Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life
Life can be complicated – book, TV and movie plots would be pretty dull if they didn't show the complexity of our lives (even if they exaggerate them a little). As children it's all pretty simple but the older we get the more that simplicity seems to evaporate.
If you find that you're madly spinning plates but they're dropping to the floor, here are a couple of simple applications that might help. Applying them takes a little determination, but if getting older teaches us anything, it's that worthwhile things are worth working at.
Take a rainy Sunday afternoon's thinking time: here goes.
Application 1. Decide what's most important to you.
Often we get caught up with doing stuff that doesn't really make our hearts sing, so think about what's vital - spouse, family, neighbourhood, pets, hobbies (every one of them?), your work etc. It may be a long list but choose about 5 things that are dearest to you and contribute to your lasting happiness and wellbeing. Now put them in order.
Application 2. Ditch everything else that distracts you from the important things you chose above.
There are a lot of 'shoulds' in life but if we focus on the things we love and let go of the rest, we have more time and energy for things that are important.
For example, if you like your job and it's not one of your most important life-loves, but you know you should earn a living, think about how you can find a job you do love or enhance the one you have to make it even better. These sorts of things take some time to work out, but it's an investment in time that will repay in spades and other hubs can offer advice too.
All this sounds a bit selfish. And it is. But if your family is more important to you than a job which takes you away from them for large chunks of time, finding a better work-life balance will work for everyone. It's your life and no one is going to take charge of it unless you do.
Here are some small steps to get you started with 'ditching the rest'.
- De-clutter your home/office/car. Decide what's either beautiful, meaningful or practical in all areas of your living space and sell, donate, recycle or throw out everything else.
- Do the same for email, voicemail and the stuff on your computer. Unsubscribe to newsletters you never have the time or inclination to read, or 'create a rule' so that email from sources you don't want to hear from goes direct to the 'deleted items' bin. In MS Outlook, do this by right-clicking on the email, going to 'create a rule' and decide where you want these emails to go. Click ok. Job done.
- Can you reduce the time you spend on tasks you don't like, or can you delegate them? Would employing a cleaner or getting the kids more involved on household chores be useful? Do you have to drive them everywhere - could they be more independent by using the bus?
- Not all technology makes life simpler. Do complicated phones and novelty apps distract you from spending time doing things you love? If all you want to do is make and receive calls and texts and take a photo when the opportunity arises, then get basic phone. Sometimes the answer is easier, simpler and more obvious than we think.
- Escape the trap of materialism by buying less. When you reach for your purse, ask 'Do I really need this? Will it enrich my life? Have I got something at home that could re-purposed, adapted or mended?' This is a journey of letting go and turning our backs on material goods in today's world can be tough. Especially if you have kids.
- Be present. Take the time to notice and enjoy what's around you. The little things like a sunny day or the new leaves on the trees in springtime all lift our spirits. Use all your senses and start to experience life afresh. Part of simplifying life is to enjoy the simple things.
- Think about bigger things that could simplify your life like moving to a smaller home or moving to a neighbourhood nearer your workplace so that your commute is shorter, taking a pay cut or additional education in order to get the job you love.
- If spirituality is close to your heart and you feel that life would be enriched by having more time for this aspect of life, writing prayers, getting more involved with a religious group, writing a journal or being more creative may add an extra dimension to your life.
- Learn to say 'no'. You're not a doormat, you're a human being, so practise ways of politely declining the requests for help if you know it's a 'should' rather than a 'want' to do. Lack of time, other commitments, or just a simple 'sorry, no' are good enough reasons but you don't need to justify yourself.
- This should make your to-do list more achievable. Don't waste time trying to do the impossible.
Simplifying life is something that we should re-visit every so often because it has a habit of getting over-loaded again.
How often in a day to we sigh and wish that life was easier? Instead let's wish that we were better at it.