We all have way too much going on, especially in a world where our phones, watches, iPads and laptops are constantly pinging us. Why do we do this to ourselves?
The first step to simplifying your life is creating space. Everything else follows.
Make Time – I know it might seem impossible, but carve out an hour when you first wake up to get ready, drink your coffee and mentally prepare for the day WITHOUT any devices! Don’t worry, that e-mail can wait, getting to it an hour later isn’t going to cause the end of the world like an action movie where the world gets saved at the last second, even though you might make yourself feel that way.
Say No- Your friends want to go out; you have all these things you can do on the weekend! Just say NO to some of it, don’t give excuses. Everybody needs time to reset and refuel. There will almost always be another opportunity to have that fun experience in the future. Mondays won’t be so bad if you are ready for them!
Set Boundaries – Life is about you and those you spend time with, not everything else on social media. Set your devices to do-not-disturb at specific times before and after work, when you are working out, when you are at dinner or out with friends. I can’t tell you how sad it is to see a table of friend supposedly enjoying their company while every single one of them is on their phone doing something else; live in the moment!
Focus – if you focus on what you are doing at the time and not everything else, you will get it done more quickly and be able to move one to the next thing or nothing at all, your choice! So if you are type A and need to stay on top of everything, use all those notification at work. Just don’t let them own you, because if you let them, they will. You are worth more than that, no matter what you see your colleagues doing. They will eventually respect you for it and be a little jealous.
Organize – it is easy to feel overwhelmed, but it is crazy how much just creating a to-do list solves this. Take it a step further and compartmentalize it and only work on what you have assigned yourself for the day or that morning. You should feel confident enough to not think about the rest because you already planned to have it done later. You should start with the things you do and interact with from the moment you wake up. If you leave your house feeling like it is in order and you don’t have to get a bunch of stuff done, you can focus on what you left to go do.
The first five should have been obvious and a nice reminder, but the next five is where it gets interesting!
Give Grace – forcing yourself into a strict routine can give you even more anxiety if you don’t stay on track. Things happen, you are not in control of everything, not even close. Know that things will not go as planned and allow yourself to reschedule those expectations. Work on feeling comfortable dropping everything for the things you care about the most. People will understand and respect you when you can articulate and enforce your priorities.
Seek Less – we are constantly pressured to want more, better, faster. This treadmill is one that never ends. Someone will always come up with something better for you to want to buy. Truly take inventory of the things in your life, when you last used them and how you used them. Is that fancy coffee maker ACTUALLY being used to make anything but coffee? Let’s be real, you probably just go to Starbucks. Those things you bought for just in case, that expired or have not seen the light of day, are they all that important where you can’t just get one when you need it? Give all of this away and focus on what you use and enjoy.
Stop and Think – We think we have grown up because we have all this responsibility and freedom, but we so often don’t even stop to think what makes us happy. We do what we are told should make us happy, but more often than not those feelings are fleeting. Think about how you like spending your time; what fascinates you? Try lots of hobbies and work in a field that when you hear about it you are excited to learn more about. Find a way to make that work.
Money – If you do the above, you will realize you don’t need as much money as you thought which then also means you don’t need the same job you thought. It is not all about a race to the top and money won’t solve all your problems, it usually tends to create more, the more you seek it. If money is a top priority, that is not bad either, just have it be for realistic needs and not just for the sake of having it. Having more will usually never make you feel like you have enough.
Get Back to Basics – This is probably the most important one. Take that vacation or even stay-cation outside of your home. Pack as light as possible and then go about your day and realize how little you actually need to enjoy each of those days. All that stuff you have at home, not needed. All those things you want to have, not needed. It is that simple, you will be happier for it!
Bonus Tip: Keep your body healthy. The better you feel, the more everything else falls into place.