298: 28 Ways to Simplify Your Entire Life
"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." —Hans Hofmann
Far different from minimizing, simplifying requires that we consciously explore what is of value in our lives and then thoughtfully edit in order for what we deem most important to shine as fully as possible.
Take for example sight. Eyesight that is. As someone who wears contacts in order to see clearly objects in far distances, when I put on a dirty lens or my lens happens to have an eyelash or spot of makeup on it, not only does it hurt, but frustratingly my eyesight is impaired. My #1 priority is to clean the lens properly in order to see. Why? Understandably, so that I can clearly, safely, peacefully, go about my day without having to actually think about the gift that is 20/20 eyesight.
Such a truth comes into play with our everyday routines, homes, and overall lifestyles. If we don't clear the clutter - literal and figurative - the quality of our lives decreases. What we love, what we value cannot grow, shine, fully blossom. Whatever the analogy is, the full growth, the full maturation, can't possibly be experienced.
Multitasking our lives not only when it comes to the tasks we do each day, has become an approach to living in the 21st century (and was as well in the late 20th century) which was applauded. In many ways 2020 has forced us to recognize how much we missed in doing so - we missed our relationships, we missed simple pleasures, we missed the gift of appreciating well-made, seasonal food, we missed the gift of truly connecting. Now that so much of what we thought we valued but did not prioritized has been forcibly taken out of our lives, are we questioning whether we lived in accordance to what we swore was true to living well.
Let's talk about clutter. What is defined as clutter for you may be different from what someone else may define or label as clutter. My kitchen for example has many tools handy, surrounding my stovetop - canisters, pots hanging, salt and spices within arms-length. For someone else, such a sight may be exhausting to the eye and look terribly cluttered when viewing my kitchen. Organizing my kitchen in such a way makes my cooking fluid, more enjoyable and simple, but that may not be the case for someone else.
More figuratively speaking, how much time with our own and only company we need will depend upon not only our temperaments but as well where we are along our life's journey. There are times in my life where I have needed far more time alone than others, and I am thankful I finally was able to find it as I needed to figure certain things out, things that I didn't even know I needed to sort through. However, once we learn the direction we want to travel, the skills we want to improve or learn, we may reduce the time alone, but I would argue, as you will see in the list today, we will always need regular alone time or as it is often described - solitude.
Since the inception of TSLL blog, simplicity has been a fundamental component of living simply luxuriously. In order to choose well, in order to invest wisely, we first need to know what is of value to each of us, and the only way to do that is to simplify our lives. (View a list of posts focused on simplifying here and here and be sure to check out TSLL's 1st and 2nd book which have specific sections focused on simplifying in a variety of areas of your life.)
Upon recently rereading Carl Phillips' book 22 Ways to Simpler Living and a couple of other books which help me to assess how simplified I have kept my life or where I need to check-in and adjust or make improvements, I was inspired to make a list to serve as a refresher. I have a feeling each reader/listener stopping by today's post has simplified their lives in some way at some point if not multiple times throughout their lives, so today's post is a check-in so to speak. An opportunity to ensure we are each truly living a simple life for ourselves so we can then live truly simply luxuriously and find true contentment in our everydays. Let's take a look at the list.
~Tune in to the audio version for more conversation about each of the following points shared below.
1.Leave space in your day
Less work time, yet more efficient and productive work time leads to more fulfillment in your lifetime.
2. Absorb the truth that less is often more
3. Limit the time you spend in or with your inbox
* write rules
* streamline folders
* make the view format easy to navigate
* make it easy to see how many emails you have to motivate you to keep your inbox tidy
4. Have a courageous conversation about the truth behind the statement "I don't have time." aka "I'm too busy."
Instead of leading others to believe you want to say 'yes' when it is clear another priority supersedes the opportunity presented, let them get to know you and if you don't like this prioritizing of your life, have an honest conversation with yourself and make the necessary changes.
5. Understand what 'self-full' is and refrain from seeing honoring your journey as 'selfish' because it is not.
6. Stop trying to keep up with life and start living your one and only life
7. Be honest about what you allow into your life as a distraction from living fully
(which includes being vulnerable, be truly loving toward yourself and others, being truly content in your everydays, feeling an undercurrent of calm in your life which keeps you grounded and at peace with life's unknowns which reduces the worry)
8. Live a life that doesn't exhaust you, rather a life that energizes you
9. Give permission to yourself for your hobbies and passions to be priorities
It is within your hobbies and passions that we are honoring our gifts and fueling our spirit so that we might share our unique gifts with the world - either directly as we emanate joy affecting those we love or the larger world.
10. Keep good health of body and mind
11. Stop the hurry
If you find yourself hurrying, access and edit. Carl Phillips suggests asking yourself these two questions: (1) Is what I am 'hurrying about for' important to me (or the approval of someone/something else)? (2) Is the hurrying getting me closer to my goals?
12. Check your email less frequently, but more regularly
Set boundaries on your attention and time. You will reduce worry, you will communicate clearly and set expectations which do not overwhelm your life and increase your stress. In many ways you will reduce not only the stress in your life, but the stress of those trying to communicate with you as there will be clear expectations of when they will hear from you.
13. Book-end your days with walks
Long or short, go outside, take in the fresh air as it will clear your mind, help in ways you may not expect, even if you think it cannot as it brings you to the present. One foot in front of the other, just walk. Walk to work it out and calm your mind.
14. Find time to meditate daily
Sometimes meditation and praying are mentioned as alternatives to each other; however, I would argue they do separate things as they are two separate actions. Meditation is an observance of our thoughts, a stepping away from our thoughts (not stopping thinking) and letting them be without our engagement with them. Praying, based on the religious practice (should you practice one religious ideology and it is absolutely okay not to), will be unique to what you believe and is often a conversation with the higher entity. Meditation is not a conversation, but an observation. A practice of exercising the mind so that we are the master of it, not the other way around. A way to calm down, a way to let go, a way to find peace and get out of our own way.
15. Play regularly
For me, gardening has become my favorite act of play during nine months of the year (and in the winter months when I am sowing seeds in my potting area indoors). Diving into a creative project or playing with my dogs - fetch or chase or any…