Living a simple life is one of the promises I keep to myself. I can sometimes make things more complicated, which makes my anxiety worse. I can identify it because it leaves crumbs in its wake before entirely changing my life. I reorient myself using some of the lessons I’ve gained throughout the years.
In order to have room to breathe, a simple life entails minimization. Since you are aware that working harder does not necessarily translate into greater joy, the goal is to get more done with less. It’s about appreciating the small things in life and being present in the now.
I thought I would share with you some of the things I’ve learnt about simplifying my life.
- Don’t Overdo– Know that you have a choice in every moment. Do not get attached to anything to the extent that instead of giving you pleasure and comfort it burns you out. You need to understand that you are sufficient on your own and that nothing outside of you can make you whole. Do not overdo anything be it parenting, caring for others, working, eating, drinking, indulging and even pleasure seeking, all need to be capped after a certain point before it turns into an addiction or worse takes over your identity.
- Reduce Clutter-If you are attached to sentimental items and keep everything for future use for a period that will never arrive, you won’t be able to get rid of clutter. How many of you have been hanging onto items for more than 5 years that you seldom ever use? If you are committed to a certain way of living, you won’t be able to let go of many things. Therefore, in order to truly minimise clutter and bring value to both your life and the environment, first you need to identify what constitutes clutter. Thank all the stuffs that you no longer use or that no longer sparks joy in you, put them away in a box and deliver the box to the NGO you support. The Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo really inspired me to reduce my clutter.
- Do One Thing At A Time- Be it work, answering a call or message, washing dishes, reading an article, do it with your complete attention. Be fully present as you do it. Drop your multitasking hat and work more on the quality of each task at hand. I loved reading and implementing my learnings from the book The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, in which they talk about how multitasking is a myth and we become scatter-brains and lose our flow state and end up being more drained when we do not focus on the big picture. I don’t pick up all the calls at all times because for me my flow state is of prime importance. I return calls later, I respond to emails and messages at a prescheduled time of the day. I have all notifications turned off on my phone, because I realised that the smart phone can be really dumb and cost you a lot of time which we all know time is an invaluable and finite resource. I prefer a text message or an email if things aren’t that urgent because it helps me be with my one thing that is important and connected to my purpose in life. My deliveries and parcels also come at a specified time mostly so I am not distracted.There are people who respect this and help me at all times by allowing me the time and space that I need.
- Make Your Plug-In-List For Simple Joy– For me, those include painting, swimming, slowly sipping my tea, petting my furry friend, watering my plants (each one has a name), writing, reading, learning something new, meditating, reaching out to my loved ones and spending quality time with people I care about. I call this as my plug-in-list. Let go of everything your mind has fixated upon and enjoy the simple activities which involve zero costs and no feeling of possession. The zen practice of decorating and then burning a candle everyday is to remind oneself of the transient nature of everything we experience in this realm. So go and create your plug-in-list and recharge.
- Know what you want and say no to the rest- Saying no and knowing when to say yes is the key to simple joy in life. Know this that if you are saying yes to or investing your time and energy into something, it must be in alignment with the agenda of your soul, if not have the courage to deny the same.
Of course, these are not the only lessons you’ll need for living a simple life. Try to simplify your life and you will discover beautiful things about yourself and about life.
* First Published By Me in 123Greetings Newsletter as Alias Editor Bob