7 Steps to Simplifying Your Life
Who doesn’t love Christmas morning? The stockings, the gifts, the yummy cinnamon rolls and egg casserole – at least that’s how we roll at my house. It was always such fun as a parent to watch my kids unwrap their gifts and be delighted with the contents. This year I was able to enjoy that same fun feeling with my grandkids –at least my oldest grandson. My granddaughters are both still a bit young to truly enjoy the wonder of Christmas like they will in years to come.
The funny thing is that you can take care in picking the perfect present, and it turns out that the box it came in was the most fun of all! Kids have a way of delighting in the simple things!
Adults – we’re experts at complicating life in crazy ways! We hang on to things when we don’t really need them and we pack our schedules so full we don’t actually enjoy what we’ve filled our lives with. What if you began intentionally simplifying your life?
There’s even a whole magazine out there devoted to inspiring us to live in a more simplified way. Have you read an issue of RealSimple recently? The simple life is one that is free of clutter, unrushed, and quiet. It is focused on what’s most important and free of distractions; things that don’t really matter. It doesn’t collect – it savors! Doesn’t that sound calming and delicious? Most of us don’t need more excitement in our lives, we need more peace. Can I get an amen?
In nature, most things decompose – break down into something simpler. In life, however, the tendency is to add, making life increasingly more complex. Before you know it, you’ve created a life that you can barely keep up with or enjoy.
I hear people using the word “overwhelmed” more and more frequently – a tip off that life is anything but simple. There will always be moments when circumstances are crazy, but when you stack momentary crazy circumstances on top of an already ridiculously full life – the end result is exhaustion.
Maintaining a simple life requires boundaries, discipline, and confidence! It helps to have a clear sense of your values and what’s really important to you. My simple might not look anything like your simple!
If you aren’t careful, it’s easy to compare, and I dare say even judge, how others are executing simple. That’s why it’s essential that you become crystal clear on your own personality, purpose – who God created you to be, your strengths, and your values so that they can guide you in how YOU can best live simply.
In order to simplify life you must make some changes in how you approach life. Here are some changes you might want to make to simplify your life:
1. Tackle One Thing at a Time
Don’t fool yourself! Doing multiple things at one time doesn’t help you get more done. Instead,it makes the process less enjoyable and the quality of your work suffers. You might be out of practice, but being fully right where you are, and focused on one thing is an amazing feeling! Not to mention it leaves you feeling significantly less frazzled. Try it!
2. Slow Down
A complicated full life makes you feel a need to hurry. If you don’t, how will get everything done? Humans weren’t created to be perpetually in motion at break-neck speed! You may be able to keep it up for a time, but eventually it will take a toll on your health and slow you down in a way that’s definitely not fun!
Slowing down, and tackling one thing at a time for that matter, forces you to trust God and allows Him space to work in your life. It’s actually exciting! Slow and steady wins anyway, right?
It makes sense if you are going to tackle one thing at a time in a slower way to tackle the most important things. How do you figure out what’s most important? It isn’t always as straightforward as it seems! Often it’s what’s most urgent that gets your attention and often it’s urgent because you have not made it the priority it needed to be previously. You must come to grips that you can’t do everything!
When it comes to the tasks on your list of things to do, ask yourself these two questions: what task will bring me closer to my goals? What’s the impact of not doing this task?
If you’re bent toward productivity like I am, it can be difficult to justify pausing and taking a break. After dealing with Lyme, maintaining my health has been one of my goals making it easier to prioritize little things like going to bed early or making time to reflect and journal.
What needs to be more of a priority in your life?
4. Be Realistic
I’m constantly coming up with exciting ideas I want to act on. Even if I didn’t come up with ideas from here on out, I think I’d have enough to keep me busy until I’m 103! That’s just how my mind works. And no matter how diligent I am, I rarely accomplish everything I want to in a day. It’s a predictable conversation my husband and I have most every night. He asks how my day was and I say great – but I didn’t get everything done! Can you relate? It’s so easy to think you can complete things much quicker than is humanly possible. That’s why I love focusing on my top three things I want to accomplish in a day, and at the end of the day I choose to congratulate myself on what I WAS able to get done…and trust God that He will allow me to get to what needs to be done the next day. I’ve gotten much better, but I’m still a work in progress when it comes to being realistic – how about you?
5. Just Do Your Best
Did you know that a B+ is nothing to sneeze at? Yep! And that many “C” students are actually incredibly successful. That’s good news – you don’t have to do things perfectly! You just have to do them, and do them the best you can within the time allotted. Attempting to do things perfectly is impossible anyway and leads to procrastination. And if you keep putting things off, they don’t get done! Done is better than never started!
6. Say “No” More
The reason your life is full to the point of bursting is primarily your own doing. Saying yes to things when there’s no space left in your life. That’s why you have to become great at saying “no!” No explanation, just no!
7. Let Go!
Perhaps the difficult part of simplifying is the letting go of the stuff you don’t need any more and paring down. People hang on to things for all sorts of emotional and what if I need this kinds of reasons. Letting go frees up space for the new and fresh things you need in your life. What do you need to let go of? Don’t forget that it isn’t just stuff you might need to let go of. Consider habits, mindsets, relationships, and more that are not serving you well.
It’s easy to complicate the process of simplifying. Don’t try to conquer this list all at once. Changes are more likely to stick when you make them one by one. Back to that “tackle one thing at a time!”
Wouldn’t it be nice to experience more peace and calm in your life? To delight in the simple things like the box a gift comes in?
In an effort to simplify, what one thing would you like to focus on first? How will making that change benefit you?