Growing up, my parents successfully got both my brother and I into the habit of helping out with the housework every week, decluttering our rooms every quarter, and giving away things we didn’t need anymore to charity at the end of each calendar year.
At the time, I didn’t really see the point of all of this and preferred to spend my time doing something more rewarding, which primarily comprised of progressing to the next levels of the video games we owned and plonking ourselves in front of the TV to watch whatever the likes of Cartoon Network threw our way!
However, with age comes maturity and those habits began to rub off on me in more ways than I could’ve imagined. I began to enjoy the benefits and rewards that came with living in a minimalist way, which began to work itself into different areas of my life.
Simplifying life made sense and it allowed me to spend more of my time focused on things that mattered the most. As a Leonardo da Vinci quote states: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
So what I want to share with you in this post, are some ideas of what you could do to simplify your life based on what I’ve embraced and what I’m working on making a more regular habit:
- Regularly declutter cupboards, drawers and workspaces of waste and things you don’t need anymore. For clothing, I tend to classify items into 3 categories: keep, sell (eBay) or donate to my local charity shop. Once this process is complete, put clothes in the first category back neatly and donate those in the third within the following week. The key here is to be ruthless. If you’ve not worn something in the last 12 months, how likely is it that you will do so in the next 12?
- Dedicate an hour or two to plan your week ahead. For me, this is what I will do with my fiancee on Sunday evenings before retiring to bed. This will give you focus to both your week and each day so you know exactly what you’re working towards and what needs to be actioned. It also eliminates many of the unproductive everyday decisions that can consume your thinking: what to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner, what to wear to scheduled events, what you need to be doing next, and so on.
- Focus on just 3 things a day. What often happens when you’re passionate about something however, is that you will always find something extra to do or take on. This will inevitably lead to exhaustion and the experience of feeling a bit burned out. Focus on the most important 3 things that need to be completed today (perhaps a 4th bonus task if you’ve finished in extra quick time!) and use the remainder of the day to relax and do something you enjoy to give your mind a break.
- Spend less and invest more. The less you spend, the more you have and who doesn’t want more money?! I don’t own a car so I rent out my parking space to others; my fiancee and I cook extra portions of food in the evenings so that we don’t need to splash out on lunch the next day; and, I accumulate a lot less things. Use the extra funds instead to invest in more experiences and opportunities that will expand your knowledge and grow your income.
- Use limits in your daily life that help promote a healthier lifestyle. A good example of this is to have a cutoff time for looking at screens (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc). Your best sleep comes when both your mind and body are relaxed in the hour or so before falling asleep. Replace your exposure to technology by reading a book, visualising how amazing your next day will be, listening to soft/mellow music, or even better, reflecting on a few things that you can be grateful for today.
- Avoid artificial energy boosts and go natural instead. Cut out coffee, energy and sugary drinks from your diet and take a more conscious approach to raising your energy levels. Up your fruit and veg, your protein intake (e.g. through lean meats) and amount of water you drink; avoid processed and packaged food as much as possible. Make sure regular workouts that push you and make you really sweat are also part of your daily routine.
- Hack away at the amount of information and unnecessary tasks that consume time. Keeping on top of email can often be a job in itself. To help with this, unsubscribe from any email lists that no longer add any value or interests you. The process of replying to important messages in a timely fashion will be easier. Unnecessary tasks can also take time away from what you really need to be working on. For these, think how you could outsource some of these (e.g. hiring a virtual assistant or scheduling your social media, email and posts so you don’t need to be in front of a screen all the time).
Living simply through minimalist practices and a decluttered home leads to a more calming feel and thus lower stress levels. How could you benefit from leading a simpler, more minimalist life?
Blog courtesy of Simon Alexander Ong