Henry David Thoreau, American author, poet and philosopher, is famously quoted saying, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.” Simplifying your life means eliminating the unnecessary and spending time doing what’s important to you. Simplifying can enable you to be more effective at your work, give your life more meaning in addition to making it less stressful. It is however not the simplest thing to do. Here are a few tips to help you get on the road to simplifying your life:
Prioritize. What do you value most? What four to five things do you most want to do in your life? To simplify your life, start with these priorities. Make room in your life so you have more time for these things. Also, find ways to free up time for what is important and cut back on time wasters.
De-clutter. Look around your house, bedroom or office desk. You’re sure to have several things you don’t really need but are holding on to for one reason or another. Get rid of clutter. The less you have, the less decisions you have to make, the less you have to clean, move or store, and the more time you have to just enjoy what’s left. Keep surfaces clear, leaving plenty of room for the things you own. Value quality over quantity as this greatly simplifies your life and brings you peace.
Learn to say NO. Although you may feel like saying no offends and hurts others, and it probably does to some, saying no does not make you a bad person. If you don’t, you will find yourself overloaded with too many tasks that you may not be able to finish or do properly. Saying yes to everything makes you take on too much and complicates your life. Saying no sends out a strong message that you value your time, have priorities, and that you also respect the person to whom you’re saying no, as you don’t want to commit to something and then do a terrible job or not do it at all.
Limit your communications. In this digital age where we’re always connected to our social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email, among others, we may find this constant communication taking up a big chunk of our time. Learn to limit how much time you spend on these mediums. Check your email only at certain times of the day, maybe limiting them to two or three. Do the same with your social networks, checking them only a few times a day and for a limited amount of time.
Published in May 2013