Tag Archives: simplify

Simplify your life by throwing out the clutter

Spend more time doing things you like

Simplicity is gaining in popularity as a response to our economic times. Even though it goes against our contemporary American brain to be satisfied with greater simplicity and less stuff it came very naturally to our grandparents. Maybe it’s time to return to our practical past by challenging stereotypical American assumptions like:
* Baby boomers’ belief that human worth is tied to how much we work;
* Some parents equating being a good parent with giving your children everything they want;
In other words, simplifying will be different for everyone. What would make your life easier?

Leo Babauta writing for Zenhabits suggests that simplifying means getting rid of much of what you do to spend more time with those you love, doing the things you enjoy. It means “getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value.”

Babauta suggests many ideas. The following is adapted from http://zenhabits.net/simple-living-manifesto-72-ideas-to-simplify-your-life:
* First, write out a clear description of what your simpler life looks like.
* Identify your well-considered priorities or simplifying won’t work for you. Make a list of the four to five most important things to you, what you most value, and what you most want to do in your life.
* Identify which commitments – from family, hobbies, work and volunteering – truly give you value and you deeply enjoy. Which are in the top four to five most important things you listed? Drop those that aren’t.
* Log your time investments from upon awakening until you go to bed. Do they support your top priorities? Eliminate those that don’t. Then redesign how you spend your waking hours.
* Simplify your work and home tasks. Instead of hacking your way through your to-do lists, identify what’s most important and do those first. Eliminate the rest, delegate them or pay someone to do them.
* Set appropriate limits! If you don’t know how, take an assertiveness class. If you set no limits you teach others that you’ll always say “yes” to their requests. And guess what. They’ll keep asking!
* Take control over your emails, cell phone, IM, Twitter, etc. They’ll take over your life if you’re not careful. Set limits like checking emails once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Or admit that these electronic connections are a top priority and more important than whatever else you’re falling behind on.
* Get rid of stuff. It feels good. Use the idea of a workshop participant: once a year she hangs all of her clothes backwards. When she wears something she hangs it back up frontwards. At the end of the year anything that remains hanging backwards gets donated. I love this simple idea!

Happiness and satisfaction are never from what you own. They come from your relationships, being satisfied with what you have, being what you want to be and living your values. Recommit to your simplicity annually to avoid slipping back onto the American hyper-treadmill once the economy recovers.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S., is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach. Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple.

Want to simplify your life? Listen to inner wisdom

If it’s true that our new economic reality is here for a while, what can we do to cope?

How about simplifying and living within your means to reduce financial stress now and to enable living more wisely in the future?

It’s fortunate that the best things in life are very simple – and free: love, motivating work, enjoying nature. Yet most of us are chained to making a certain income to support a cluttered lifestyle, the opposite of simplicity. At the other extreme are some younger people who are promoting a lifestyle where you only possess 100 things. If you have three pair of jeans that counts for three! That’s too stark for me but the sentiment is appreciated.

A good place to start figuring out where you could simplify is to listen to your inner wisdom. But do you listen and act on its authentic advice? To hear it you must slow down. You could:
* Begin your morning routine more slowly. Get up a few minutes earlier, brush your teeth more slowly, eat slowly, and drive more slowly.
* Daily connect with nature with a conscious walk; not just a mechanical one, but one where you focus on the birds, the squirrels and the emerging morning light. At minimum before getting into your car deep breathe the fresh air and appreciate our gorgeous, emerging fall weather.
* Surround yourself with beauty. I don’t mean buy stuff that becomes clutter but rather make your surroundings more attractive with flowers, photos, meaningful mementos, candles and fresh air.
* Seek and enjoy silence daily, the opposite of the cacophony of daily noises: the alarming alarm that shocks you awake, the offensive hair dryer, the endless drone of depressing TV news, the ubiquitous office clamor. All day we’re surrounded by so much noise that it becomes part of the backdrop of life — until it totally stops — leaving the sweet sound of silence.

Don’t underestimate the stress of this incessant noise. To hear your inner voice above it you must regularly stop the noise and create silence for yourself through deep relaxation, sitting in silence with no TV or music, sitting comfortably in nature listening to its peaceful and natural sounds.

With practice, you’ll slow down allowing your intuition to surface. Keep a journal nearby to record your thoughts. You don’t need to act on any ideas but at least get them onto paper and into your conscious mind.

To attract your intuition to surface ask and answer questions:
§ What energizes/drains me the most? Why?
§ What part of my life is/isn’t working? Why?
§ What could I do to make life easier?

Be patient. It may take awhile for your answers to surface.

Americans have bought tons of stuff and discovered it doesn’t make us happier. In fact, the more stuff you have the more you want. Simplifying your life clears out the clutter so the clarity of what you really need shines through.

-Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S., is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach. Order her book, Let Your Body Win: Stress Management Plain & Simple.