“Like all magnificent things, it’s very simple.” ― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
Life is simple, and yet we tend to make it complicated. We spend money on things we don’t actually need to please people we don’t like. We desire bigger houses, faster cars, and smarter phones – even if we know they cannot satisfy.
What people really need is a simple life. A life that isn’t filled with busyness and constant rushing, but one that’s occupied with contemplation, connection, and love for what is essential. If you are sick and tired of living a byzantine life, here are eight rules you can start with to keep your life simpler.
Know Your Priorities
We all have to make difficult decisions every day, and one of them is to decide what things we should prioritize. While there are many things that we consider important, most of them are not urgent. If you want to keep your life simple, you need to identify which of the things that bombard you every day need your immediate attention. Is it relationship building? Is it income generating? Is it worth your while? If the answer is no, remove it from your priority list. Take shopping for example. While many people consider it a form of therapy, it is actually a waste of time and money. How about watching TV? It’s just a distraction and will also eat your time. Knowing your priorities means pushing everything else aside, whether it be work or leisure, to make time for what is more important – your spouse, your kids, and your health.
To declutter means to get rid of distractions. It’s easy to declutter once you have set your priorities. One form of decluttering is to get rid of visual distractions at home. It could mean finding time to redecorate your house, but if it could lead to a less cluttered mind, then it’s worth your while. It could also mean emptying your inbox once a week, or deleting unnecessary files and folders from your computer. The less clutter you have to deal with, the simpler your life will become.
Avoid Overdoing Certain Things
Putting limits on certain things, even the ones you enjoy doing, is crucial to a simple life. For instance, if you have a habit of spending an hour a day surfing the internet, try to cut it down to thirty minutes a day. If you have a love for coffee and drink three to four cups a day, limit yourself to one cup daily. It will make your life simpler and will save you time and money in the process.
Learn to Focus
We are now living in the age of distraction, and it is now more than ever that we need focus in our lives. No, we have never been free from distractions, but never have distractions been this overwhelming. Phones, emails, social media, multiple tabs opened – all these things demand our attention every single moment, and we can’t find a way to focus, we might eventually suffer from mental breakdown. Focus is crucial to having a simple life, because it helps us concentrate our thoughts, energy, and resources on one thing at a time.
Don’t Worry About What to Wear
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” – Matthew 6:28,29
There’s nothing wrong with shopping for clothes from time to time. The problem comes in, though, when you start worrying about what to wear. According to studies, a person’s productivity can suffer from becoming mentally exhausted making a lot of irrelevant decisions, one of which is deciding what clothes to wear. This is the exact reason you see Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Barrack Obama wearing the same thing every day, at least in terms of color and design.
Don’t’ Worry About What to Eat
Eating the same thing daily (they should be healthy, obviously) is just as effective in simplifying your life as wearing the same clothing every day. Not only does it simplify your life, it also reduces your risk for obesity, as well as other diseases such as diabetes, heart problems, and cancer.
Treat Every Task or Activity Sacred
Whether it’s washing the dishes, reading the newspaper, writing an email, playing with your children, or bonding with your partner, treat the activity as sacred and deserving of your full attention. How can this make your life simpler, you ask? Well, it forces you to be 100% in the moment, and there’s nothing that could make life simpler than focusing on the simple and yet most essential things in life.
Have a Change of Heart
Finally, you need to have a change of heart if your life is to be simpler. There is no point applying all the tips mentioned if your heart and mind are not set to the task. To have a change of heart means to realize that having more is not better, and to realize that contentment is key to being truly happy and satisfied.
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