Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Does your life feel cluttered? We’re almost at the midpoint of 2016, so it’s a great time to check in on those New Year’s resolutions you made, as well as simplify our lives in order to accomplish our goals. And, if like me, your goal is to slow down and do less, these step will definitely help.
Ask yourself the following (and answer honestly): Is your calendar too full? Do you have a problem with distractions? Is your house a disaster area? It’s time to tackle things, one at a time. By following these five easy steps, you’ll be able to simplify your life in no time.
- Just say, “No.” I know, I know, this is easier said than done. But I promise practice makes perfect. If you feel pulled in too many different directions, turn down some invitations and take on fewer projects. If you’re an overachiever or a people pleaser (like me), remember that your best work might suffer if you over-commit. When turning people down remember, you don’t owe anyone an explanation. However, if you feel the need to justify your choices, just tell the truth. In this case, honesty really is the best policy and you’ll be setting an example for others on how to create better boundaries.
- Streamline all of your planners and to-do lists. Many of us start out the year with one beautiful planner and wind up with notepads, calendars, and planners galore. Take me, for example, I started out 2016 with an Erin Condren LifePlanner planner, then got a Passion Planner, then a Happiness Planner. Want to know which one I use now? None. I use my iPhone (Google Calendar) and Outlook (for work). I know that we have important pieces of information in our bedrooms, our offices, our handbags, and in our cars. It’s super important to gather everything up and store it all in one place. Seriously, how can we possibly remember it all when we don’t have one place to look? I had to pull myself from the brink of planner overload and force myself to use ONE planner. You should do the same. If you’re a planner addict (or recovering planner addict like myself), this can be a painful process. But condensing everything into one will really reduce your stress levels.
- Cut back on subscriptions. Be it magazine subscriptions or streaming services, how much use are you really getting out of these? Do you have time to enjoy it all? Perhaps you can’t imagine life without access to Spotify. Keep that, but maybe you have a backlog of Marie Claire magazines you still haven’t cracked open. (What? Don’t judge me.) Save money and reduce the stuff coming into your home (or filling your screens) by canceling whatever subscriptions you can. Be brutally honest about that gym membership, too. There may be classes that you can take at a drop-in rate when the time and motivation allows. While everyone seems to have Netflix these days, you might only get to enjoy the service one night a week. If that’s the case, you’d be better off utilizing Red Box or asking to share a friend’s account.
- Organize & donate. I’m not suggesting that you have a blitz weekend and ruthlessly gut your house, but thoroughly organizing one room at a time will bring you some inner peace and donating your things to those who need, and will actually use, is a win-win. Donate all the unused items you’ve been holding onto out of guilt or some bazaar emotional attachment. In doing so, you’ll have more room for visiting friends and family (or pets, or exercise, or crafting, or whatever brings you joy). Remind yourself that you don’t need to fill your square footage with stuff. Creating a simple and clean space can bring some serious serenity.
- Clean your house on a schedule. The longer you wait to clean something, the more effort it will take to get the job done. (Especially the shower, and I speak from experience.) It doesn’t matter whether you designate one day a week as “Clean House Day,” or whether you clean one room per day (a great option if you work during the day), if you make a habit of doing your chores, they’ll be much easier to tackle. And, a bonus from tip number 4, now that your place is organized and decluttered, it’ll be faster to clean, right?
Have you tried any of these steps? What’s worked and what hasn’t? Where are your hang-ups? Where have to found success? Let me know in the comments section below.
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