Modern*Simplicity

Creating a Life Free From Chaos

10 Habits to Simplify Your Life

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Simplifying can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it all at once. Changing one process or habit can make a big difference, so try taking baby steps to whittle your way to a simpler lifestyle. Here are 10 things that you can do today to start working on a simpler lifestyle. Choose one and try it today. Tomorrow, or next week, you can choose another. The important part is just to get started.

  1. Reset your home each night before bed. Spend 10-15 minutes on a quick run-through of your home. Straighten books, pick up toys, gather clothes that didn’t quite make it to the laundry basket, take dishes to the kitchen, and hang up jackets. Sort, open and act on your mail. This is just a quick pick up to keep the clutter at bay.
  2. Do one thing each day. Pick a drawer, closet, or shelf that’s driving you crazy, and work on it for at least 10 minutes. By focusing on doing one little thing each day, you’ll move closer to the simpler life you’re seeking.
  3. Reduce the amount of “stuff” that you have in your home. Cutting back on the amount of stuff allows you to focus on what you do have and can also keep you from buying more stuff you don’t need. Reducing consumption is one of the most important steps toward a sustainable lifestyle. As you shed your stuff, you’ll have more energy and focus for “life” and you’ll free up time to do things you really want to do instead of worrying about taking care of and accumulating more stuff. To get started, take at least one thing out every day. Walk through your home with a critical eye and look for things you don’t need, use or want. Keep a box by the garage or front door for temporary storage until you can drop the box at a local charity.
  4. Load (and, if necessary, run) the dishwasher or hand wash the dishes. Dirty dishes on the counter, sink and anywhere else in your home are invitations to pests and bacteria, not to mention the distinct possibility of unwanted smells or the growth of new life. Additionally, they clutter up your kitchen and make preparing meals a pain. You’re more likely to save a few bucks and eat at home if your kitchen is clean and ready to be used.
  5. Never leave a room empty handed. When you leave the room, for whatever reason, be sure to grab that glass that needs to go back to the kitchen, the trash on the table that needs to hit the bin, the shoes that need to go by the door, or the book that needs to head back to the office. This will also make your daily evening reset go much faster.
  6. Drop one commitment. Think about all the things in your life that you’re committed to doing, and try to find one that you can let go. Is there something you dread doing? Something that takes up time but doesn’t give you much value in return? Decide today to drop that commitment. Make a phone call or send an email, and let the appropriate people know that you need to stop. You’ll feel relieved, and you’ll free up some time and energy for something that’s more important to you.
  7. Simplify your To-Do list. If your To-Do list is more than 10 items long, you can probably simplify it a bit. Try to find at least a few tasks that can be eliminated, delegated or automated. Shorten the list.
  8. Schedule more time. We rush through the day, from one appointment or task to another, until we collapse on the couch, exhausted, at the end of the day. Instead, simplify your life by doing less, then schedule more time for each task. If you normally allow 15 minutes between appointments, schedule 30. If it normally takes you 30 minutes to drive to that errand, give yourself 45 minutes. Eat slower, drive slower, walk slower, work slower. Savor the slowness and the calmness that comes from not hurrying.
  9. Single-task. Instead of multi-tasking, do one thing at a time. We’ve been conditioned to think that multi-tasking is THE way to work, but really it can be overwhelming and distracting. Resist the urge to check email or do some other habitual task while you’re completing a task at hand. Stick to that one task until you’re done. It’ll make a huge difference in both your stress level and your productivity.
  10. Go to bed earlier. Most of us are sleep deprived, feeling draggy and exhausted all day and relying on caffeine and sugar pick-me-ups to feel even a little energetic. Make a point to go to bed a little earlier tonight, even if only 15 minutes earlier than usual. Keep it up for a couple of days, then move your bedtime back another 15 minutes. Keep this up until you find that sweet sleep spot where you can get to sleep quickly and wake up refreshed in the morning. Being well-rested and alert will make all your other simplifying tasks (and your most complicated tasks as well) that much easier to handle, since you’ll have a clear head and some energy to tackle them.

2 Replies

  1. Great ideas. I especially like resetting your house at night it is amazing what a single day’s clutter can lead to a full blown messy house. Yes, I never leave a room empty handed though I wish someone other than me would pick up stuff too.

  2. Finding the sweet sleep spot is something I’ve adapted to. I’ve learned, especially on the weekends, if I can’t sleep in because of the kid, I’ll take my sleep from the other side. The trick is making sure that you wake naturally or in a good part of your sleep cycle, otherwise everything is thrown off.

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