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10 steps to simplify your life


In our busy lives, we sometimes allow things to become complex and difficult. Take a step back and look at the areas of your life that you can simplify.

1. Take stock

Look at all of the different aspects of your life and decide which parts are overly complicated or draining. Is your office a mess? Are your finances out of control? Relationships unhealthy? Are you taking care of yourself? Take a few minutes to reflect on your life balance and then choose one area to begin working on.

2. Physical environments

Most of us accumulate more ‘stuff’ than we will ever need. Spend a few hours creating some physical space in your life. Even if you claim that you’re happy in an untidy environment, you’ll feel more relaxed if there’s at least one area of your home that is clutter free. Leo Babauta from zenhabits has some great tips about how to get started.

3. Create reserves

When we’re busy we often find ourselves stretched for time and expending too many resources. Running on empty burns you out so keep some reserves in all areas of your life. Allow an extra ten minutes to get to appointments so you’re not always rushing; open a ‘rainy day’ savings account to cover unexpected emergencies like the car breaking down and make a couple of extra meal servings to keep in your freezer for the days when you can’t be bothered cooking

4. Know where your time goes

Look back over your diary for the past two weeks. Where did your time go? If you can’t tell at a glance, time track for a week or so, recording everything you do in half hour blocks so you know which activities need more time allocated and which activities you can let go of.

5. Streamline your finances

Financial wellbeing is all about feeling in control − not about the size of your bank account. Work out a simple budget and make sure you’re able to save at least 10% of your income. Find out if you can get this paid directly into a high interest savings account and then automate the payment of as many bills as you can. Scott Pape from the barefoot investor has some great ideas about taking control of your finances.

6. Review your relationships

A simple rule of thumb when evaluating your relationships is to ask yourself ‘do I feel more than or less than?’ after catching up. Life is short so you want to spend your time with people who make you feel good about yourself and who enrich your life in some way. Give yourself permission to let go of an unhealthy relationship.

7. Simplify your routine

A little routine and a bit of planning makes your life simpler. Planning exercise times, preparing meals for the week ahead, choosing your work outfit the night before and spending ten minutes tidying the kitchen before heading to bed make a difference to how you begin each day.

8. Streamline your workflow

Understand which part of the day works best for each of your key tasks. I know I’m happier returning phone calls in the afternoon and that I write more freely after I’ve exercised, so I schedule these things at the times that are best for me.

9. Keep aside time to be creative

Creative activities bring us fully into the moment, making us focused, centred and often calm (as long as you don’t have huge expectations of yourself). We are all creative beings. Make time to pursue a creative activity of your choice for at least a few hours each week.

10. Make space

Try not to fill every hour of every day with busy activities. Make space for being as well as doing. Fill this time with activities that restore you, like being in nature, listening to music, reading, journalling, gardening, being with friends, resting or whatever it is that you find soothing.

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Posted in: Relationships
Kate James

About the author

Kate James is an author, coach and mindfulness teacher. She works with female leaders and business owners to help them clarify their values and strengths and discover a mindset that allows them to live confident, purposeful lives.