More and more, we find our lives becoming overwhelmed with clutter and chaos. We have so many things going on and so much stuff that takes up space in our homes. This can easily make it difficult to focus on the things that matter in our lives. At least that’s how I feel. And I’m guessing if you’ve clicked on this blog post, you feel the same. So how can you simplify your life?
Minimalism is a concept that I first read about in a blog post about three years ago. I started researching a lot about the idea of living with less. Of reducing the amount of items that you own.
Although I liked the idea of minimalism, I became too focussed on the numbers.
It was all about reducing your wardrobe down to 30 items or getting rid of 50% of your things. For me, this mindset didn’t seem logical because the things that I like or need right now might be different a year from now. And it also didn’t make financial sense to me to get rid of things that I’d maybe have to buy again in the future, just for the sake of reaching a specific number target.
Because of this, I very quickly gave up the idea of extreme minimalism.
However, since then I have started being a lot more mindful about the things that I own and the things that I spend my time on.
Although I am not an extreme minimalist, I have started applying some of the principles of minimalism in a balanced way to make my life easier.
I am sharing these 7 tips today with you, in hope that you will find inspiration to simplify your life.
These tips cover different areas of your life that you can simplify, and will help you to let go of what is unnecessary to allow you to focus on what is important to you.
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I am starting with the most obvious tip that will simplify your life. Decluttering.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines decluttering as:
I love this definition because it really gets down to why we declutter. To make our spaces more ‘pleasant’ and ‘useful’.
That means only decluttering the things that are not useful to you or things you don’t love.
The 4 Steps To Successful Decluttering
- Choose ONE area to declutter.
- Go through each individual item and ask yourself: Do I use this item? Do I love this item? Will I use it within the next year?
- Based on your answer to the questions above, decide if the item is worth keeping. Remember that every item you decide to keep will take up space in your home. You have to decide whether you think the item is worth the space it takes up.
- REPEAT these steps will all areas of your home.
This process may take some time. To make it more manageable try to declutter one area a day. That way you’re not trying to tackle your entire home at one time.
When you have successfully decluttered your entire home, consider these three things to keep your home clutter-free.
Make sure everything has a home
Your home will not stay clutter-free if you don’t know where your things belong.
Now that you have a decluttered space, take a look at your home and observe your things. Is everything put away neatly? Are there things out on the surfaces or shoved in boxes that are difficult to find?
Having a home for all of your things will ensure that you can put them away easier.
Keep your surfaces clutter-free
Clutter attracts more clutter.
When you start leaving a few things out on your surfaces, it’s easy to keep adding to the clutter.
If you make it a habit to always put things away you won’t want to leave things out because your home is always clutter-free.
The first few weeks of making this a habit will be difficult but you just have to keep at it.
Having a clutter-free home will allow you to stress less and focus on the things that matter to you.
Shop with intention
When you have organised your home and created homes for all of your things, bringing in new items can disrupt the system you have set up.
Before you buy something new ask yourself if you really need that item.
Then think about where in your home it would be kept.
If you do not currently have anywhere for it to go, make sure you are able to make space for it.
Shopping with intention will keep your home from getting too cluttered again.
2. Digital declutter
After decluttering your home, it is really important to declutter your digital space too.
We spend more and more time on our phones and laptops than ever. Your devices also fill up with things that aren’t useful and things that take up storage space.
One easy way to simplify your digital life is to unsubscribe from email newsletters.
Most of us sign up for email lists that we then don’t open or read emails from.
If you find yourself never reading newsletters or emails from a particular company, unsubscribe from the list.
It’s really easy. Most newsletters have a button at the bottom of the email that says unsubscribe, which makes it easy to do so.
If you find that you have pages upon pages of apps on your phone, it’s probably time to delete some.
Somehow apps just seem to accumulate on my phone. I download them to try out and when I don’t like them they just stay there.
If you have the same problem, go through your phone now and delete every app that you don’t use regularly. This will make it easier to find the ones you do use.
Clean your desktop
I used to save downloads, screenshots and documents onto my desktop.
That always made my desktop look really cluttered and overwhelming.
Create folders and organise your files in a system that works well for you. That way you will find your files a lot easier and your desktop won’t feel so cluttered.
Spend less time on social media
Apart from cleaning out and decluttering your digital space, spending less time on social media will also help you to simplify your life.
Social media can easily become very time-consuming. When we spend so much time on it, we’re not focussing on other areas of our life.
One of the main reasons for simplifying your life is to have more time to focus on achieving your goals and improving your life.
If a lot of your time is consumed by social media, you are taking away from time that you could spend working towards your dreams or spending time with family and friends.
Have technology free time
One way to spend less time on social media and technology in general is to schedule technology-free time.
Of course all of us need technology to work and to organise our lives. It is a very crucial thing in our lives.
However, sometimes it’s great to just take 30 minutes or 1 hour off from technology. I find that this often helps me to focus more since I don’t have as many distractions.
3. Stop multitasking
Another easy way to simplify your life is to stop multitasking.
If you’re trying to get work done whilst watching tv or listening to music, it’s easy to get distracted.
Even though you may think that you’re good at doing multiple things at once, it could be slowing you down a lot because you’re not as focussed as you could be.
And when you think about it, how can your brain be expected to fully focus on a task when it’s getting so much input from your surroundings?
By simplifying your environment and only working on one task at a time, you will be able to concentrate better on the task at hand and do a better job in a shorter amount of time.
One way to make yourself work on one thing at a time is to use the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique works by doing tasks in 25-minute chunks at a time, separated by short breaks.
The reason why this technique is so useful is because you set a timer for 25 minutes and that gives you a short time-frame to work towards. You know that you only need to do the task for 25 minutes and you feel motivated to get as much done as possible in that time.
Here’s how you can use the Pomodoro Technique:
- Choose one task to focus on.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes.
- Work only on that task for 25 minutes (remember, no multitasking!).
- Take a 5 minute break.
- Repeat the process, either with the same task or something different.
4. Let go of distractions and focus on your goals
We all have goals, right?
Well how much time are you spending every day to work towards achieving your goals?
In order to accomplish your dreams you need to be working towards them consistently. Wishing won’t make it happen.
By letting go of distractions and focussing on what you want to achieve, you will simplify your life and reach your goals a lot quicker.
My latest blog post covers this topic in detail but here are my top tips.
Visualise your dreams
If you want to feel motivated to work towards your goals every day, you need to know what your goals look like.
It’s easy to say ‘I want to start my own business‘ or ‘I want to save more money‘, but what will achieving these goals look like?
You need to visualise how your life will be once you have achieved your goals.
In what ways will your life be better when you have achieved these dreams?
The problem that we all have with goals is that we forget why we want to achieve them. And all the hard work we have to do to get there doesn’t seem worth it.
But it will be worth it. You just have to remember to always keep your goals at the front of your mind.
Schedule working towards your goals
An easy way to remember to work towards your goals is to put it in your calendar.
Break your goals down into small, actionable tasks and schedule time for doing them.
Even if it’s just 3 one-hour blocks spread out across the week, you will be 3 hours closer to where you want to be.
Set one important task every day
An easy way to make working towards your goals a habit is to set one task every day.
It doesn’t have to be a big task or a time-consuming task. But doing a little bit every day will slowly get you to where you want to be.
Track your progress
Make sure you have a way to track your progress. If you can’t see your improvement you may feel discouraged to continue.
By using some sort of tracker, you will feel motivated to keep going and to see better results.
You can track lots if different things that will encourage you.
If you are starting a blog, you could track your monthly sessions. Or you could track the amount of hours you are working on your blog every day. If you are saving money you can track the actual money saved or the amount of no-spend days you have achieved.
5. Create more than you consume
If you want to simplify your life and get rid of the things that take up a lot of your valuable time, consider applying this principle to your life.
To create more than you consume is a rule I first heard about a few months ago and it is a great motivator.
If you look at how you spend your free time, how much time do you spend consuming things? ie. watching netflix or youtube, reading, scrolling through facebook etc.
And how much time do you spend actually creating things? ie. writing, cooking, doing crafts etc.
In today’s society, most of us spend more time consuming than creating. This often leaves us feeling tired because we are not using our body or our mind. If you consider how lazy and drained you feel after watching hours of tv, you will understand how creating more can improve your well-being.
When we create things and use our bodies and minds, we feel better because we are stimulated and we see the outcome of our hard work when we have created something new.
What counts as creating?
You might be wanting to create more but unsure of what exactly it is you can do.
Creating can be pretty much anything that you do that has some sort of outcome. Usually, when you create something you end up with a final product. Something physical to show for your work. But sometimes what you create isn’t tangible.
For example, exercising can be counted as creating. You won’t see results right away but you are actively working to strengthen your body.
Whatever it is you choose to do, remember that you don’t have to be good at it. The important thing is that you spend time always creating new things.
6. Spend more on experiences and less on things
Another way to reduce the amount you consume, is to spend more money on experiences and less on material things.
Although we all like to buy new things from time to time, excessively spending money on items that you bring into your home can overwhelm you and create clutter.
By replacing this habit with spending money on experiences such as travelling, you not only stop clutter from entering your home but you also get to experience new places and activities.
What type of experiences are there?
I would consider experiences most things that involve leaving your home (except for shopping), such as visiting a nearby town, going to the cinema, or visiting a local market.
Classes such as cooking classes, or yoga classes are experiences that also teach you new skills in a fun environment with new people.
By investing in experiences rather than physical things you will simplify your life and improve how you spend your time.
7. Let go of perfectionism
This is probably the most important thing I want you to take away from this post.
If you want to simplify your life, you need to let go of perfectionism.
With us spending so much time on social media, it is really easy to compare your life to those presented on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and so many more.
But what other people show on social media doesn’t always represent the truth and comparing yourself to that won’t help.
You need to remember that it is okay to not be perfect.
And understanding this will help you to take control of your life and work bit by bit to declutter and focus on your goals. You don’t need to be perfect all the time, you just need to keep on working on what you want to achieve.
One final note
Simplifying our lives is something that we could all do more of. I think, like many of you, that I have moments when I really focus on decluttering and simplifying my life and moments when I forget all about it.
That is the problem we all face. We all too easily forget what it is we want our lives to look like and rely on bad habits.
But that’s okay.
If you don’t follow these 7 tips all of the time, don’t worry about it. Doing a little bit every now and then will bring you on the right track.
If you feel like you’ve been following bad habits for a while now, this is the perfect moment to take control of your life and focus on what matters to you.
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