We don’t need as much as we think we do, and the easiest, most effective step in simplifying is to reduce what you own. It doesn’t have to be a huge, burden-like job. Set yourself a timer and play your favourite album, and do as much as you can, one drawer, cupboard or room at time, in whatever time you’ve set. When the buzzer goes, stop.
2. Write down your goals
When you know what you want, achieving it becomes deliberate step-after-step activity, instead of aimless wandering. Spend an hour brainstorming what is most important to you, choose three things to focus on, and write it down somewhere you can see every day. If something isn’t in service of one of these three goals, don’t do it. Review your goals monthly.
3. Organise your money
Write a budget. Spend less than you make. Automate your bill paying. Take out cash once a week, and use that as your spending money. Allow for treats.
4. Evaluate your commitments
Everything you’re doing is because you agreed to it. Complaining about being busy is like moaning that you got wet going into the ocean. Look at your diary, and honestly assess what can afford to be scrapped. Don’t be sorry about it. You are only one person.
5. Be alone
The noise of others – their gossip, their expectations, their opinions – can sometimes drown out our own voice. Make space in your days to spend some time alone, even just 15 minutes, to be quiet with yourself.
6. Complain less
Life gets simpler when you quit whining – fact.
7. Want less
Trying to “have it all” is bollocks, and impossible. Striving for this mythical state is complicated and stressful, and so by wanting less we actually end up achieving more: happiness.
8. Assess your time
Does it really take an hour and a half to clean the kitchen? Was it necessary to watch the whole season of that show over one weekend? Did you “just check people.com” for five minutes, or was it until you were so tired you couldn’t keep your eyes open? Figure out where you waste time, and do something about it.
9. Limit your “to-do” list
Seeing a hundred and three items on a never-ending list means we don’t see the point in even trying to start, because we won’t finish. Make your lists do-able. Decide on the three most important things to be done, and start there. Bulk your errands, too. That helps like woah.
10. Limit your buying and spending habits
The more you own, the more clutter you have. Buy what you need, and save the spoils for special occasions. It’s up to you to decide what they are – but “I successfully did my laundry today!” doesn’t warrant another splurge at Forever 21.
WHAT WOULD WE ACHIEVE IN OUR DAYS IF THE INTERNET DID NOT EXIST 24/7? Try it and see.
12. Prepare for morning
Hit the ground running every morning by knowing exactly what it is you need to do. The night before, take ten minutes to assemble your “three things” list, a few notes, and a general idea about what you’ll action first. Half the battle in doing anything is thinking about doing it – remove that obstacle from your starting line and you’ll set off so much faster.
13. Carry less
Like, literally. On your person. Nobody needs three lipsticks, so many snacks just-in-case, and that much spare change, you know?
14. Express yourself
Write. Paint. Dance. Cook. Find an outlet for creative expression and watch your mind thaw.
15. Prioritise people
Nothing is simpler than an afternoon and a cold bottle with your best friend, no objective, no agenda, and no “to-do”. Just you, and them, shooting the shit like you used to do before it all got so complicated. You need people, but you also need to show up to them fully.
16. Make your bed
It takes ten minutes, and the sense of peace it will give you when you return home cannot ever be bought nor bottled.
17. Practice gratitude
Raising awareness in your own psyche of just how much there is in your life to be grateful for makes all the bad stuff pale in comparison.
18. Reduce communications
Smart phones are great – we’d be lost, with no soundtrack to our days, unable to order a cab or a pizza or call mom to double check on the best way to remove that awkward stain without them. BUT ALSO. They make us so available. What if we only answered email twice a day, 30 minutes at a time? Put it on airplane mode for dinner? Answered texts in bulk, instead of when they come in?
19. Organise your wardrobe by outfits
Ohmygod. Time-saver, head-space-saver, and you’ll soon see what serves no purpose in your closet at all. Genius.
Basically: identify what’s most important to you, and get rid of everything else. Simple.