These days, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by an overly complicated life. If you’re looking for ways to gain control over your life or your current situation, consider simplifying.
Simplifying your life can mean cutting unnecessary to-do list items, eliminating clutter from your home, fine-tuning your priorities, or otherwise gaining perspective on what truly matters to you.
You can use these strategies to simplify your life, beginning today:
- Identify what’s most important to you and then get rid of everything else. Know what really matters the most to you. Things that don’t matter are simply wasting your time and energy, so purge them as soon as you can. Be ruthless and don’t fall into the trap of holding on to things “just in case.”
- Make a list of the top 4-5 priorities in your life. Keep this list with you all the time so you always remember what counts the most. Put a copy on your bathroom mirror, another above your bed, make your list part of your computer screensaver, save it as a note on your tablet or smart phone, and keep one in your wallet for good measure.
- Evaluate your current commitments. Look at absolutely everything going on in your life right now. Which of these commitments actually deliver value or joy? Which are in line with the 4-5 priorities you listed in the previous step? Eliminate everything else – even those things you think won’t happen without you – transfer your knowledge and empower someone else to carry on, while you work on your priorities.
- Assess how you spend your time. How are you spending your time? Make a list of everything you do in a day and compare that to your list of priorities. What can you eliminate? If it’s too hard to eliminate a group of items initially, move them to the bottom of the priority list and limit the amount of time you spend on them until you can let them go completely.
- Simplify your work tasks. Rather than trying to knock off every single task on your to-do list, focus on only the most essential tasks and then find ways to eliminate all the others. To do this, you can try delegation, outsourcing, moving them to other days or simply dropping them.
- Simplify your home tasks. Repeat the above process with your home tasks, removing the things that you’re not reasonably going to accomplish in a day. Simplify your list of home tasks by automating, delegating, outsourcing and removing anything that doesn’t fall in line with what’s most important.
- Learn to say no. When you learn to say no, you’ll begin to take on only as much as you can handle. Then you can give your attention to the tasks that matter the most. I used to suffer from “terminal volunteer-itis.” Every time an organization said “We need…” my hand would automatically go up! Tie your hand to your side until you break this habit – learn to say no!
- Limit your consumption of media. The abundance of media available today can overwhelm nearly every second of our lives. Try to simplify your own life by limiting media and information consumption whenever possible – focus on the channels and outlets that are really meaningful to you and eliminate duplication wherever possible.
- Be selective with your methods of communication. Designate certain times for communication by only e-mailing at certain points in the day, only using the phone during certain hours, only chatting via IM in your off-hours, limiting the amount of time you spend on social media, and so on. Limit the ways that you communicate throughout the day to prevent communication from overwhelming you or your day.
- Purge unnecessary stuff. Devote one weekend every month to getting rid of absolutely anything that you don’t want or need in your life. Removing everything that doesn’t really matter can be therapeutic and cathartic. Purging your home and your life once monthly is a really beneficial process to your overall health and well being.
This is only a small sampling of the things that you can do in order to simplify your life. Consider this to be a foundation, though, that will guide you to find new and interesting ways to create a simple life. With just a little conscious effort, you can achieve simplicity in all aspects of your life.