When it comes to simple living, or making any changes in life, there always seems to be plenty of experts around telling you what you should do, and how you should do it. Looking to get in shape? You can find an endless supply of “experts”…many of which will directly contradict each other…that are ready with their magic formula to help you. All you have to do is buy their equipment, take their magic pill, or follow their magic advice.
But what it all boils down to in the real world is developing a simple plan that is right for YOU, and then kicking things into gear! When it comes to simple living or simplifying certain areas of your life, there are some things that have worked for us and that you can use to start making strides in areas of your life that you want to simplify. Read more…
Note: Our new book Supermom vs Super Mom is digital and will help you eliminate clutter in your life, too!
We’re just going to offer 5 ways to help you simplify your life…at your own pace.
Once you look at where you are now, you can figure out where you want to be and start working in that direction.
Simple living has so many different facets. But what’s one area you want to fix? Is it your physical clutter, time commitments and obligations, finances, your professional life, personal life, health? What do you want to focus on? Pick one thing first, then edit what isn’t working and try to streamline ways to keep it simple…and keep it going. Here’s an example: a major area of frustration for me was our kitchen counter that became “The Clutter Zone”. The first thing we did was get rid of the junk, then Dan came up with the idea of making some cubbies in the columns next to where the clutter was collecting…and it worked great! That one change had such a huge impact on our physical space that it led to more and more opportunities to simplify. And that’s what we’re talking about for our third point…
And once you start that one area, you’ll likely find you’re ready to expand your efforts and carry that momentum into simplifying other areas of your life. So as we just mentioned regarding those cubbies…that worked so well that the idea spread to other areas of the home to control and contain our clutter.
You’ll know what pace is right for you and when it’s time to stretch a bit or ease up. Find people, books, podcasts or blogs that help guide and support. But don’t fall for the “gurus or experts” who pretend to have some secret formula or easy solution. They sound great, but they don’t know you. You know you. Follow what feels right to you. And as we mentioned before, be prepared for some friendly “critiquing” along the way from others who just don’t get it…YET. We talk about that pretty in-depth in Episodes 13 about escaping cubicle life and in Episode 55, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Simplicity.
So for a quick recap, we had 1- Take an objective look at where you are, 2- Start With One Area of Your Life, 3- Know That Simple Living Will Become Addictive, and 4- Go At Your Own Pace.
Get started and tweak things as you go! Try personal simplicity challenges, like our Edit & Forget It Challenge, Project 333, and others. Measure your progress against your own yardstick and try to stick to your objectives. Of course, it always helps to have a very well developed plan, but to paraphrase von Moltke, “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.” So, armed with your motivation to simplify and your rough plan from Step 2, get started and be prepared to tweak things along the way. That way you can always stay on the offensive and have the agility to change course when you need to, but still work toward your objective. There are lots of sayings in the military that follow this advice, such as “improvise, adapt and overcome,” and “Flexibility is the key to Airpower.” So, as you take action, remember it’s better to follow your overall objectives than it is to follow a rigid plan. So there you go…5 Steps to Simple Living at Your Own Pace.
So the major takeaway here is this: Remember, no matter what area of your life you’re trying to improve, there is help out there. But don’t fall for the “gurus or experts” who pretend to have some secret formula. They don’t know you like You know you. Follow what feels right to you. Figure out where you are now, where you want to be, make a plan, take action and tweak along the way. That’s it. If that sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because it’s about the same thing as the OODA loop we talked about WAY BACK in Episode 16, Making Decisions Like a Fighter Pilot.
So, have you ever found yourself frustrated with the advice of so called gurus or experts? Or do you take advice with a grain of salt and adapt a little here and there to fit your needs? Do you have any tips or advice on ways you’ve been able to reach your simplicity goals and stay on track? We’d love to know.
Be sure to leave a comment below.
Dan just reviewed a terrific Evernote guide titled “How to Automate Evernote, Save Boat Loads of Time And Make Your Life Easier“. It’s a 76-page ebook on how to automate Evernote with some cool programs he’s talked about before such as If This Than That, Gmail, and others. Kosio, the author, sent Dan a copy and it has some pretty interesting tactics that’ll save you lots of time. You can find it at SimpleLifeTogether.com/automate. It goes great with Brett Kelly’s “Evernote Essentials“, another terrific book to help you make the most of Evernote. You can get that at SimpleLifeTogether.com/essentials.
Candabar: The best simple living podcast out there!!! If you are looking for a way to cut down and live a more simple and meaningful life, look no further! This podcast is perfect for that and it has really helped me. Don’t bother with any other simple living podcast!!!
Mopjunkie: The two of you are a great inspiration. I found you recently on James Kinson’s Cash Car Convert. I’m in!!! I had to come to the realization that I had too much stuff! We’ve already started the reduction phase and also just signed up for your edit and forget it. The two of you are entertaining yet informative! I listen during my 30 minute commute and your segments are just the right size, begin in the morning and finish in the afternoon. Look forward to the drive, yet know I will soon be caught up soon as I listen to a different session each day. Love your shedquarters!!! And keep up the good work!
James Sandercock (Canada): Real life, real hosts, real help. Vanessa and Dan bring well focused, good humoured, and encouraging words of advice into my home each time I listen (and re-listen) to their podcast. They are not syrupy sweet silver lining know it alls. Instead they are sweetly helpful, dig for the silver, know some…and share some type people. They follow a great structure with a lot of fun and loving banter between the two of them. I have subscribed and look forward to each episode. Sincerely, a mum in the toy filled trenches with four manic munchkins!
You can download a PDF of our show prep, too.
Photo Credit: Yours Truly