Life is slipping away. Can you feel it? Your kid’s homemade slime is now nothing more than a sticky mess. The article you wrote for that magazine has only been seen by your awe-inspired eyes. And the fantastic weekend you had with your family hiking through the woods already feels like a distant memory.
This fast-paced world we now live in…you can’t change that. But here’s what you can change: your speed. You can take steps today to simplify your life so you always have time for what matters most.
Let’s learn some important ways to simplify your life so you always have time for what matters most. A more simple lifestyle will allow you to live an intentional life!
Simplify. Organize. Prioritize.
This is where Practigal Blog was born–from the idea that life’s too short to spend all of it working for more stuff, only to spend more time than you ever wanted shopping, cleaning, organizing, and taking care of said stuff.
Practigal Blog was started to help you simplify and organize your life so that you can prioritize what (and who) you love.
And, only to spend less and less time with your family and friends because you’ve let THINGS steal your time instead of letting PEOPLE capture your attention.
The tagline for Practigal Blog is also how I try to live my life daily: SIMPLIFY. ORGANIZE. PRIORITIZE. In that order. It’s a process that I use to constantly re-evaluate my life. It’s how I make sure that my life is still my life. The one that God has given me, in particular, to live.
What does it mean to simplify your life?
Simplifying often goes hand-in-hand with decluttering. “Declutter” is just a buzzword of our day in age for simplify.
When you declutter your home, your time, and your mind, what you are really doing is simplifying all of those things. Once you simplify, what’s left is only what you love. And what’s left is worth organizing.
You organize what’s left so that this worthwhile stuff doesn’t begin to complicate and take over your life again. You manage it all to protect the amount of house, time, freedom, and energy you got back when you first decluttered.
I love what Joanna Gaines said about simple living in The Magnolia Journal:
Simplicity may not be magic, but it is a little bit magical.”
Finally, you prioritize the heck out of everything. You decide, of all the things you love, what you love the most, and you give these most-lovely things the most of your time.
Prioritize what’s left so that what you love most gets the most. The most of your affection. The most of your life. Every day.
You Have to Want a Simple Lifestyle
Living a simpler lifestyle is freedom, but it will only feel that way when your heart is in it. If you don’t honestly want to change your life this way, trying to live this way will only be that….trying. It will feel like another chore. Another to-do list. Another desire brings you guilt.
If that’s you, please stop reading. I am not here to guilt you into wanting to simplify your life.
But, if you find yourself there, where you want a more straightforward, free life more than anything else, I have some small ways for you to start moving in that direction today. You can learn how to minimize your life little by little over time in the ways you need.
Check them out and see what you think. Will doing these things bring more life to your life? If so, give them a try…
Ways to Simplify Your Life
1. Learn To Say No.
The first way to simplify your life is to learn to say no. If you haven’t learned the art of saying no, you must start here.
For many of us, this is the hardest part. How do you say no when asked to do a good thing? How do you say no when they are asking so nicely? And how do you say no when saying no means someone else will have to do it?
You just do. You say no and feel good about it because you know what you would be giving up…what you would be sacrificing.
Just because you are asked to do a good thing doesn’t make it your good thing. And don’t feel guilty that the responsibility will likely fall to someone else. It is up to that person to decide what they want to say no to.
Next, to simplify your life, think about decluttering and downsizing. This step could mean something different to each of us. What can you do without? (Besides the late-night breastfeeding sessions, frequent calming of nightmares, or early risers stealing your sleep (and joy?) that you can do nothing about.)
Ask yourself, “What can I change? What do I have little control over that I could live without?” Could you do without two rental houses to keep up? Could you do without three bathrooms to clean? What about those five mixing bowls? Or those three Bible studies (yep, I said it!) or books you are reading?
Me too. I can do without all of that.
3. Slow Down.
You may need to slow down to simplify your life. Just slow. The freak. Down. And breathe. Stop running from thing to thing.
If you are doing this regularly, you are doing too many things. If just the thought of adding a get-together to your already busy schedule (with friends and family you love to be around) gives you anxiety, you are doing too much.
4. Put Your Phone Away (or At Least Turn Off Notifications).
Another way to simplify your life is to minimize your time on your phone. In our technology-driven society, it has become the expectation to answer your phone, text, and email…immediately.
It doesn’t have to. You don’t have to. People will change their expectations of you when you help shape them.
Make a habit of putting your phone away when spending time with the people you love. When you are in the middle of something and someone calls or texts you, respond with a simple, “I can’t talk now. Can I call you later?”
Or better yet, let it go to voicemail and call them back when it makes sense for you to do so.
When you get an email you don’t have time to adequately respond to, mark it as unread and do it later.
5. Plan Your Priorities.
If you want to simplify your life, you HAVE to know your priorities and put them first. Plan time for what matters to you, and get to everything else if you get to it.
I’m not saying that if your top priorities are spending time with God and your family, you must spend most of your time doing those things.
What I am saying is this: make time for your top priorities first, or it will be your non-priorities that dictate your time.
6. Set monthly goals.
Setting goals is great for personal growth and to get things done. Set goals that fit you and where you are in life.
Don’t set yourself up for failure.
You have big dreams and plans. So, set a monthly goal to do something in 30 days. Just one new thing each month. As you stick to your goal every day, it gets easier. By day 21, it will be a new habit.
7. Stay Off Social Media
You don’t have to delete Facebook or Instagram. Just stay off for a few days and do a reset. You’ll get a few things done and feel better about yourself. You’ll find it easier to spend less time on social media after a break.
8. Declutter Your Closet
There’s no place where we waste time, quite like the closet. Take some time to clear the clutter in the closet. Free up space in your home and your mind. Consider creating a capsule wardrobe or removing anything you haven’t worn in more than a year.
9. Make a Quick Morning and Evening Routine
Simplify your life with systems designed to make you your efficient and productive self. Make a morning routine that builds time for self-care and allows for patience. Start your day with gratitude and meditation. Or spend the evening stretching or reading a book. Routines cultivate success.
10. Use a Budget
There’s nothing more stressful than money problems. However, you can get rid of the problems with a budget. You know how much you have and how much you need to have. Write it down and stick to it. A budget can help you save money for tomorrow and plan for fun-filled family vacations or large purchases.
11. Get Rid Of Unnecessary Products In Your Home
You never have enough room in your cabinets. So take the time to get rid of anything unnecessary. You don’t need three bottles of shampoo. You don’t need five blush and 2 combs. Look at what you’re actually using and get rid of everything else. Check the kitchen, bathroom, and garage for unnecessary products. You’ve already spent the money. Just call it a bad investment turned good if you can get rid of it.
12. Drink More Water
Our bodies are made of 60% water. Drinking water is essential to our health and we all feel better when we drink more water.
Staying hydrated will help you think clearly and remain energized. Take a refillable bottle of water everywhere you go.
13. Wake Up Earlier
Studies suggest that working in the morning is good for productivity. In general, you’re more energized and in a better mood when the day starts. So try waking up before everyone else in the house to live a simple life. Prioritize what you need to get done first thing in the morning and see how much your life improves.
14. Go To Bed Earlier
Of course, if we’re waking earlier, let’s try going to bed earlier. You need at least 7 hours of sleep each night to restore your mind and body.
15. Discover What Works For You (and Do It)
What works best for you may not be for everyone. It doesn’t matter. Do what you need. Take time to figure out what you need and dedicate time to doing it.
16. Stop Worrying
Easier said than done. I know. But you have to stop worrying. Everything will look different in the morning. Just tell yourself you have to get through today. I promise it will look different tomorrow. You have so many alternatives to do things differently at any given time. Like Marie Forleo says, everything is figureoutable. So, stop worrying.
17. Stop Being a Perfectionist
Why do you seek perfectionism? It’s an illusion.
Aim to get something done and get it done well. Don’t get wrapped around all of the little details. Focus on what matters and forget the rest. It doesn’t have to be perfect–it just has to be done.
18. Eliminate Things That Don’t Matter
What can you remove from your to do list? What can you change in your daily routine? Get rid of the things that aren’t adding value. Do what you love. Do what’s essential. Do what you need to do and forget the rest.
19. Spend Time Alone
It’s ok to be alone. In fact, it’s healthy. It may take some time to get comfortable being alone, but it simplifies life. You don’t have anything else to worry about or focus your energy on while alone. Plan a little alone time each morning or evening to focus on yourself.
20. Create a system for Housework
We all have to do it–housework. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Create a system for cleaning. Perhaps you clean one room a day or do one cleaning task daily. The key is to do a little something every day instead of a cleaning maraton on weekends.
21. Keep a Clear Desk
Your desk, just like your car, portrays your state of mind. If they’re messy and cluttered, odds are good that you are too. Pick up the stuff you’re not using and organizing. Declutter it in less than five minutes and save yourself time and stress later.
22. Learn the meaning of Enough
What do you really need? How much is enough to meet your needs and expectations for a happy, healthy life? What’s really important to you? Is being broke or living in a cluttered home worth the stress of maintaining it. Only you can decide. Go for quality stuff over quantity. Find things that you’re going to love for a lifetime.
23. Learn To Do Nothing.
Learn to sit in stillness and be quiet. Let your mind wander or not. Just do nothing. Perhaps you’ll take this time to meditate. Just have a period where you’re comfortable doing nothing.
So, there you have it-23 ways to simplify your life. Perhaps you try to do each item on this list. Maybe you try to do a few. Just think about it.
A simplified life looks different for everyone. Whatever brings you less stress, more time, and greater fulfillment in life is simplified.
In which ways do you need to simplify your life? How have you taken steps today towards a more simple lifestyle? Let us know in the comments!
Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.