We waste a lot of time debating the “what ifs” of life. Rather than flowing with our lives, we constantly resist. By doing so, we create frustration, stress, and overwhelm.
Once you make an effort to simplify your life, you begin to create more of that white space in life.
This means removing distractions, it means not wasting time doing things you don’t feel like doing, and finally overcoming overwhelm.
I like to think that simplifying your life is almost like reducing all the noise. That’s what it felt like for me, anyway. I’ve always tried to distract myself in an attempt to escape the worries, stress, or facing the things that bothered me, head-on. Turns out, silence, peace, and simplicity aren’t as intimidating as they seem.
No matter what your life looks like at the moment, I can guarantee that there were at least a few moments when you felt like you just had too much going on. Moments when there was so much to do, so many things to take care of, you didn’t even know where to start.
Well, the best place to start is by simplifying your life.
SIMPLE LIVING: 10 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
1. RE-EVALUATE COMMITMENTS
Out of all your responsibilities and hobbies, what is of the utmost importance to you? Home life, your social life, work, side-work, family, any pastime activities, hobbies, creative outlets, alone time- if there is something that you do not love doing or it does not give you any value, help you grow or make you happy, give it up- if you can. Pay close attention to what you do with your time.
I know I have some hoarding tendencies, which is why while I am on this journey to simpler life, I still have to do some solid purging once a year. Springtime is usually all about fresh starts and new beginnings and it’s the best time to do some solid purging.
Learning to let go isn’t always easy especially if you are, like me, one of those people who gets attached to things. Go room by room, and get rid of anything old, unloved and unused- donate what you can and get rid of the rest. Tools, electronics, old magazines, clothes, cards, mail, shoes, old beauty or personal care products. Before you try to organize or spring-clean your house or space, do some purging, first.
3. DO ONE THING AT A TIME AND DO IT WELL
As much we like to think we’re great at multitasking, working on a single task at a time is less stressful and more productive. Do one thing at a time, do it well, and then move on to your next task.
I have a tendency to immediately subscribe to blogs and websites if I happen to like them at a first glance. Truth is, there are very few of those newsletter emails that I actually take time to read. Once I unsubscribed from a whole bunch of them, my inbox is much neater and a lot more pleasant to browse through.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR DIGITAL MESS
Speaking of unsubscribing… yes, organizing and de-cluttering your digital life is one of the easiest ways to simplifying your life. Print out those old photos, transfer any unused or old files, photos, documents, into an external hard drive. Delete any apps from your phone that you no longer use, tackle your email inbox. How many tabs do you have opened in your browser, at this very moment? These are all things to think about when you want to simplify your life.
6. TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT YOUR SPENDING HABITS
Years ago, Sundays at our house were devoted to… shopping. What was worse, it was the kind of shopping that was pointless. I can’t stand shopping for things like clothes or shoes (that’s what online shopping is for, duh!) and generally avoid malls or huge shopping centers. But when it comes to furniture stores, or places like Home Goods, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target and even sometimes Home Depot- I used to be able to spend an entire day in those stores. Every Sunday, we would leave the house, grab some coffee and breakfast, and just go shopping. When we moved into our house, we both didn’t have much in terms of “stuff” or furniture. Moving out on your own from your parents’ house, you usually don’t need more than one trip to transport all your belongings from one place to another. That was the case for us. Next thing you know, two years into having our own place, our house was just overflowing with JUNK. So much junk. It seemed like we just had 3 sets of everything- knife blocks, juicers, blenders, mops, you name it. Then, once I started blogging, I started collecting even more “stuff” and junk. I had enough photography equipment and props to fill out our entire guest bedroom.
Taking control of our/my spending habits is what helped me make my life much simpler, and it feels like I’ve gained so much freedom. I no longer feel the urge or need to buy something just because it’s “new” or just because something I already own is being released as an updated version/model. It all started with buying less makeup/beauty products when I had to throw away two bags worth of unused and/or expired products. That’s where a huge portion of my money went. I just felt so ashamed of such waste and knew I had to make some changes. If you find yourself in a similar situation and it seems like you’re just surrounded by a ton of things- take a closer look at your spending habits. Do you only buy necessities while treating yourself to something special and of good quality once in a while, or does a lot of your money is being spent on things that will just end up sitting around, without being used? Do you feel like you always buy new clothes, yet you never have anything to wear?
7. SAY “NO” MORE OFTEN
Don’t feel obligated to say “yes” to things you don’t feel like doing. Don’t feel the need to explain yourself- if you don’t want to do it, just say no. Your time is one of the most valuable things in your life, so if you want to spend your Friday night cuddled up in bed all alone with some popcorn, reading a book, that’s what you should get to do.
8. GET ORGANIZED
Have a place for everything and put everything back where it belongs, as soon as you’re done using it. This will make your life much easier, especially when it comes to finding things when you’re in a rush. Everything should have its place- this will help you avoid a lot of frustration. The thing is though, unless you live alone, you need to get the rest of your household on board on this one.
Wash your mug right after you finish your coffee- don’t let the dishes pile up. Do your bed right after you get up in the morning. Open the mail as soon as you get home. If you do these things “as you go” you will notice that you won’t have to spend a lot of time constantly cleaning and throwing things away, looking for things.
9. SCHEDULE IN YOUR “EMAIL TIME”
I try to avoid replying to emails right away (unless it’s something urgent, of course)- it can be very distracting, especially when you get as many emails as I do. Try to schedule some time twice a day when you will go through my inbox and respond to emails.
10. CREATE A MORNING ROUTINE
This can be life-changing. If you find yourself rushing out the door every morning, being in a hurry, getting an early start can give you more time to do things like sitting down and writing down your to-do list, preparing lunch, setting your intentions for the day ahead, sneaking in a workout or getting ready for the day.
To me, simplifying my life was really about two things: 1) becoming more organized and 2) learning what “enough” really means.
When you finally learn that you need less, you start experiencing fewer distractions, you find yourself *needing* fewer things, and you get a little more out of life. More smiles, more time to do the things you love doing, less complaining and feeling overwhelmed and stressed. You get to see that most of the time, we make things out to be a lot more complicated than they really are.
Yes, there are some things in life, which we cannot control. Your routines, habits, levels to which you organize your life and the distractions that surround you are among the things you CAN control. When you make a conscious effort to simplify your life, you find it easier to just let everything flow, instead of constantly fighting resistance and anger.