and easier than the ones that we’re currently mired in. We want to spend less time at work and less time stressing out about things. We want to spend more time with our families and friends. We want more time for ourselves and the projects that interest us. But we don’t know how to go about simplifying things in a busy modern world that not only has a lot of demands but also offers us a lot of choices for things we can do with our time. It’s tough to get back to the basics and to keep things simple but it’s really not that hard to at least get started on a path to a simpler life.
Here are the top ten ways to start simplifying your life right now:
1. Sit down and figure out what’s most important to you in your life. A simple life is a life that is lived around just working towards a few big goals. Common goals for a simple life include time for yourself, time with friends and family and work on creative projects or volunteer efforts. By clearly identifying what actually matters to you in your life, you can see what it is that you’re working towards. Then you can start changing things so that every decision that you make in your life is made with one of those major life goals in mind.
2. Start making time for yourself. The only way that you’re going to be able to make things easier in your life is to make sure that you have the time to figure things out for yourself. Ways to start carving out this time include waking up an hour earlier, cutting back on some of your commitments, being more selective about the time that you spend with others and re-working your work situation to reduce commute times or hours spent in the office. Identify where you can make time just for you and then make sure to make that time.
3. Get rid of your stuff. Having too much stuff in your life and your home just creates a whole lot of complications. You need to find a place to keep it. You need to keep it clean. You need to make sure it doesn’t get broken. You need to repair it and service it and just generally deal with it. To simplify your life, get rid of stuff. Of course, this is easier said than done. It’s hard to part with all of the material things that we have and it’s hard to even know what to keep and what to get rid of. Luckily there are a lot of books and blogs out there about de-cluttering your life so that you can find the method of getting rid of stuff that works best for you. Start small and keep working at it to get your life back to a simpler time.
4. Get rid of the crazy makers in your life. I’m a big fan of creativity workbooks such as The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In one of her books, she talks about crazy makers which are the people in your life who always have a crisis that they want you to help out with. These are the people that need you to give more than they give to you. Figuring out how to reduce their impact on your life (even though you love them) goes a long way towards making your life simpler.
5. Drastically limit the number of subscriptions you have. Whether it’s magazines that come to your mailbox or RSS feeds that you subscribe to online, it’s really important to learn the art of minimalism when it comes to subscriptions. The more that you’ve got coming at you, the more complicated your life is. Start cutting back on those things and you’ll find life to be easier.
6. Combine tasks when it makes sense to do so. A lot of simplifying your life is about learning to focus on one thing at a time but there are actually a lot of times when it makes sense to kill two birds with one stone. For example, you may need to get groceries but want to see a friend and it makes sense to invite your friend to go grocery shopping with you. Learning when to multi-task and when to focus on one task is a tough thing but work on figuring it out for your life and things will get simpler.
7. Ask yourself what others can do. Most of us spend a lot of time taking care of everything by ourselves. And we don’t just take care of our own stuff; we try and solve things for other people too. Ask yourself what people can do themselves – whether it’s letting your sister deal with her boyfriend problems on her own or asking your spouse to pick up some of the slack around the house. You don’t have to do everything by yourself.
8. Stop trying to impress people. So many of the complications in our lives come from trying to make sure that people like us. The house has to be perfect for guests. We have to pick up a bottle of wine to take to the dinner we were invited to. We need to get new shoes to wear to the event that we have to go to. It’s draining and it makes life hard. Work on letting go of the need to make other people happy. Your simpler life will make you happy and that will make you the kind of person that others will want to be around.
9. Lower your own standards. It’s not just others that you’re trying to impress. You’re probably also trying to live up to a standard for yourself of what you want in life. Learn to lower your standards about some things. So you didn’t eat as healthy today as you should have or you didn’t make as much money this year as you wanted. Does it really matter?
10. Learn to breathe and let go. We all need to find a way to keep our own minds simpler by freeing ourselves from the stress of repetitive and unhealthy thoughts. Whether it’s through yoga or meditation or working on project that you can immerse yourself in, you need to learn to get your mind into a state of calm. Most things are not as worrisome as we like to make them out to be in our own heads. Getting a grip on our thoughts and working to always live in this moment go a long way towards keeping life simple.
All of these ten things are big things that can be hard to see yourself learning to do well. However, they are all things that you can start on in small ways today. You can clear some time for yourself. You can cancel one subscription or ignore one phone call from a crazy maker in your life. You can start today and life will get simpler.
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