Life Design,  Organisation & Productivity,  Simplicity & Slow Living

10 Ways to Simplify Your Life

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Do you ever feel the urge to simplify? The way we live our lives today is faster, bigger and busier than ever before. In many ways this is a superb thing – we have access to information 24/7 – a whole world of knowledge at our fingertips. We can connect with people – loved ones or strangers – all over the world at the touch of a button. Our needs and wants are met quickly and efficiently, and if we can imagine it, we can own it. There is a rich world of opportunity and abundance out there, and we have the ability to have it all…

 

But instead of enhancing our lives, all too often it seems we are drowning in a sea of overwhelm.

If this is something you can relate to you are in good company – a recent survey showed that in 2018, 74% of people in the UK felt so stressed they became overwhelmed or unable to cope. (source: www.mentalhealth.org.uk)

 

In this fast-paced age, full of advancements and breakthroughs and the biggest and best of everything – many of us just wish we could reduce our workload, calm our soaring stress levels and cocoon ourselves in calm. We long to feel connected and grounded and see the light break through the clouds. We crave simplicity.

 

light breaking through the clouds

 

If you are feeling overwrought and overwhelmed, here are 10 simple but effective ways to simplify your life:

 

simple image of a window (Pinterest graphic)
Click to Pin for future reference!

 

1) Simplify your priorities – Identify what is important

This is key… Simplifying really boils down to this and this alone. Figure out what is important to you and forget everything else.

 

What are your priorities? Identify this and you’re halfway there. Your time is precious, give it to the things that matter. If you ever find yourself stuck in the weeds, ask yourself if what you are doing is important to you, will it add value to your life? If not let it go… put first things first. Always.

 

2) Simplify your spending – Get on top of your finances

Money is one of the main causes of stress for many people. It is so important to have a clear idea of where your money is going and how you manage your finances. I can’t stress this enough! Track your spending, start a budget, and see where you can make improvements.

 

Related reading: 3 Simple ways to help you take control of your spending

 

Consider also what changes you could make to your life in order to alter your money situation – increasing your workload to earn more cash is not exactly a sound way to simplify your life… would you consider a big change such as downsizing your home for example?

 

Related reading: Downsizing – 5 things I Have Learnt Living Tiny

 

 

3) Simplify your environment – Rid yourself of clutter

I’m a BIG fan of de-cluttering. But I didn’t use to be…

 

I’m a collector. I love character and personality and, well, STUFF! I always thought that minimalism was for people with no imagination who wanted to live in a plain white box with no flavour. But it is so not the case…When we decided to downsize we needed to have a massive purge of our belongings. During this process, something happened to me…I found a sense of freedom I hadn’t anticipated. I hadn’t realised how much weight I was carrying around with me in these objects, how much meaning I had attributed to things which at the end of the day were really just that – things.

 

“Love people, use things. The opposite never works”
The Minimalists

 

These days I am the proud owner of less, but the things I do choose to keep I keep because they bring me joy. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed one of the first things I do is check to see how much clutter has crept back into my life and deal with it. HUGE relief. Just do it.

 

If you are new to decluttering you should definitely check out the best selling book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by the queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo. The Konmari method of tidying up by working on 5 different areas, using gratitude and joy to help with your choices and organising in a very visual way has been a game changer for many!

 

Related reading: Decluttering for a better life – Less mess, less stress!

4) Simplify your systems – Get organised

Declutter first. This is important! Decluttering not only puts you in a better mental space for organisation (tidy house, tidy mind and all that!) but during your decluttering you see what areas need work – maybe you have a lot of paperwork piling up – having rid yourself of old or irrelevant items you can then go ahead and organise what remains. File your paperwork and label accordingly so you can always find things when you need them. Arrange your clothes in whatever way pleases you now that they aren’t bursting out of the wardrobe!

 

Set timers and reminders throughout your day to help keep you on track.

 

Organise your time – whether you choose to keep it old school with a Filofax, get creative with a bullet journal (I love Leuchtturm 1917 for bullet journalling) or go digital with an app, there is a system that will work for everyone.

 

Screenshot of organisational apps in the Google playstore
There are loads of personal organisation and productivity apps available to help you simplify your life.

 

 

5) Simplify the little things – Get into the habit…

Routines are a big winner in our house, despite our claims to the contrary. The free spirit in me loves the idea of floating aimlessly and without agenda, but in actuality, it makes me forget to do things, get confused, lose my place and just generally complicates my day.

 

Having routines in place just makes everything so much simpler. Science fact.

 

I have a morning routine I love, consisting of habits which I know benefit me, so I always start my day off in the best possible frame of mind.

 

Habit setting doesn’t need to be a huge deal – start small, build ‘mini habits’ into your day such as drinking a glass of water when you get up or celebrating your accomplishments at the end of each day. List as many small but beneficial habits you can think of which would improve your day, and add them, one at a time into your schedule.

 

I am currently exploring the Fabulous app, which I am enjoying – you can select from a range of small, manageable habits and create your routines from the get-go, or follow their lead and add their suggestions one at a time. The app encourages you to complete the suggested task every day for 3 days before moving on and adding a new one, and gives you lots of tips and motivation along the way.

 

Related reading: Why you should try a morning routine (even if you are not a morning person!)

6) Simplify your obligations – Just say “NO”

If obligations and to-do lists are taking up too much of your time, then sometimes you just need to put your foot down and politely say “no”. Now, I’m all in favour of living life to it’s fullest and agree wholeheartedly with those who advocate that saying “yes” can lead you on some wonderful adventures and open up new and exciting opportunities, but that isn’t what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about when you say yes to each and every invitation to help, to do, to participate, to join, to add to your already overflowing plate. This can only lead to despair and exhaustion. You are only one being, you can only do what you can do. And in order to do it well, you need to pick and choose. Be honest, be sincere. If something is too much or this simply isn’t the right time, say no, and move on without guilt.

 

 

7) Simplify aaaaaaall the things – Stop multitasking!

Focus on just one thing at a time. When you have multiple things vying for your attention it pulls focus away from the task at hand. You can’t give your best if your head is in 3, 5 or even 20 different places at once! When you are feeling like there is just too much on the agenda take a good hard look at it and ask yourself is this job a priority? If not and it’s possible, let it go altogether. If you can’t do that then reallocate a time to deal with it. We try so hard to fit everything into our schedules, not let anybody down and juggle a multitude of things. But really it is utterly counterproductive. We are giving nothing our best and spreading ourselves too thin.

cartoon of a stick figure under a cloud of confusing thoughts

Pick one thing that needs your attention, and then give it just that.

 

Your full, undivided attention.

 

File everything else away in your big, beautiful brain and tell yourself you will return to it later. Do not move on until you are done. Approaching your goals one at a time like this will enable you to better focus on the task at hand and reduce your feelings of overwhelm. Seeing things through gives you an immense feeling of satisfaction, as you complete your tasks you will feel more in control and better able to move on to whatever is next for you.

 

 

8) Simplify your soul – Practice mindfulness

Regular practice of mindfulness is one of the best ways to quiet your mind and reset. Living a simple life goes hand in hand with awareness of self and centre. Meditation is a great way to do this which will help give you the skills to go deep into a mindful practice, but the joy of mindfulness is that can be practised anywhere, at any time. It isn’t complicated or hard to grasp, it is simply the act of being aware of the moment. Try it now:

 

Take your focus out of your mind and into your body…become aware of where you are, of your temperature, of what your clothes feel like against your skin, or what colours you can see around you, listen to the sounds of your environment.

 

Regularly taking the time to cultivate an awareness of the present is a great habit to get into and will ground you as well as encourage you live in the moment. (and really, where else is there to be?)

 

Related reading: Meditation – a beginners guide

 

9) Simplify yourself – Downtime is good for you

Relax. Take some time for you. When we are always rushing from A to B we can forget to just chill and take time out. Or maybe we do… but feel uncomfortable because there is so much more we feel we should be attending to. But sometimes having a bit of distance is just what you need to get some clarity. So give yourself permission to switch off for an hour (at least!) and curl up with a book. Soak in the bath. Doodle.

 

Unplug first! Don’t spend your downtime scrolling through social media on your phone – that is not what this time is for! Switch it all off and unwind…

 

Simplifying life by relaxing in a hammock

 

Related reading: Slow Living Series: part 1 – An introduction to Slow living

 

10) Simplify in nature – Get outdoors

Image of a woodland scene

 

 

Spending time in nature and natural environments has been shown to reduce blood pressure, stress levels and balance hormones. Get outside and go for a walk in the woods or on the beach. For me, this is absolutely the most important thing when I’m feeling frazzled and overwrought. No matter what level of unease I am operating at, being around trees grounds and calms me, returning me to myself. Creating space and simplicity, time to breathe. Being near the ocean inspires and awakens me, filling me with inspiration. If you are city based seek out parks and open spaces, anywhere you can see the sky. Go for a walk, slow down, feel the sun on your skin or the wind in your hair, and remind yourself that you are but a tiny part of a vast world.

 

person on a cliff looking out over a vast seascape

 

What top tips do you have for simplifying? Let me know!

 

Blogger, procrastinator, life enthusiast. Lover of all things joyful. On a quest for the best!

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