What do you do when you know you want to simplify, but are so over-committed and stressed that you can’t even bear the thought of adding simplifying to your to do list?
Many people know they want a simpler, less hectic life, a life less rushed and lived more at their own pace, but they aren’t sure how to go about beginning. We all have 24 hours in a day, and between family, work and other obligations, we can quickly become overwhelmed. So, where and how do you fit in starting your journey towards simpler living?
Step 1-Identify your main goal. Why do you want or need a simpler life? Is your house always messy? Are you chronically tired and running on too few hours of sleep? Do you want to spend more time with your loved ones? Is your health suffering because of too many convenience foods and not enough home cooked dinners? Identify your main purpose for wanting to live more simply, it then becomes easier to see and remove those things that are keeping you from that goal.
-Step 2-Focus on one thing at a time. Once we have the clarity of purpose and are ready to dive into simple living, it is very tempting to try to simplify all parts of our life simultaneously. Try to resist the urge, and focus on one area (your main goal) at a time. If you feel like clutter is your worst enemy, start your road to simple living by decluttering your home, one area at a time. If you feel like your time is over committed, begin simpler living by removing one extra commitment or activity at a time, until you achieve a level of commitments you are comfortable with.
-Step 3-Find the time to start. Sometimes finding the time is the largest roadblock when it comes to getting started living a simpler life. If you already feel so stressed and overextended that you are living life in a myriad of hazy, half-awake days, it can be difficult to even think about when you will fit these initial steps in. But, you must. Even those of us who are the most rushed in our days still find time to catch parts of our favorite TV show, check on our friends on Facebook, grab a bite to eat with our friends or go shopping. Everyone should be able to find at least 15-20 minutes a day to working on simplifying their life. A lot a very specific time of day to the process of simplifying and stick with it, you will start to see progress.
-Step 4-Decide what should go. In all of our lives, personally, professionally and emotionally, we have those things that are ‘essential’ and those that are ‘non-essential’. When you are simplifying, you must decide what the non-essentials are, and let them go. If you are sleep deprived, decide what activities are keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep, and uncommit from them, or stop doing them (that evening TV episode). If your main goal is more time spent with loved ones, evaluate what is keeping you from doing so. Is it work, too much time with friends, endlessly checking Facebook? Figure out where your time is being spent, and simplify what you are choosing to spend it on.
-Step 5-Make intentional choices. If you do any of these steps, and I hope you do, make sure you implement this one from this very moment. Stop where you currently are and be intentional about every choice you make from here on out, and it will have a huge impact on the level of stress and overwhelm you feel. Make a commitment to yourself to say ‘no’ more often to activities, projects at work, long phone conversations with people and spending too much time on the Internet. When you are shopping, stop before you make your purchases and take one more look at what you have and ask yourself if the item is useful, necessary or will it make your life better. You can do this for any item, including food. Being very mindful and intentional about what you bring into your life starting right now will greatly simplify things immediately.
Making your life simpler can sometimes seem anything but simple. Work at it a little each day and you will see progress. Start now with making intentional choices and only saying ‘yes’ to those things that will move you towards living more simply.
If you’ve started simplifying your life, what steps have you taken that have helped you move forward?