“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
- Albert Einstein
MANY SAY THAT happiness lies in simplicity, that we should focus on the important things in life and eliminate the things that don’t contribute to our happiness.
Fancy a life without stress or complications? Here is a list of 9 things you can do today to simplify your life.
1. Turn off email notifications
My number one tip: Turn off the little envelope that appears in the bottom right corner of your screen. You will find this setting in most email programs in Options > Email Options. Make sure you also do this for Twitter, Facebook and any other social media accounts that may send you a message or email to your phone.
2. Identify your priorities
What are the most important things in your life? Family, hobby, career, future goals? List as your top priorities the things that add purpose and joy to your life.
3. Do a life audit
Take an objective view of each area of your life and look at how you currently spend your time. Are you doing things you don’t need to be doing? The life audit is about eliminating everything from your life that isn’t on your priority list. If an activity takes you away from spending time with those you love or doing the things that you love, is it really necessary?
4. Become clutter-free
Decluttering is a great way to clear physical and mental space. Choose an area in your house to declutter today. A cupboard, a wardrobe or your messy zone? Try to make a decision about each item you come across, and don’t put something down until you decide if you are going to keep it. (And if you are, where are you going to put it?)
5. Go paperless
Set up to receive all your bills electronically. Scan any documents you need to keep into your computer and file them. One very secure way to go paperless is to use Evernote, so all your documents are stored in the cloud. In this way you have everything you need available to you on all platforms – computer, tablet, phone – and you don’t have to worry about backing up.
6. Reduce your circle of friends
Do you have friends that you struggle to keep in touch with? Are you trying to nurture a flame that has burnt out? Some friendships don’t stand the test of time; some we grow out of, others are at different stages in their lives. If it’s not working, let them go.
7. Try an electronics-free day
Test yourself – see if you can live without TV, your computer or phone for a day (and no that doesn’t mean you can use your iPad). This day of peace, tranquillity and stillness will show you how you normally live in a hive of activity and constant stimulation. Do yourself a favour and give yourself a break.
8. Be a single-tasker
Multitasking doesn’t work. The time it takes your brain to switch from focusing on one task to another makes multitasking inefficient and distracting. Focus on the job at hand and do one thing at a time – in this way you will complete the task more quickly, usually with better quality, and you will benefit from a sense of achievement for a job well done.
9. Stop controlling and let go
This is perhaps the most important lesson, and the most difficult to achieve. Letting go is something we all need to do more regularly. Being in control of your life is important, taking responsibility for your own future essential, but when we try to control too much we create problems for ourselves.
Set your goals, do the work and let go of all outcomes. As the lovely Doris Day sang to us many years ago: “Que sera, sera.” (Whatever will be, will be.)
Moving towards a simpler life is a journey. You can’t do it all at once, but each step you take will take you closer to having a life free from complications, worries and stress. Choose simplicity today.
Ciara Conlon is an author, blogger and productivity coach who writes at ciaraconlon.com. Her book Chaos To Control: A Practical Guide To Getting Things Done is available now published by Orpen Press.