Are you feeling stressed out or burnt out? Maybe it’s time to think about simplifying your life!
It always strikes me as odd that in this day and age, when we have so much technology that is supposed to help to increase productivity that so many are struggling to get things done. Nowadays, many find themselves feeling overworked, overloaded and overwhelmed fairly regularly. This is because our schedules are filled with work, home and school obligations, chores, family needs, social media, video games, television and so much more. And while most of us want to experience a happy and healthy life, stress is on the increase as we find ourselves bombarded with more obligations and stuff.
Does this sound like you? Are you tired of being tired? Do you feel like you are constantly running on a hamster wheel and getting nowhere? Then maybe it’s time to start simplifying your life.
Here are 14 things that you can do to simplify your life!
- Get your face out of your cell phone! It is amazing how much time and productivity people waste daily on their smart phones. It has almost become a mass addiction as many find themselves going through withdrawal when away from their phone for an extended period. I personally realized that this was a problem in my life when I recognized that the first thing I reached for when I woke up in the morning and the last thing I looked at before going to sleep was my phone! Our phones put us in a position where we are always connected and as a result it is causing stress and anxiety. Our phones are also decreasing productivity and are negatively affecting our most important relationships as well. Do what you can to limit smart phone use. Resist the urge to constantly use social media or text message others, particularly while at work or while with friends or family members. You will find that you get far more done and have more time to do the things that are really important to you.
- Turn off the TV! Watching television is another huge time waster. Especially since the average American watches five hours of television a day. Think about how different your life would be if you reclaimed 35 hours a week. And most of the programming on television is highly negative and very stressful! How would it feel to get out and do things that really fed your soul, or spent time with the people that you truly love? You can’t get that sitting staring at a television screen in a state of hypnosis. So start limiting how much television you watch each week and you’ll be amazed at how much that simplifies your life….quickly!
- Clear out the clutter! We live in a world that is focused on stuff. We need all of the latest gadgets and goodies and as a result, we often find that our stuff starts bursting out of our closets and drawers and the clutter begins to pile up. Having clutter around the house actually causes stress. It does this because as we look around we can visually see the chaos and know that it needs to be cleaned up. The more clutter, the more internal stress and overwhelm. Last year, I went on a clutter rampage! I systematically went through my house room by room and drawer by drawer and cleared out years of stuff that had not been used or even seen the light of day. Goodwill and the Salvation Army got a whole lot of donations from me during the two months that I was purging…and I’m now in the process of purging even more! You would be amazed at how many things you have more than one of. Get rid of it! It is taking up space. You will be absolutely amazed at how much lighter you will feel when you start sorting and getting rid of what you no longer need!
- Simplify your wardrobe! Many people have closets and drawers filled with clothes that they never wear. Some are too big or too small, and they just sit there collecting dust. Take the time to go through the clothes and find the ones that you really love, that make you happy and that make you feel good. Get rid of those things that don’t fit or that don’t really bring you pleasure. You can easily donate them, sell them at a consignment shop (if they are in good condition) or give them away.
- Cut down your spending habits. If most people took a hard look at their budget, they would be surprised at how much money flies out the door for things that are really unnecessary. Visiting the local coffee shop several times a week, eating out a few times a week and other things like that really add up. Cutting back on those things doesn’t mean that you can never enjoy them, But that is money that can be used for things that are more meaningful….a vacation for the family, a new piece of furniture needed for the house, investing it for the future. I have begun making my own coffee drinks and love that I know exactly what I’m putting in them…and how much less they cost! We also limit eating out, which is much better on our digestive systems and wallets!
- Start menu planning! This is great for not only simplifying your life, but also cutting down your food budget! There are tons of great tools available, such as sites like Plantoeat.com which costs about $5 a month or Pepperplate which is a free website and mobile app. There are also tons of free menu planning templates for those who prefer to do their planning by hand. Menu planning makes things easier by allowing you to not have to stress over what to fix for dinner each night. Be sure to include plenty of simple to prepare slow cooker meals or stove top skillet meals to keep dinnertime simple.
- Cut back your obligations. We all know the feeling of having too much on our plate so that we feel overwhelmed and stressed out. And many of us are taking on way too many obligations! The best way out of this is to learn to say no….without guilt. No one is a superman or woman and we just can’t do it all. If someone asks you to commit to something, instead of saying yes right away, simply tell them that you need to check your schedule to see if you are available to take that obligation on. Then take the time to assess whether or not you actually do have the time. If not, simply let them know that you are too booked. Do let them know as soon as possible. And don’t feel guilty about it! There really is no need.
- Clean out your inbox. If you find that your email box is way too full, then maybe it’s time to start doing a little un-enrolling from newsletters and advertising. I used to get so many newsletters and ads from companies that I had done business with that my inbox was overflowing. What happens then is that you don’t really get to absorb the information from the sites that you want to follow the most. So you can go through and manually unsubscribe to newsletters and email advertising just by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. This can take a little time, but is so worth it. You can also use a service like Unroll.me which can help you more quickly unsubscribe to newsletters and ads that you don’t want to see anymore. Keep only those that you really read and use and it will make checking email much easier!
- Clear out your social media “friends” list! Do you really need all of those Facebook friends? You know the ones that I’m talking about….the high school people that didn’t like you back in school, but now have friended you, The person that you met once and really don’t know, or the friend of a friend that you’ve never met in your life. These people are not really your friends! Paring down your social media friends will allow you to have more from the people who really are your family and friends in your news feed! And if you truly want to simplify your life, then you should really be limiting your time on social media anyway! That will allow you to do things that are more meaningful than trolling Twitter, surfing Facebook or pinning things that you will never create on Pinterest!
- Live in the now! Have you ever really paid attention to what is really going on in your mind? Most of us pretty much let our thoughts run on auto-pilot, and as a result we spend a lot of time rehashing things that happened in the past or worrying about what could happen in the future. When we live in the present moment, we are really living because we can’t truly live in the past or the present. One good way to practice being present in the now is to begin a meditation practice. That will help you to train your mind to be present in the moment.
When you begin to simplify your life, you will discover that not only will your stress decrease, but you will feel happier and more free as well. Simplifying your life will allow you to truly focus on the things that are most meaningful to you in your life and get rid of some of the things that are wasting your time!
Photo credit: © Photocreo Bednarek