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More and more people are starting to get enamored with the idea of living a simple life. Yet some of them might find it to be a difficult road to pursue — especially when they have already set their lives on the way the world operates today. Others may even perceive it as impossible.
Living a simple life is possible for everyone willing to commit to it. Simplifying our lifestyle is not passive. It is a continuous, and conscious, decision to choose simplicity over complexity. Simple living is a habit attained through the unending discipline of pursuing less.
Read on to learn how to make living a simpler life possible. This article will give insights into the areas of your life you should simplify, and some actionable steps to accomplish them. Please be advised, however, this is for information purposes only. We are sharing based on our personal research and experience. We do not intend to give professional advice.
Simplifying life at work
Our career is one of the areas of our lives we should simplify. People will either love what they do or dread every second of their work. So, why not make your life simpler by finding the work you love? It is said, if you find a job you truly love, you won’t have to work for another day. To simplify our work-life, we first need to ask ourselves some guiding questions:
- Is this something I want to do for the rest of my life?
- How can I accomplish my tasks in less time?
- How can I do my work without the need to be 100% physically present at it every time?
Simplifying our tasks will help reduce mental clutter. This will enable us to focus more on what is truly essential. Mental clarity will be one of your best assets in simplifying your life since it saves you time and energy spent on scraps. It makes you concentrate on one thing that matters, rather than on many unimportant things.
Simplifying life at home
Making life at home simple is a challenging one — especially when you have kids. There are lots of techniques we can apply to make family life easier, but it is a constant battle we must fight as our family’s needs continuously change over time. We often think living a simple life means we should deprive ourselves of the things we enjoy. Yet, decluttering the excess stuff actually allows us to truly appreciate what we already have at home we often overlook. Below are a few tips to simplify your life at home:
- Assess your needs.
Are you aware of your consumption? When I go to the market, I have the tendency to overbuy. Way beyond what my family needs. Consequently, our household storage management has become complicated; causing us to waste a lot of our resources. Taking note of your average consumption regularly will help you simplify the buying and storing process in your household — making your home life more efficient overall.
- Plan your meal.
Speaking of going to the market, meal planning is one of the best ways to simplify your life at home. Not only does it ensure you are getting the right nutrition for your body, but it also allows you to spend less time on groceries and food preparation. Imagine, spending a day cooking a week’s worth of meals. This reduces the decision fatigue of “what should we eat tonight?” and opens up more opportunities to spend quality time with yourself, or with your family.
My wife and I started to plan our meals when we realized how often we experience analysis paralysis every time we think about food. It is now our habit to plan our meals every other week, and it has reduced the mental strain of thinking about what we should eat daily.
- Declutter your stuff.
“Declutter” has now become a buzzword ever since Marie Kondo became a household name for having an organized home. Kondo is a Japanese decluttering consultant, a TV show host, and an author of several books, such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Spark Joy, and Joy at Work.
But despite the popularity of the KonMari method, many will still easily dismiss the idea of downsizing due to the strong emotional attachments they have to their stuff. More than being organized, decluttering is about letting go of our material possessions to make room for things that add better value to our lives.
What makes it difficult to let go of our stuff? Perhaps it’s the “just in case” notion where it is better to have it and not need it than need it but don’t have it. But how many items do we have in our house that have this kind of purpose? Maybe most of them have been sitting around for months (or even years) and still waiting for their time to be used.
Or possibly the struggle is in the convenience of shopping online. With a few taps of a finger, our smartphones can make stuff appear at our doorsteps. The accumulation of things has never been easier. How many times have we bought something because it is simply on sale? I presume most people have a lot of stuff at home they do not have any intention of using.
Here are three things you will experience when you start decluttering:
1. Fewer things to clean.
2. Fewer things to maintain.
3. Fewer things to think about.
Our homes should be a place where we find peace and tranquility. Unfortunately, for many of us, it has become a source of stress and anxiety. We constantly feel overwhelmed at home because there’s so much stuff to clean, fix, and maintain. Why not do ourselves a favor? Let’s start simplifying our home life.
Three ways you could live a simple life
If ever you are interested in simplifying your lifestyle, here are three good starting points:
- Your finances.
Choosing to live simply has a lot of great benefits. One of which is it should lead to better finances. The fewer things we own, the more money we can save. While we live in a world that loves to consume, there is growth in the number of people living in frugality. These are the individuals who live with enough today, so they can save up for their future. The truth is, most people do not even care about the brand of clothes you wear or the kind of car you drive. Our lives are not assessed based on our net worth, but on how we contribute to our society.
Living a simple life does not necessarily mean we have to live a life of frugality. It simply means we are becoming more careful of the effects of advertising on our emotions and being more mindful about the things we buy. By being self-aware, we have already won half the battle. It will keep us from making random purchases, which open our finances to better opportunities for growth.
- Your digital life.
Our smartphones today have been an extension of our hands, and at times, they even enslave us. Every time we get a notification, we instantly want to check it out. It seems like our smartphones are the ones in control of when to pick them up or not. We cannot deny the endless distractions and anxieties technology has brought into our lives. They are always beside us, and doomscrolling is just one tap away. Here are the ways I simplify my digital life:
A. Turn off notifications from social media apps. A friend request from a stranger may not be something that requires urgent attention.
B. No screen time one hour before going to bed. According to sleep experts, screens emit short-wavelength enriched light, also known as blue light, which hampers us from getting quality sleep. Studies have shown blue light reduces or delays the natural production of melatonin in the evening and decrease feelings of sleepiness
C. Take note of your screen time. We are mostly not aware of how long we spend our lives in the digital space than in the real world.
- Your relationships.
There are three types of relationships, according to The Minimalists speaker and author of Everything That Remains, Joshua Millburn:
A. Peripheral Relationships — These are relationships that are good for a season. These groups could either be people from work, or neighbors. We sure can enjoy their company, but keep in mind these people are mostly not the ones who would typically stick with you for the long haul. The relationships we have with them are only sufficient for the current job or the place we live in. After that, there’s a good chance we may never see them again.
B. Secondary Relationships — These are the people whom you could consider dear, i.e. friends. They are important relationships, but not as important as our families. We may rarely see them, but we know we value them despite the distance or the busyness of life. They are the non-blood-related people who we sometimes consider family.
C. Primary Relationships — These are the people whom we truly cherish. This category may be reserved for familial relationships and intimate friendships.
Ideally, we should spend more time with the primary and secondary relationships. Yet most of us chose to give priority to peripheral relationships or to people we haven’t even met — like our social media followers. Understanding our levels of relationship and where to focus our time and energy will greatly help us simplify our relationships.
Living a simple life both at work and at home is very achievable when we fix our finances, our digital life, and our relationships. But ultimately, it would require us first to make a tough decision to take the initial step towards simple living.
- How Does Simple Living Work?
- Why Is It Important To Learn Money? Here’s what the data says
- What Is A Successful Family Life?
- What is Digital Minimalism?
- Dealing with Anxiety