“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Leonardo da Vinci
A simple life means eliminating all but the essential, abandoning chaos for peace, and spending your time and energy on the things that are most important. However, as Leo Babauta writes, “getting to simplicity isn’t always easy. It’s a journey, not a destination, and it can often be a process of two steps forward, and one backward.”
Following on from my article 16 Tips to Simplify Your Life, here are 16 more tips that I have gathered from various sources and my own personal experience, and that I believe can help us all to simplify. Some of these I have down pat, while others I am still very much struggling with and working on:
1. Purge your stuff
It feels seriously good to get rid of stuff you don’t want! Try devoting a weekend to purging your junk – get boxes and trash bags, and divide your stuff into two piles: goods to donate and rubbish to toss.
2. Limit your communications.
Keeping up with endless flurry of emails, phone calls, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc can take up your whole day if you let it! Instead, put a limit on your communications: only check your email at certain times of the day, for a certain number of minutes. Same with any other communications. Set a schedule and stick to it.
3. Spend time alone.
More and more research is showing both the physiological and psychological benefits that “Alone Time” offers. While this is excruciatingly painful for me personally, I believe it is something that gets easier with practice, and that leaves one with an incredible sense of peace.
4. Limit your media consumption.
I am so personally aware of how media – TV, radio, Internet, magazines, etc. – seeks to dominate our lives. Don’t let it. Simplify your life and your information consumption by limiting it. Maybe try a media fast.
5. Simplify your wardrobe.
Is your closet bursting full? Get rid of anything you don’t actually wear.
6. Limit your buying habits.
This is a hard one for me, and I guess for many of us. But getting on top of our compulsion for materialism and consumerism creates great freedom and space in our lives. Less stuff, less spending, less frenetic.
7. Do what you love.
Make a list of things that make you “come alive” and be sure to spend some part of your day doing at least one of those things.
8. Spend time with people you love.
Nothing refreshes the soul like quality time with the people you love most.
9. Eat slowly.
This is probably the hardest for me! (If you’ve ever watched me eat you’ll know what I’m talking about!) But the truth is that when you cram food down your throat, you are not only missing out on the great taste of the food, you are also not eating healthy. Slow down to lose weight, improve digestion, and enjoy life more.
10. Clear your desk.
A cluttered desk can be distracting and stressful. Simply cleaning up your workspace can make a massive difference.
11. Establish routines.
The key to keeping your life simple is to create simple routines. A great article on that here.
12. Keep your email inbox empty.
Is your email inbox overflowing with new and read messages? Do the messages just keep piling up? If so, you’re normal — but you could be more efficient and your email life could be simplified with a few simple steps. Read More.
13. Eat healthy.
Being unhealthy is complicated – visits to the doctor, hospitalisation, taking meds, therapy etc. Eating healthy simplifies all of that greatly, over the long-term.
This goes along the same lines as eating healthy, as it simplifies your life in the long run, but it goes even further: exercise helps burn off stress and makes you feel better too!
Multi-tasking is a myth. It’s more complicated, more stressful, and generally less productive. Instead, do one task at a time.
16. Learn to do nothing.
Doing nothing can be an art form – one I have yet to master. But I do believe it is an essential skill to learn, and should be a part of our every life.