Simplify your life in 7 steps

Perhaps you’ve taken a good look at your life and realized something’s got to go. But how to actually simplify your life? How to make life simpler and easier? If you go through the steps outlined here, you’ll certainly see a difference!

1. Be realistic

First, be realistic about what you can accomplish in the time you have available. No one can do it all. If it seems like they’re ‘doing it all’, think about things that perhaps aren’t included in the picture – hired help, family members who help out, things they’re not doing (ie. laundry, cooking at home, socializing, engaging in time-consuming hobbies), even simple advantages like rich parents/partner or genetical need for less sleep than most of us.

2. Choose priorities

Once you realize there are only 24 hours in each and every day and that you can’t do it all in those 24 hours, you’ll have to think about how to use them. Again, being realistic is key here. You might want to sleep all day and party all night, but unless you’re one of the lucky few, that might interfere with keeping a roof over your head and getting fed and clothed, not to mention other niceties we’ve grown accustomed to, like heating and plumbing.

3. There’s always a choice

Think about what needs to be done versus what you think needs to be done. We usually tell ourselves we “should” do this and “should” do that, but not many things “must” be done. Even for things that must be done, there’s usually a great deal of flexibility on how we do them. Cleaning the house up to Good Housekeeping standards is different than cleaning the house so that it’s a nice and healthy place to live.

4. Help future-you

Do something today that your future self will thank you for. Make your future a little less stressful and more comfortable by taking care of things when you have the time and ability to do so. And try a little thought experiment: if you’re putting off something you don’t want to do, try to reframe it as helping or being nice to future-you. Perhaps that’ll make it easier to do!

5. Prepare in advance

Similarly, to avoid last-minute panic, picture your day in advance, preferably the day before, and notice what you might need to accomplish your goals for the day – you might need to pack the receipt to get your dry cleaning the next day, or make sure you’re dressed nice for your interview, or just notice that it would be easier to run one errand in the morning and one in the afternoon instead of trying to do both during your lunch hour. Some people swear by setting out your clothes and preparing everything for breakfast the night before. Try to make this thinking about what’s ahead of you a daily habit.

6. Use tools

We moved from caves to McMansions because we used tools and brains, so don’t expect your brain to do all the heavy lifting! There are so many tools you can use, both modern and old-school, which can help you organize your life and be better prepared for everything life might throw at you. Calendars, planners, to-do lists, notebooks, shopping lists, reminders, just to name a few. You don’t need to use them all or use them for everything, but the advantages they bring might make a big difference.

7. Don’t jump all in

Remember, there’s no need to do a complete overhaul of your life. After all, you’ve gotten this far, you can certainly limp along a little further! The trick is to correct course slowly – a couple of degrees’ difference in direction will bring you to a completely different target while only using up a fraction of the energy you’d need for a drastic change.

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