By Caitlin Harper
Living simply does not have to mean living without, it truly means living more organized. Organization is the key to simplifying your life, and through simplification comes a more stress free lifestyle. Confucius said it best, “life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
1. What Matters- The first step to simplifying is prioritizing. Make a list of everything and everyone you can think of. This list should include people, responsibilities, pleasure activities, and anything that comes to mind- because if you are thinking about it that means it requires mental space. If it does not come to mind, then it is not important. Include people, places, and things you don’t like as well. After you have compiled a list of everything you can think of cross off anything that is not important now and will not be important a year from now. This will feel great and is the first step in simplifying your life. Now that you know what is important, prioritize them. Think of the strength of the importance now and also how important it will be years from now to help organize your list. These are the only items you will focus on. Nothing else truly matters, and the people, events, and places crossed off are just mind clutter.
2. Buy a Planner- This is a life changing step to simplifying. No one can remember everything, and knowing exactly what you have to accomplish every day will help simplify your schedule. You should stick to your planner – nothing more and nothing less.
3. Never Rush- One of the biggest stressors I face is feeling rushed. Wake up early and then wake up earlier. Waking up early gives you more time to accomplish all your goals of the day. Have your schedule in your planner and add 30 minutes to every activity so you never feel like you are running out of time. This buffer room will allow your schedule to stay more intact and also allows a little deserved down time if you accomplish your task on schedule.
4. Eat Simply- Begin to see your body as a vehicle that needs to be fueled. Your body does not need processed junk food, it needs real and organic foods to run its best. Stock up on fruits, veggies, complex carbohydrates, fish, and meat. Cooking real food can take longer than cooking food that is made for the microwave, so plan your meals in advance. Start cooking for the first half of the week on Sundays and the second half of the week on Wednesdays. Also put down the complicated drinks and go back to the basics- water.
5. Declutter your Home- When your house Is a mess so is your mind. Take a weekend to purge your house of anything unnecessary. Unnecessary is something you don’t use at least once every 6 months or something that wouldn’t be sentimental for generations of family members to come. After you get rid of the extra things in your life, clean your home thoroughly. You will be so much happier and more relieved entering your house when it is clean.
6. Use Cash- Using cash will simplify your budgeting. Paper money allows you to see all the money you are physically losing with every purchase. On Mondays take out the amount of money you want to budget for the week. Use only that money and do not use any credit or debit cards. You will be surprised by how much less money you spend when you get to see the money leave your wallet.
7. Do One Thing well at a Time - Do not multitask !!! People can not do more than one thing well at a time. Focus creates the best product and multitasking does not improve focus. Multitasking will also not make you more productive. If you spend focused time on one project then that project will be completed faster and better than if you are balancing multiple projects.
8. Spend time with the people that make you happy- After making a list of what is important you have discovered the people who are important. Nothing is simpler than spending the time with the people who make you happy. Relationships make us live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Always schedule time for the people you love, they are natural stress relievers!