If I asked you to pick one word to describe your life what would it be? Satisfied? Complete? Chaotic? Stressed? A little bit of all of these words? Or do you don’t know how to describe life right now? I’ll be honest for far too long I would have used a word on the negative side. There have been so many ‘life moments’ going on that I have felt totally confused and have felt like I’ve been living a completely chaotic existence. I use the word ‘living’ very loosely and at times it has felt as if I have been verging on a never ending nightmare.
With everything that has been going on, much of which has been out of my control, I just felt my life was far too complicated. I constantly felt like there just seemed to be too much to do and too little time to get it done. I hated constantly feeling like I was playing catch up which in turn was having a further negative effect on my health and thus the vicious circle began.
I have found it so very hard to concentrate since I was in a coma due to sepsis in 2017 and it has been so hard to maintain focus on anything at all, or get anything done. I seemed to have turned in to the queen of super-unproductiveness and it has become worse month after month, and I don’t want to continue down this path.
Quite simply I need to revamp my lifestyle! I want and need to simplify things and just have a happy, productive, and have a much less overwhelming life and this post explains what I am doing.
This is what I hope to achieve by simplifying your life:
- To help me reach my life goals
- To find inner peace and a happier life.
- To have a better work and life balance.
- To be more productive and organised.
These are the 11 steps I am personally taking this year to simplify began my life:
Eliminate Non Essentials
Simply put; declutter. I don’t think I am alone in saying that I am surrounded by far too many possessions. I am pretty certain that a lot of the things in my home could find a better long term home than with me, a place where they will be appreciated and use far more than I do. I have given myself the task of reducing my possessions and will be takling one room at a time. I am going to go through everything in each room and place the item in one of 4 categories; keep, sell, donate or recycle/bin.
I decluttered so much before I moved house but I know I still have too many possessions. I know I have so many pairs of high heels that I’ve not been able to wear for so long because of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia which have meant I now have swollen ankles, knees, issues with my hips and pelvis, not to mention the adrenal insufficiency which lowers my blood pressure and sees me fainting numerous times a month. Although I did sell some before the move, I just couldn’t part with all of them! I just can’t wear heels anymore but for some strange reason I have held on to them because I love wearing heels and there they all sit in a box on top of my wardrobe. I know I just need to get them down, photograph them and get selling them online.
Decluttering my home will:
- Create easy access to things I need. I will no longer have to look through lots of things before getting to what I’m actually looking for. With less distraction and quick access, this will save me time which could be better spent having adventures.
- Create space for the most important items I truly need for everyday use.
- Earn some money by selling items I don’t need and raising funds for items donanted to charity shops.
One obstacle we usually face when decluttering is that we tend to hold on to things hoping they might become useful one day because, you know, there may suddenly be a cure for arthritis and fibromyalgia and I can suddenly wear my heels again! But in reality sadly, I don’t think this is going to happen any time soon.
But imagine if you were just surrounded by the possessions you need and love. The things that make you smile and remind you of others and fun times. Isn’t that what life should be about?
Learn To Say No
This is actually one of the habits I have been trying to bring in to my life more for quite some time. I have found that if you don’t say no to other people, you will end up taking on too much.
When I look at everything going on in your life, everything, from work to home to hobbies to health issues I feel overwhelmed far too often and this is before I start taking on things for others. I know for my own physical and emotional health I need to put me first, this isn’t selfish in the slightest but essential to my weelbeing. I wrote about ways to say no to others in this blog post.
Despite what you may think multi-tasking is more complicated, more stressful, and generally less productive. Instead, do one task at a time and see it to a conclusion before you begin something else. Work wise I block out time to complete work tasks and find I am way more productive if I just sit and concentrate on one thing instead of flitting between different tasks.
Choose Wisely Who You Spend Your Time With
There are two types of people in this world; The ones that drain you and end up dulling your shine and then there are those who bring nothing but glitter into your life. Choose wisely.
These two words can make a huge difference in simplifying your life. Living here and now, in the moment, keeps you aware of life, of what is going on around you and within you. It does wonders for your sanity and means you learn to cherish the little things you have in your life that moiney can’t buy instead of striving for material things.
The important and obvious key I have found is to keep things simple, create simple routines that work for you. For example, develop a morning routine where you do things every morning to prepare for your day. For me that means, a cup of tea, breakfast then shower and dress before I put the washing machine and dishwasher on and then start work. My evening routine enables me to finish my day and prepare for the next. I write my to do list for work, picking a couple of important things that I know I have the time to achieve, wind down for the evening and end my day with completing my gratitude journal and a little meditation.
On a Sunday morning I sit down and plan what I need to do for the upcoming week work wise and also personally. I also earmark part of each day for some self care be it simply sitting down with my feet up drinking a hot mug of tea, too odftem I am drinking luke warm tea whilst doing something else or arranging time for lunch or coffee with friends.
Always Be Yourself
What do you do when you are alone with nobody around to criticise or judge you? That is the real you, the person you should be celebrating. It is hard to truly be yourself in a world that judges and make assumptions but if you try to be someone you aren’t you can’t truly be happy. I know that for far too long I tried to fit into the box everyone around me thought I should fit in to. They were trying to mold me into something that I wasn’t, something I did not want to be and I wasn’t happy. It was a long hard battle to climb out of that box and if I’m honest I’m still trying to fully escape. Day by day, bay step by step I am slowly letting the world see the real me for the first time. When you decide to let go of all the stories, labels, and judgments that have placed on you by other and at times by yourself the feeling can be life changing. Being yourself can simplify your life. When you decide to be yourself, your life will change and become more simple and free.
Make A Most Important Tasks List Each Day.
For far too long I had what I can only describe as a never-ending to-do list. Now the problem was, I never knew where to start and in the end, got very little done as I was constantly flitting from one thing to another. It all hit a point in September last year and I knew I had to make some changes and make them quick. I invested in a happy planner and set to work making this planner work for me.
What I do now is sit down on a Sunday night and plan my week ahead. I have a list of things I know that need to be done the following week and then I have my ‘if I have time list’. This is work things I need to do but don’t have a specific date that they need to be done, for example, going through broken links on my blog, working on my E-Book, going through old blog posts and improving SEO and updating old graphics to match my current brand colours. Each night I review what needs to be done the next day and plan my course of action which mean as soon as I am up and ready to start work I can get straight down to it. Before, I could spend an hour faffing each morning but now I sit in front of the TV and spend maybe 15 minutes planning the next day.
This new system is working for me as I am now scheduling say 6 hours work in an 8 hour day. This means the pressure is off and I am feeling far less overwhelmed and as a result I am actually getting far more done.
I am also scheduling one day a week where I go to a local coffee shop to a, escape the four walls at home and also b, to have fewer distractions. If I am working in a coffee shop I’m not stopping and starting work by being interrupted by my cats, doing little housework tasks etc. Once I have completed the task I need to I then have time to spend on my ‘if I have time list’. It’s amazing how much more productive I am now that I have simplified my work to do list.
I am loving how more productive I am using this simplified to do list and work plan. It is working so well for me and I am actually sat writing this post a week before it is published. Being this organised in advance has been a very rare ting this past 2 to 3 years and far too often I have been writing blog posts the day they go live. This stresses me and usually meant I was taking far longer to complete tasks than I am now.
Stop Chasing Perfection
What actually is perfection? I think it is a very personal thing and our views on what perfection should look like changes as we grow and become to understand the person we are and our place in the world. Twenty years ago, perfection for me was a professional career, constantly striving for the next promotion and if I’m honest not really doing much else. Today, perfection is doing work I enjoy and having the time to enjoy life instead of letting life rule me.
Now I know that I should just let go and take a step back. Perfection is not what I see on social media. Social media only shows the highlights people want you to see and chasing a false ideal can only end in stress and anxiety. What I find helpful is:
- Reminding myself that life has opportunities to learn and grow and there is no such thing as a mistake, just lessons.
- Stop having this ideal outcome and to tell myself I can never achieve that. Too often this ideal in my head is unrealistic.
- Manage my expectations. As long as I am trying my best I am doing a better job than doing nothing.
- To constantly remind myself that in most cases my first decision is not final and I can revisit things later and make further tweeks where necessary.
Focusing on perfection will complicate your life, I’ve experienced this far too many times. Striving for perfection has only served to hold me back from progress.
One last thing. I am fully aware that sometimes change can be overwhelming but what makes the transition easier is to take baby steps. It’s not a race, these are changes for the long term and by taking steps at your own pace the new habits are more likely to stick.
What steps are you taking to simplify your life?