Sample Wellness Blog
5 Things You Can Do To Simplify Your Life Right Now
What’s on your agenda today? For many of us, that question sparks anxiety, dread, and that all-too-familiar feeling of being completely overwhelmed. We juggle, we multitask; we keep those plates spinning better than a circus performer. Exhausting, isn’t it? If you’re aching to simplify your life – even just a little – read on, weary warrior.
But First, a Quick Caveat
It’s important to point out that we tend to use “simple” and “easy” interchangeably, but especially in this case, they don’t mean the same thing.
The first means uncomplicated, and the second, not difficult. You know where I’m going with this:
It will probably not be easy to simplify your life.
There, I said it. Our goal here is to not only offer you encouragement, tools, and resources to help you live your best life but also to do that in a way that is honest and transparent – even vulnerable, at times. The truth is, it won’t be easy to make most of the changes you want to see in your life, but the most valuable things are rarely easy.
Take a deep breath. You can do this.
Shortlist Your Priorities and Values
Set aside some time to think through and make a list of your top five most important priorities and make sure they’re general categories (family, career, etc.) Now rank them in order of importance and set that list aside.
Second, determine your top five values – Psychology Today’s article, 39 Core Values and How to Live by Them, takes you through specific questions and steps to help you identify what they are and whether you’re living according to them.
Now, take a good look at your two lists and let those sink in for a bit. What’s coming up for you as you look at them?
The fact is, a lot of our stress, angst, and general lack of peace comes from living our lives out of sync with our actual priorities and values.
Know Your Short-term and Long-term Goals
It’s up to you to decide what constitutes short-term and long-term, but not knowing or not moving steadily towards our goals leads to frustration, confusion and feeling overwhelmed. I often get so caught up in the details of day-to-day living that I lose sight of my goals.
Be honest with yourself about what your goals actually are right now. If your primary goal is to simplify your life or even just get through this week, that’s okay. Maybe your goals are huge and world-changing, and if that’s the case, you need to break them down into measurable, attainable steps (think SMART goals) if you’re ever going to get there.
Productivity is important whether you’re a student, professional, stay-at-home mom, or any combination of roles you might play. For me, feeling productive is nearly as important as being productive, and can really drive my mood and motivation to get things done. These are two of my favorite productivity tools that help me work towards and achieve the goals I set:
Week Plan is an app you can use on your desktop or phone and is probably my favorite of all the planners and organizers I’ve tried. It’s not free (about a hundred dollars for a year or ten dollars a month) but is well worth the cost, in my opinion. More than just planning and scheduling, it helps you identify your values, priorities, and goals, and organize them into time-sensitive action steps.
A Pomodoro Timer app is a great way to get stuff done and stay focused. The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francisco Cirillo and named after the tomato timer in his kitchen. You set the timer for twenty-five-minute intervals to accomplish tasks, followed by a five-minute break. After four pomodoros, you take a fifteen to twenty-minute break. Works like a charm to stay focused, and is great for kids, too (hello, chores!)
Limit Your Media Consumption
You knew this had to be on the list. The average person’s life is absolutely saturated with media and technology, and it’s just not good for us. (Did you even know that “Tech Neck” is a thing?) No surprises here, but too much media consumption:
steals our focus
wastes valuable time
replaces face-to-face communication
allows us to numb our emotions
overwhelms our brains with (often useless) information
makes us sedentary
distracts us from living out our priorities, values, and goals
This is super hard to do, I know, but it is critical if you truly want to simplify your life. About five years ago, I decided to stop watching TV and movies and deactivate all my social media accounts for an entire year. Part of my motivation for doing so was because I wanted to write a book, but it was also because my emotional and spiritual life at that time was a hot mess. So, instead of zoning out in front of a screen, I wrote. I read books. I spent lots of time with my husband and family. And I had an incredible amount of peace.
Remove Your Obstacles
Do you know what’s complicating your life unnecessarily? We all have things we can’t avoid, but we also allow other obstacles to consistently thwart our efforts to get our lives under control. Make a list of the things over which you have power and choice, and eliminate them. Scratching them off that list, one by one, is gonna feel great.
Curate Your Environment for Success
Take a look around you – at work, at home, wherever you spend a good part of your life. Clutter, disorganization and dirt often mirror what’s going on inside you. It may be time to unleash your inner Marie Kondo and simplify your environment so you can simplify your life. For most of us, it will mean cleaning, removing extraneous junk and organizing the necessities. However, your spaces don’t need to look sterile and merely functional. Incorporating what “sparks joy,” as Marie says, as well what you think is beautiful, helps to create an environment that’s not only conducive to productivity, but also to creativity and thriving. Many of us easily lose touch with the simple pleasure of enjoying the beauty around us. You can create that for yourself!
Sisters, life is hard and complicated and unpredictable. There’s no getting around that, and you are not alone in feeling overwhelmed by it all. It’s also true that life is beautiful and wondrous and what makes it worth living is not all that complicated when it comes down to it. We just have to keep it all in perspective so we know what we need more of, and what needs to be pushed aside. Again, it might not be easy, but doing these five things will significantly simplify your life.
Take a deep breath. You can do this.