25 Simple Ways to Simplify Your Life and Focus on What’s Truly Important

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.—Hans Hofmann

When I met my wife 10 years ago, she was a minimalist and I was, well, the opposite. I was an impulsive consumer, always “wanting” and “needing” the latest and greatest. I held on to things both physical and emotional. I kept things, like clothes that I hadn’t worn in years, because I thought maybe one day I would want to wear them again or they would come back in style.  I held onto emotional stuff mainly because I wasn’t even aware of the harm it was doing to me. I held grudges, anger and resentment and had a lot of trouble letting go. I was always “busy” mostly because I was disorganized, I couldn’t say NO and I always wanted to please everyone. As the years went on, my wife fortunately started rubbing off on me and showed me lots of easy ways to simplify my life.

Looking back over the past 10 years I realized that everyone can benefit from her lessons, so I put together this list. Simplifying your life is a process of eliminating everything that is not essential, getting rid of clutter, both emotional and physical, and reducing excess and complexities. This in turn reduces stress and frees up time and space, so you can do the things you actually want to do and help you on the road to a more meaningful life. Even small changes in our environment, thoughts,  habits and attitude can make a big difference in our lives. Funny thing is, this started as a list of 100 easy ways to simplify your life, but instead I decided that the first step to simplifying your life would be to cut down this list. So here are the top 25 ways that worked for me, let us know what works for you.

  1. When introducing something new into your life, always ask yourself, “Will this help to simplify my life?”
  2. Learn to say NO and limit your commitments. Don’t try to please everyone.
  3. Set priorities for yourself and do those things first. Keep one short to-do list with only the most important things at any given time.
  4. Do one thing at a time, focus on it and give it your all.
  5. Finish things completely, so that you won’t have to come back to it over and over again.
  6. Spend time on Sunday preparing and organizing your to-do list and calendar so that you are ready for the upcoming week. And spend 5 minutes at the end of each day to plan for the next day.
  7. Get up 20-30 minutes earlier so that you don’t feel rushed in the morning.
  8. Create an organization system that works for you.  Getting Things Done by David Allen is one of our favorite books on organization.
  9. Check email only 1-2 times a day. Once you read an email do something with it; respond, delete, or archive.
  10. Don’t buy stuff you don’t absolutely NEED, and always sleep on big purchases. For every new item that enters your home give one away.
  11. Get rid of stuff you don’t use; clothes, household items or anything else that isn’t useful or meaningful to you anymore or that you haven’t worn or used in the past 6 months. Give that stuff away to those who have less than you and actually need it.
  12. Clean as you go and don’t put it off until later. To make this easier you should have a designated place for everything
  13. Consolidate your errands and shop with a grocery list, to avoid making extra trips for forgotten items.
  14. Automate any bills and payments possible and pay your bills on time.
  15. Limit your information consumption. Cancel subscriptions for magazines, newspapers and unsubscribe from catalogs and junk mail. Catalog Choice is a free service to opt out of catalogs, junk mail, phone books, circulars and more. Unsubscribe from emails newsletters and RSS feeds that don’t provide value anymore.
  16. Reduce the amount of TV you watch.
  17. Let go of things you can’t change.
  18. Don’t worry too much about what other people think about you.
  19. Ask for help.
  20. Don’t get caught up in other people’s drama. Pick your battles. Most things are not worth fighting for. Just let them go.
  21. Go with the flow – You can’t control everything, let them happen as they may.
  22. Don’t hold grudges. Forgive, it will free up your time and energy for the things that are important to you.
  23. Face your fears.
  24. Choose to be happy and at peace with yourself
  25. Be grateful for what you have and for everything in your life. Maybe even start a gratitude journal or send thank you notes. A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik is a wonderful example of the power of gratitude.

Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.—Lao Tzu

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