Complicated. Everything is so complicated.
I did a quick search on simplicity and I got a lot of hits on “20 tips to simplicity” or “15 tips to live a simpler life.” I laughed though. I even used to subscribe to Real Simple Magazine, because I desperately wanted my life to be simpler.
None of that is actually simple. It seems pretty freakin complicated.
After that, I searched for the most applicable definition of simplicity and besides that “the state of being simple” definition my teachers told me to never use because the definition should never have the word in it, the best and simplest definition was “uncomplicated.”
Uncomplicated. Not complicated.
Of course I have some tips to offer you, but they are all elements of life that I have shared before. I’ve touched on planning and scheduling and organizing in subjects of nutrition and exercising. But these, and breaks from technology can really simplify any aspect of your life.
The opposite of complicated. That definition itself takes a weight off my shoulders. It doesn’t make everything seem overwhelming.
Let’s shift our mindsets from “it’s too much to do” or “there’s no way I can get that done” to “life is manageable” and “I can take control and make life easier.”
Easier for you. Easier for your spouse. Easier for your kids.
And friends, I don’t mean easy like, like lazy easy or let down your standards easy.
You don’t need a list of tips or life hacks to start simplifying your life. You need a focus and some small changes. Small and simple goes a long way.
These are the ways that I have worked to simplify my life and have shared with many friends and clients.
Breakdown overwhelming or daunting tasks.
Often, when I first talk to people about changing their nutrition habits or starting a fitness program they get pretty overwhelmed because some often see the suggested shopping list or the long menu plan or the calendar for a workout plan.
I tell people to look at their pantry and look at the suggested list. Look what you have. Look at what's almost gone. Next shopping trip, get only the items you need and gradually change over your pantry.
In areas other than nutrition and fitness, the same process can make a huge difference. You need to clean your entire bathroom out - the closet, the medicine cabinet, and then the scrubbing. Break it down. Take the time in the beginning to think it through, then decide if you want to knock out that task all at once or periodically.
Plan and schedule.
None of these suggestions have to go in a specific order, which makes it even easier to be simple.
If you have broken down tasks, you can schedule and plan how you want to execute them or you can plan your time and then decide how to break your tasks down.
I’ve talked a lot about menu planning and I’ll stick by it and its serious contribution to making life simpler. We put the time in in the beginning and it takes the THINKING and decision making away later. Exhausted in the evenings after work and helping the littles complete homework? It’s so much easier to just look at a plan of what you are going to eat than to go back-and-forth to decide what to eat. And I’m not even talking about meal prepping; that's just another step.
Looking for that chunk of time to workout and or read or do 20 minutes of tidying or cleaning? Schedule it into your day. Schedule out your day, before and after work, with an extra five minutes here and there so if a task takes longer than you planned, you can still have time for yourself. We so often take away from our time when something else takes longer than we planned.
Organize life and declutter spaces.
Blanket statements like “organize your life” and “declutter spaces” seem like titles of novels or even fantasy stories. They are ideals for sure, but often, they can be extremely overwhelming. Looking at both of those ideals don’t have to be major tasks.
They start as small jobs but ones that make big waves. Clean out your inbox of your most used email. If that is too big of a job at first, start with cleaning out the oldest emails and do a little at a time. Clean out the console of your vehicle. Straighten your wallet or pocketbook. The junk drawer. Fifteen minutes to declutter can go a long way.
I know some families who have a 15 minute clean up period at the end of every night before they start their bedtime routine. A lot can get picked up and cleaned up when four people clean for 15 minutes.
Another big tip for clearing your mind and cleaning up would be to always go to sleep with a clean sink. Small jobs.
Take technology breaks - for real.
If you don’t do this already, it’s time to really consider it. Even the smallest breaks are really significant.
Looking for a place to start? Put the phone down - and away - from you 15-20 minutes before you go to bed.
Do a tech-free time with your entire family. Mat and I put our phones and computers away for 24 hours starting on Saturday through Sunday afternoon. It forces us to focus on each other, slow down, and remember that life in the moment is really life changing.
Taking time to prepare your day or your week really takes away the overthinking which ultimately makes things much simpler. Plan and prep. A chunk of a day can take all of the overthinking and stress away.