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Life can get full very quickly. Finding ways to simplify your life can really help you change your life for the better.
Use these 16 tips on how to simplify your life to get started making the changes you need in your life.
SIMPLICITY IS THE KEY TO HAPPINESS
Simplifying your life can take many different forms.
Some of the ways you simplify your life will be based on the kind of life you lead and who you are.
But there are some common things that everyone can do to make their life more simple.
Simplifying your life will allow you to be more in control of your life.
This in turn gives you more chance to feel happy.
Your head will be rid of all the mental and physical clutter that plagues it daily.
There will be more time to focus on the things that really matter to you.
Plus more time to spend doing things you actually enjoy.
The things that are good for your soul, including more quality time with your family and more quality time for self care.
I’ve put together a list of 16 things that you can consider doing to simplify your life.
Have a read and decide which of these ideas and habits you can build into your life.
16 EASY WAYS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
1. Reduce your goals
Reduce the number of goals you set yourself down to two at any one time.
This immediately gives you more time and space to reach these goals.
You can add in a new goal once a goal is achieved.
Next, take the focus off the goals themselves.
Instead put the focus on forming the habits or creating the systems you need to reach these goals.
I’ve got a post that explains the benefits of creating systems to achieve goals.
2. Say no more often
Teach yourself to say NO!
It’s very easy to find yourself committing to more things than you have time or headspace to cope with.
Take a moment to think before making a decision about any demand on your time.
Say no if you know you don’t really have either the time or the headspace to fulfil it.
Also say no if the thing you’ve been asked to do doesn’t bring you joy or some kind of benefit.
Of course this doesn’t mean shirking responsibilities or sidestepping giving help.
It does mean assessing whether a task is going to bring meaningful benefits to you or to someone else.
Saying no more often gives you the time and space to focus on the things you truly want to spend time on.
One of the best ways to make the decision to say no is to be really clear about your priorities.
3. Prioritise what is important to you
It is very easy to have great focus if you prioritise what is really important to you.
To do this you need to be clear about what really is important to you.
This is a great time to write a list.
I love a list!!
Sit quietly and write out a list of the things that are really important to you.
Juggle that list around until you have these things in order of importance.
Your finished list will clarify your priorities and you we be clearer on the things to stop focusing on too.
4. Get your 80/20 on
The 80/20 rule is that 80 percent of the results for a given task may come from just 20 percent of your efforts.
So this is about working smarter rather than working harder.
Identify the 20 percent that really does matter and focus on that.
5. Slow down
No-one can go through life with their accelerator pedal constantly flat to the floor without wearing their engine out.
Allowing yourself to slow down can in fact lead you to getting more done.
Of course you will have days where you can’t help but rush from one commitment to the next.
But temper those days with days when you take your foot off the pedal.
Also find time during busy days to simply STOP.
One of the best ways to do this is to take some time to focus on your breathe.
Here’s a post I wrote about a simple technique you can use for stopping and focusing on your breathing.
Another benefit of slowing down is that you give yourself chance to look around at where you are at that very moment and savour it.
It’s so easy to charge through life being super busy and then suddenly find that ten years have flashed by!
Slow down, live in the moment, give yourself time to enjoy doing the things you do.
6. Stop multitasking
Women are often given the label of being ‘good at multitasking’.
It’s meant to be a badge of honour.
Instead it’s a sure fire way to feel like you never actually achieve all the things you want to by the end of the day.
It is possible to multitask and some of us are super good at it.
But for many of us multitasking is actually slowing us down.
What’s the solution?
Mono-tasking – doing one thing at a time.
It’s simple really.
Pick a task, put all your focus into getting it done.
Then go to the next task.
I’ve written a post that goes into more detail on the benefits of ditching multitasking for mono-tasking. The post also gives you some simple tips on ways to get mono-tasking.
If you do nothing else from this list, the act of mono-tasking is a great way to simplify your life.
7. Don’t spend what you haven’t got
Living in debt adds huge amounts of stress to your life.
There are of course different types of debt.
A mortgage is pretty much always a positive one.
We may not like it, but as long as we have borrowed a sensible amount, it is a ‘good’ debt.
But living in debt because you’ve maxed your credit card and can’t make the repayments is a very bad kind of debt.
It instantly makes your life more complicated because you will be worrying about the debt and having to spend time finding ways to repay the debt.
We live in a world where consumerism is glamourised.
We are marketed to constantly.
So you need to find a way to say no to spending what you don’t have.
Try and live by the mantra that if you can’t afford something now then maybe now isn’t the time to have it.
8. Automate paying the bills
I used to spend an age making sure all our bills were paid on time.
I really don’t have to worry that much about this anymore.
Because I’ve set up direct debits and standing orders wherever I can.
I also always opt for annual payments over monthly payments wherever the option is available.
There are two-fold benefits to this.
- I only have to think about whether the service is still relevant and a good price once per year
- There are often discounts associated with making an annual payment
Now you may be thinking that it’s hard to find the money to pay some bills in one chunk rather than monthly.
I work out what the total amount of spending is likely to be for annual bills and make sure this money is set aside.
I do still do a monthly check of what has gone out of our accounts, but it is so much quicker than fiddling around paying a bunch of bills at different times each month.
9. Spend less time on social media
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter, Pinterest…
There are SO many ways to scroll your way through the day.
I recently read a super scary statistic that the average person in the UK spends the equivalent of a whole day per week online.
I think we are still in the early years of learning how to cope with and manage our digital lives.
But it’s very clear that we could all do with spending a lot less time aimlessly scrolling or soaking up brain overloading amounts of information on a daily basis.
I put together a post a while back on how to unplug yourself from digital media.
I wrote the post to help myself get unplugged.
It certainly helped.
I go back and read the post from time to time to remind myself of the importance of switching off.
Switching off has to be one of the best ways to simplify your life.
10. Watch less TV
Television, the drug of the nation… so sang The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.
Things have changed a little since they wrote their lyrics.
We are now all part of the Netflix nation.
It can be amazing. There is so much choice.
So many ‘boxsets’ to binge watch.
But it can be like being a kid let loose in a sweetshop.
We binge and binge and never know when to stop.
Even when we’re sick and tired!
So what to do?
Have a think about your average week and work out how many hours you spend of it watching TV.
Then think about what else you could be doing with some of those hours.
You could be having a relaxing bath whilst reading a book, you could be playing a board game.
You could be… chatting with your other half or your whole family over a leisurely dinner.
I’m not suggesting you give up TV.
But aim to reclaim some of those hours spent slumped on the sofa.
Ditch the trash fast-food TV, go for shows that are more nourishing for your mind.
You will be amazed by how much time you get back and what a great way it is to simplify your life.
Spending a few hours less each week in front of the TV is one of the easier ways to simplify your life in 2019.
11. Organise your life
Disorganisation leads to a significant amount of wasted time.
Being disorganised can cause you huge amounts of stress.
It can also be the result of being under stress.
Taking time to be organised is like inoculating yourself against stress.
Maintaining it is like pouring a soothing balm onto your life.
Simplifying your life through employing some good basic organisation strategies is a great way to stop wasting your time and putting negative pressure on yourself.
One very simple thing you can do to become more organised is to find a way to keep track of your daily to do list.
I use a combination of my google calendar and Trello.
Trello is my to-do list.
The calendar is for keeping track of appointments, where I need to be and when, plus birthday reminders and family and personal dates.
I can access both my calendar and Trello from my mobile and my desktop.
12. Eat well
Now you may wonder what eating is doing in a list about simplifying your life.
Bear with me.
The thinking here is this… would you expect your car to run on chip fat if it was meant to run on diesel?
Why then would you expect your body to run on junk food and poorly balanced meals?
Eat good quality, wholesome, unprocessed food whenever possible.
Use meal planning to keep yourself on track and avoiding those ‘AAAGGGHHH’ moments at the end of the day when there’s nothing in the fridge and you find yourself dialling for takeaway.
If you’ve never meal planned, take a look at my post on easy meal planning tips to get started.
Meal planning may seem like one more task you have to complete each week.
But once you’re in your meal planning groove you will be amazed at how much time it saves you and how much more healthily you and your family are eating.
It’s also well worth taking a look at my post on nine ways to eat more healthily.
This is another thing on the list where you think, “I just don’t have the time to do any exercise”.
But the thing is, you need to exercise your body to keep it in good working order.
Taking time to do this on a regular basis will help your life to flow more smoothly.
If you’ve never exercised before have a read of my post on how to build exercise into your daily life.
Even as little as a seven minute workout first thing in the morning or somewhere in your evening will make a difference.
14. Declutter your home
Decluttering your home is a big step towards leading a simpler life.
Too many material possessions is a symptom of a Western society gripped by consumerism.
The truth is we just don’t need that much STUFF in our lives.
If we stop consuming so much stuff we simplify our lives by not having to find the money to pay for the stuff.
If we declutter our homes we rid ourselves of the stuff that literally drains our energy and our attention.
How many times do you find yourself repeatedly tidying the same stuff?
Plan in some time to do a big declutter.
There is also the added benefit that you could even make some money from decluttering.
One of the most popular posts on Mums Make Lists details ways you can make money from your clutter.
15. Have less clothes
Pruning your wardrobe follows on nicely from decluttering your home.
Having a small capsule wardrobe is a great way to simplify your life.
I finally got myself into creating a capsule wardrobe earlier this year.
It’s been a revelation.
Especially as I’m an ex fashion stylist, who LOVES clothes.
The benefits are multiple.
- I now spend less time deciding what to wear each day
- I make more considered purchases – it has to fit in the capsule – which means I spend less time shopping
- Because I am buying less I am spending less
I also operate a seasonal wardrobe.
The non-season friendly clothes get stored in the attic in a vacuum storage bag.
I literally feel lighter and freer by having less clothes in my wardrobe.
16. Take five
This is one of the MOST IMPORTANT points on this list.
When was the last time you sat for a whole five minutes and did nothing?
Mobile out of reach.
Radio or TV off.
When was that?
Sitting quietly by yourself is so restorative.
It’s one step removed from meditation.
In fact it is a form of meditation.
If you don’t feel that you can sit for five minutes, then take yourself for a walk around the block.
Go on, try it.
You will find your mind wonders, but through the wondering you find a kind of freedom that is positively delicious.
This is when you have time to savour the simple things in life.
I really hope you’ve found these tips to simplify your life useful.
I know that employing these tips has helped my simplify my life to a point where it flows so much more smoothly.
My stress levels are down and my happiness levels are up.
Keen to make more changes to balance and harmonise your life? Take a look in the Wellbeing section.
- 8 Simple ways to change your life for the better
- 13 Ways to quit eating sugar
- 9 Easy ways to eat more healthily
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Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists. She has written about all aspects of organising family life for ten years. Her main areas of expertise are family finance and budgeting, simplifying housekeeping and family admin and kids’ party planning. Read more.