I think we’ve all heard the saying that “less is more” or that things were easier when we didn’t have so much stuff. My husband and I have said that whenever thinking back to the days of starting out . It really is true that the more you “have” the more “problems” that can come with it. It takes more time and more money to maintain a certain lifestyle and it’s amazing how many of us strive for the so called “American dream” (or Canadian dream where I live… haha)
In the last year or so, we’ve give so much thought on how to live simpler and just what we would have to do in order to accomplish this. I have been just amazed at how many things we can do in our lives to “simplify” it.
Here’s some ways we’ve discovered to simplify our own life and I’m 100% sure that you can too:
In Your Daily life:
Get Organized – Seriously, disorganization in your life creates so much anxiety, stress, and needless wasted time. If you can get things organized whether it be your finances, your house, your car, or whatever – it will make things easier. How much time do you waste looking for things? For me, it was a lot. Looking for some document, or some other thing that i misplaced.
Determine your important things – We sat down and had a real discussion on what was truly important to us. What we valued and cherished, and where we saw ourselves in the next few years. Once you do this, you not only have a clear picture of things but you have perspective on what is important and what is not. You might be surprised that what you thought was important – maybe material things – really aren’t.
One thing at a time – We found ourselves involved in so many tasks in our day/week/month that when we sat and actually analyzed our progress, we discovered weren’t making any progress at all. We had 3 home renos on the go, plus traveling, plus landscaping plans, etc. It was too much. Had we just tackled one project until it was finished, we would have been way more productive. The same can be said for many day-to-day tasks that we do. We get so caught up in being able to multitask that things are either being neglected altogether or getting done but missing the attention they need. Try to stick to one thing until it’s done and then move onto the next.
Slowing things down – I saw a commercial the other day that basically showed what my every day feels like… the sped up commercial was a woman who woke up, got ready for work, worked, drove home, made supper, and went to bed. Then it flashed to the next day and the next day. And that’s pretty much how most of us feel from day to day. I’m only learning to slow things down a little now, at this very point in my life. Life is a rat-face in many ways when it feels we no sooner get up and then it’s time for bed and it seems we got nothing done. Does everything need to be done right now? Today? This week? We might find that the answer is no. I took stock of things I felt weren’t so “pressing” and prioritized everything. The end result was less stress because not everything had to be done right away.
Set reminders – Brain clutter is real, my friends. Take it from me who could be the president of “Brain Clutter Inc.”. I’ve always relied on my memory to keep track of important appointments or dates or gatherings or other stuff and then I realized I could just put this stuff into my phone. Now I set all appointments and such things in my phone, so that it frees up precious space in my mind. The trick is work smarter, not harder.
Pay down your debt – If you have accumulated debt (credit cards/loans/student loans/etc) try to get that paid off. As someone who has had ample debt in her life, it’s important to get it paid off. Looming debt can cause incredible stress. Paying it off is like lifting a huge weight off your shoulders. Learn ways to live without accumulating more debt if you can. Talk to your financial institution about consolidating your debts into one payment (which lessens interest) and discuss ways to pay it off sooner perhaps through more frequent payments like biweekly instead of monthly.
Downsize your life – Sometimes the things we “have” are the things we worry about most. See if there are things you no longer need and can either donate to places like Habitat for Humanity or Goodwill, or toss it out completely if not in good condition. Perhaps you could even downsize your house by moving into a smaller place which would also have less expenses. Less expenses lessen the time you need to pay it off and/or spend working to get ahead
Automate bill payments – This has been a blessing for me. I’m notoriously famous for forgetting about payments – like what’s due and when. I’ve always been that way. We have many of our bills automatically withdrawn which is so much easier than even online banking. The payments come out on a regularly set schedule and we don’t have to even think about it which totally frees up brain space.
Be more positive – Do you realize how much time we waste thinking or being “negative”? Probably a lot more than we realize. I’ve only recently learned the power of positive thinking, that every cloud has a silver lining so to speak. If faced with a negative situation, rather than dwelling on the aspects of it, determine how it can be a positive and/or use your time to find a solution. Sitting amidst negativity only creates more.
Learn to say “no” – Are you someone who has a hard time saying “no” to people, whether it’s family, friends, coworkers? I used to be and sometimes still am, depending on the scenario. But years ago, I just couldn’t bring myself to say no to people for fear they’d be mad at me or disappointed or that they’d think I was less than “awesome” and I couldn’t bear the thought of it. Learning to say no is a powerful thing. It prevents you from taking on things that are more than you can handle. And that, my friends, lessens stress. Win-win.
Put down the electronics – Did you know that Americans (and likely Canadians too) spend more than 10 hours a day on their electronic devices? Isn’t that insane? You can simplify your life by making it a practice to put your phone, tablet, or laptop down. Think of the time you spend on social media alone. Plan out “no phone/tablet times” each day when you will do something other than waste time scrolling through social media posts.
Turn the TV off – Is there any bigger time waster than sitting for hours on end in front of the TV? We’ve all done it… gotten settled into a good series, and haven’t moved for hours. And with this being said, there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s not a regular habit. If your everyday tasks are getting shoved the side because you can’t get away from the sofa or your favorite shows, then you’ve got a problem.
Have less material things – Have you ever noticed the time associated with having a lot of material possessions? Look at people who have campers, boats, extra cars and the such. They spend their time maintaining such items. While you may not have those things, do you have other things that take up your time, or that maybe you work extra to have? Having less “things” automatically helps you save time, money and energy and leads to a much simpler life.
Take a little time to be grateful – When you take time to be grateful for what you already have, you learn to be appreciative and be content. Happiness in life can be all about enjoying the simple things, being content with having less and have more time and freedom for other things.
Have you found ways to simplify your life? I’d love to hear about them.