20 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
Modern life can be busy and complex but this doesn’t mean that we’re any happier or fulfilled. If you’re looking for ideas on how to create more ease and space in your life and still get done what you need, here are 20 ways to simplify your life. Little steps to take the pressure off daily life and free you up for other things!
WHY LIFE GETS COMPLICATED
As we go through life it tends to become more complicated. Many of us are juggling family, work, a busy schedule, bills to pay and a daily list of things to do.
Our time, our minds, hearts and homes fill with stuff and our focus is drawn away from the things we want to do towards the things that we have to do.
The problem is, once we hit one of life’s busy seasons, it can feel fast-moving and overwhelming. It would be lovely to press the pause button on life so you can slow things down and catch your breath (or catch up on housework or your To Do list).
However, that’s not so easy when you’re being pulled in different directions and it seems like everybody and everything needs your attention right now!
HOW TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
From every angle, modern life encourages us to do more, be more, achieve more, spend more. We end up trying to do ‘all the things’ and then wonder why we feel tired, stressed out or stuck on auto-pilot as one day drifts into the next.
If this feels familiar, I encourage you to pause and think…
- How do you really feel about your life and the days that make it up?
- Are you busy doing the right things?
- What would you like to be doing instead?
When we’ve got a lot on our plate and feeling overstretched, then perhaps it’s time to find ways to slow down and seek a little calm and ease – instead of just more chasing, stress and frustration.
Simplifying your life is about focusing on what’s important to you. It’s about finding easier ways to do the things that you have to do and giving yourself more wriggle room for the things you want to do.
Below are some articles on simplifying life and what it could look like for you:
20 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
In this post I’d like to share some practical tips which have helped me simplify my own life.
Some of the suggestions are easy and quick, others may take a little more time to put in place or take effect. Just pick and choose whichever appeals the most to you and give them a go!
I’ve included some links to further reading or resources which I think might be helpful to you.
1. Your meals
Once a week take a look at your calendar so you know what’s happening for the following week. Make a simple meal-plan based on that, including breakfasts, lunches and dinners for everyone in the family. Decide which meals you’re going to cook, write a shopping list for what you need and take it with you to the shops or order online for home delivery at a time that’s convenient to you.
2. Your home
Your home is where you and your family want to relax and recharge. If your home is cluttered or untidy it’s more likely to be a burden on your time and stress you out. Think about decluttering your home, create some space and make it easier to manage with less effort needed from you. For decluttering projects and tips to get started check out these 20 ways to declutter your home.
3. Your clothes
Every day we make thousands of decisions, big and little. One of the first of these decisions is deciding what to wear each morning. Make it quicker and easier to choose your clothes and be comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing by streamlining your wardrobe and decluttering your clothes. For little tips on clearing out your closet, loving your clothes and finding a style that suits you, check out this post on how to declutter clothes in 10 easy steps.
4. Say no and own it
If somebody asks you to do something you don’t want to do, or don’t have time to do, or isn’t in line with your priorities and values, then say no if you can! This is your time and how you choose to spend it is up to you. Saying no doesn’t mean it’s no forever, it could just mean ‘not today.’ Remember that every time you say ‘yes’ to one thing, you’re saying ‘no’ to something else. Always ask yourself what’s a priority for you right now?
5. Your paper clutter
Set up a simple filing system in a cabinet, box, drawer, or even just a folder where you can keep all your important documents. Use clearly labelled dividers to separate out the paperwork by subject. Keep it somewhere safe and secure. Scan any documents for which you don’t need to keep the originals and save these onto your pc or cloud drive, again in separate, clearly labelled folders. Once a week, go through any piles of paper that have built up around the home and take a photo, file or shred the paperwork. For more tips on getting organised, check out this post on 25 ways to be more organised.
6. Re-set your home regularly
Instead of leaving it until evening to tidy up your home, clear away the toys, laundry and dishes that might have built up during the day, do a quick re-set of your home throughout the day. Before mealtimes, have a quick whip around to clear away toys, straighten cushions, collect up dirty glasses or mugs. Five minutes spent here and there means you won’t have to spend your precious evenings playing catch up from the day. For more tips, try this post on quick ways to tidy your home.
7. Your time
Your time is precious but it’s easy to spend it like water! I don’t think we should be productive every second of the day because we all need time to just relax and recharge. However, I do think that whatever we do and however we choose to spend our time should be adding value in some way wherever possible. Think about your days and schedule, is there anything that you could postpone or say no to for now? Find the value in being less busy and give yourself more wiggle room. Prioritise what needs to be done and be more aware of the little things we all do which waste our time.
8. Your priorities
Most of us have bills to pay, work, family and friends. Juggling the demands of modern daily life gives us little space for anything else. Defining your priorities means working out what’s most important in your day, your month, your life and focusing your time, energy and attention on these things. When we don’t choose our own priorities, life has a habit of choosing them for us! Assess your life, identify the really important things and the things that matter most to you (not just what’s on your To Do list) and focus your attention on these. Let go of what’s not a priority for right now and take heart in knowing that you don’t have to do ‘all the things’ right now. To help you work out your own priorities, try these 30 journal prompts for self-discovery.
9. Your finances
Simplify your finances to make it easier to keep on top of how much you’re spending each month and avoid the build-up of stacks of paper and forgotten bills to pay. Choose a quiet time when you’re unlikely to be interrupted and go through your income and outgoings for each month. Allocate what you can to a savings account, reduce unnecessary spending and make a plan to clear any debt. Switch to paperless billing, automate your payments where possible and create a monthly budget which you stick to. Try this post for more ideas on how to simplify your finances.
10. Your evenings
Create an evening routine that really supports you. Do a few little things to prepare for the next day so you’re not rushing around in the morning. Then focus on yourself and unwinding from today. Choose activities that relax and calm you so you’re more ready for a peaceful night’s sleep. Check out this post on how to create a simple evening routine that works for you, or how to make your bedroom into a sanctuary!
11. Your mornings
Waking up a little earlier in the mornings has helped me so much. I can get a few things done that are more difficult with the kids around, such as doing a little workout. It gives me some precious quiet time to read my book, or enjoy my first cup of tea of the day in peace. As Henry Ward Beecher reminds us, “the first hour of the morning, is the rudder of the day.” Create a simple morning routine of your own that gives you a head-start on your day and sets the tone for how you’d like the rest of that day to go.
12. Your health and fitness
I find that if I keep things simple then I’m much more likely to achieve them. Too complicated and it becomes unrealistic and off-putting. I think this applies to many things in life, but particularly when it comes to my health and fitness! Choose healthy meal options where possible, walk daily, get enough sleep. Cut down on stress and props to relieve that stress, such as too much sugar or alcohol. You don’t need to run a marathon or yoyo diet. Small but consistent steps are much more practical and sustainable for most of us.
13. Your mind
A cluttered mind is one that’s not only full of thoughts and knowledge but also full of things to remember, worries and problems. Check out my post on how to declutter your mind to create a little emotional and psychological space. A decluttered mind helps you focus on what’s important, avoid distractions and helps you find clarity on how you’re really feeling. Your brain is meant for much more than just remembering the tiny details of daily life. Pop your thoughts and to do lists down on a notepad or in the notes section on your phone and give your brain a breather!
14. Your relationships
Many of us have experienced relationships that feel a little one-sided or that are draining and difficult. Declutter the relationships in your life which aren’t built on mutual love, strength and support. It doesn’t mean you have to be rude or unkind, just find a way to maintain the relationship in a way that benefits and respects you both. Dedicate your time to nurturing the healthy, mutually supportive, real relationships that add true value to your life. Here are some tips to help you bond with your partner as just one example.
15. Your self-care
If you have a lot on your plate, it’s all too easy to put yourself at the bottom of the priority list. When you do have time for self-care, it’s often too little, too late. Instead, think about some simple ways you can make looking after yourself a regular part of your routine. It doesn’t have to be costly, time-consuming or complicated. Little changes and a few minutes to yourself can make the world of difference. Try my free mini challenge, Simplify Your Self-Care, for some tips and ideas.
16. Prioritise happiness
Life has its ups and downs for all of us but how you think about things has a large part to play in how you feel about them. Simplifying your life is a great goal in itself, but it’s not the endgame. The ultimate goal is to give you more calm, ease, freedom and joy! It’s about finding ways to stress less and make life easier so you have more space for doing things you want to do, not just what you have to do. Here are 20 ways to be happier!
17. Your chores and housework
One of the main burdens on my own time and energy is keeping up with my home. I have a busy family, kids, a dog and my home gets messy or dirty pretty quickly! Streamlining my chores, decluttering my home and getting systems in place to help us all be a little bit tidier and organised have all helped my home run more on auto-pilot. For more tips on managing your home, the simple way, check out my post on setting up household routines that work for you.
18. Your daily routine
How many times do you get to the end of the day but still haven’t achieved everything you set out to? Would you like to be more organised and use the time that you DO have in your day more productively, so that you get the important things done and still find time for you?! If this sounds good, I encourage you to create some simple little daily habits that help get things done as part of the natural flow of your day. For some suggestions to try, check out this post on 24 habits to include in your daily routine.
19. Your clutter
Clutter means different things to different people. Clutter can also take different forms. It could be physical stuff that you can see and touch or it can be other things which confuse, distract and take up space in your heart and mind. We’ve already looked at how you can simplify the clutter in your home but here are 10 things to declutter that aren’t actual things!
20. Ditch the things that bring you down
Take a moment to think about every aspect of your life, the good bits and the not-so-good bits. Which are the areas that inspire, motivate and challenge you and which are the bits that bring you down and cause you to struggle? Find ways to improve upon the difficult areas, deal with the things that are within your control and learn to let go of old habits, negative thoughts and behaviour patterns that don’t support you.
We’ve looked at a few ways to simplify your life including…
- Your meals – Prepare in advance
- Your home – Declutter your stuff
- Your clothes – Streamline your wardrobe
- Say no and own it – Say no more often
- Your paper clutter – Set up a simple filing system
- Re-set your home regularly – Do quick clean-ups
- Your time – Be less busy
- Your priorities – Focus on what’s important
- Your finances – Stay organised
- Your evenings – Keep a routine
- Your mornings – Wake up a little earlier
- Your health and fitness – Cut down on stress
- Your mind – Avoid distractions
- Your relationships – Nurture healthy relationships
- Your self-care – Are you a priority to yourself?
- Prioritise happiness – Keep it fun and light
- Your chores and housework – Get systems in place
- Your daily routine – Create good daily habits)
- Your clutter – Ask yourself: is this truly useful?
- Ditch the things that bring you down – Learn to let go
YOUR OWN SIMPLE LIVING JOURNEY
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Your priorities might be different to mine so do pick and choose which tips would be most helpful to you. Everybody’s life is different and so our path to simplifying that life is going to look different too.
This article included some mainly practical suggestions of what simplifying could mean for you.
Here are some suggested articles if you’d like to explore the topic of simple living a little further, beyond just the practical elements.