If you are looking for ways to Simplify Your Life, I hope a few of these eight tips will help you achieve your goal.
I know it’s a tired refrain, but…doesn’t it seem that life has just gotten crazier and busier? And I’m not even talking about a worldwide pandemic or political infighting! Let’s just talk about in the confines of our own homes!
I’m always looking for ways to slow my world down, simplify my life, and make it a little less busy and a lot less stressful. I surely don’t have all the answers, and I don’t always do what I know I *should* do, but I do make a daily effort. It all comes down to creating healthy habits.
We’ve all heard that it takes ’21 days to form a new habit’, but more recent research has determined that it more like 2 – 8 months for a habit to be set. Don’t let that deter you; it’s just good to know the facts.
An overarching caveat, what works for me may not work for you. But I hope that at least some of these suggestions might prompt you to take a fresh look at developing habits that will help you simplify your life.
Routines and systems help reduce stress and simplify your life. Predictable, repetitive routines are calming, help reduce anxiety and give you a sense of control over your life. Reducing the number of decisions you have to make each day will help you reduce stress and anxiety. And finally, having a routine helps to ensure you do the important things well.
I LOVE the early morning. My favorite time of the day is when it is just my 4-legged loves and me, up and puttering around a dark and quiet house. I take my medications/supplements, empty the dishwasher, fold and put away laundry, make coffee and tea, drink a cup of lemon-ginger tea, take a brisk walk by myself, and then another walk with my mom and our dogs. I am typically home from the second walk between 7:30-8:00, ready to tackle the day.
My morning routine is primarily about taking care of myself, and it is how I start my day. I recently hurt my knee, which meant that other than taking my meds and making myself some coffee or tea, I didn’t do any else for about 2 weeks. During those 2 weeks, I just felt ‘off’ due to not being able to ‘do my morning routine.’
One of the habits I am trying to develop is staying off my phone until I return from my second walk. I found that I was waking up and checking email and social media before getting out of bed. In essence, I was letting everyone else, good and bad, in my head first thing in the morning! Just that mental image has been enough to motivate me to use my phone only to check the weather or call my mom, if necessary until I am ready for the day. This article really enlightened and motivated me to make that change.
I am firmly on team ‘I make my bed every day!’ This routine helps my world seem less cluttered, more put together. There was a very short period of time, several years ago, where I got out of the habit, and I noticed that no matter how much I may have achieved in a day, the day just didn’t seem right. Walking into a room with a made bed gives a feeling of calm and order, while the opposite can lead to a feeling of disarray.
Multiple small accomplishments add up to larger accomplishments. And, if the day gets away from you and you don’t get everything done you had hoped, at least you can pat yourself on the back for making your bed!
Keep like things together. Kitchens are great places to create command centers. Designate a space for all of your coffee/tea fixings. Set aside a spot for everything you need when you bake. I have a shelf for all ethnic foods. If you have pets, keep all pet supplies in one place.
Whether you go to the gym or take yourself on a brisk walk, move your body. Fresh air and movement are guaranteed stress relievers and actually help you to be more productive. An afternoon walk can help clear a mid-afternoon slump and brain fog and help you feel better.
You may wonder how exercise fits into ‘simplifying your life,’ but getting fresh air and movement helps me be more productive and helps put things in perspective. That ‘thing’ that has been nagging at you or causing anxiety will oftentimes fade away once you step away from it.
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I know, I just got done saying not to use your phone; but what I am really saying is ‘control your phone, don’t let your phone control you!’
I just recently removed certain time-sucking, stress-inducing social media apps and games from my phone. It felt good to clean it up.
At the same time, there are some apps/programs that I swear by to keep myself organized. I have the Our Groceries App linked to my Echo, so all I have to do is say, “Alexa, tell Our Groceries to add kale to Harris Teeter,” and BAM! it is on my Our Groceries Shopping List app on my phone. You can have multiple stores, so I use it for Costco, Home Depot, etc… Gone are the days of arriving at the Grocery Store without my shopping list!
I have also enabled my phone to help me simplify my life is to set up weekly reminders for myself. We keep our Recycling Bin in our garage and kept forgetting to pull it out on Fridays for the trash pickup. I set up a reminder every Friday at 8 a.m., and we haven’t missed a pickup since! I have several weekly reminders for myself and have set up reminders on Mom’s phone to remind her of her classes. While I call them ‘reminders’ on my phone (Android), they are under Alarms, and I label them and have them repeat weekly. On an iPhone, check out the Reminder app or just set the alarm and label it.
Use the notepad app on your phone. This app/utility helpful when I need a certain battery or lightbulb the next time I am at the hardware store. I can take a picture of exactly what I need to refer to when at the store. Additionally, I started a note with ‘Plants I Like’…when I see something at the garden store or in a magazine, I jot it down or add the picture. Having ready access to what I need
I tried to go completely digitally, doing away with the paper in my world. But, I found that that didn’t work for me; I need a paper planner to order my days. After spending too much money on planners that didn’t work for me, I discovered Plum Planners! What I love about Plum Planners is that their planners are customizable! My planner’s pages do what I need them to do!
While Plum Planners work for me, find what works for you and then use it.
I take 5-10 minutes each Sunday to meal plan for the next 1-2 weeks. Not only does this simplify my days since I don’t need to figure out what to each day, but I am a better steward of our leftovers. At the same time that I meal plan, I talk to Alexa (see above) and add whatever I need from the grocery store.
For too long, I got out of the habit of writing down my to-do list/goals for each day. When our kids were younger, I was very disciplined about it. After free-wheeling it for too long, I am getting back into that habit, making for more orderly/simpler days. And, not for nothing, but checking things off is mighty rewarding!
It’s pretty simple, the less stuff you have, the less stuff you need to tend to! Reduce the superfluous and unappealing, and free space in your home and your mind. Clutter has been proven to increase our stress by filling our minds with excess stimuli. Additionally, clutter distracts us from what is important and causes frustration when we can’t find what is important.
Simplify your life by tackling it. Join the 6-week Declutter Challenge to help you reduce the clutter in your home. Each week you will receive tips and a checklist specific to certain areas of your home.
While you are decluttering, check out your closet. Do you find that you wear only a fraction of the clothes in your closet regularly? Before I had my ‘aha’ moment, I was guilty of filling my closet with clothes I thought I would wear, but then ended up not wearing.
Once I started paying attention, I realized that I wore the same outfits repeatedly; those were the outfits that I felt best in! I love ruffles and flowy/flowery stuff like the next gal, but I finally realized that they really weren’t ‘my style. I feel better in more tailored clothes. Now, I am much more critical of what I bring home.
By editing your wardrobe and your ‘style’ you will find that you spend less on clothing and simplify the ‘what to wear’ dilemma! Look at photos of yourself…what are you wearing in the photos that you like? On those days when you feel on top of the world, what are you wearing?
I wouldn’t say I have a ‘capsule wardrobe’ yet, but I am definitely moving towards it!
Go through your email inbox. It is nearly impossible to buy anything online today and not end up with that vendor in your inbox tomorrow! I sent my son pretzels for Valentine’s Day and starting receiving daily emails from the Pretzel company the very next day. No offense Pretzel Company, but I unsubscribed the next day.
My friend Kathleen ends each day with ZERO unread emails in her inbox. She has motivated me to do the same!
Companies don’t make unsubscribing easy…without exaggeration, it is in the smallest print possible at the very bottom of the email. You do have to look for it.
I do hope some of these tips will come in handy as you try to simplify your life. Bookmark this page or pin the following image to refer back to this post.
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Until next time…