No, this isn’t another blog about living a minimalist lifestyle.
No, there isn’t anything wrong with a minimalist lifestyle.
No, living a minimalist lifestyle doesn’t mean living in an empty house with one table and one chair.
(If you choose to live like that, that’s cool, too…)
Many people have the incorrect interpretation of minimalism and simplicity. In this case, simplicity means learning to live with less, and the powerful impact it can have on your life.
That, my friends, is what this blog is all about.
The Power of Simplicity
Finding simplicity in your life is about reducing the “clutter”. This means something different for each individual. And it’s up to you to define what the “clutter” is in your life. There are two ways you can de-clutter:
- Cleaning out your physical living or work space.
- Cleaning out your mental space.
By doing one or both of these, you are on your way to simplifying your life, which can have more of a powerful and positive impact on you than what you might realize.
Get ready to experience the awesomeness of simplicity. Here are some easy things you can do to simplify your life:
1. Get Rid of Stuff
Figure out what you need or can afford to get rid of. Again, this can mean physically cleaning out the attic, basement or garage and donating old clothes, furniture, or Christmas decorations, or ensuring things in your living area has a “home”, instead of simply stacking things neatly in the corner of a room and calling it “organized”.
De-cluttering can also refer to non-material things, such as responsibilities, commitments, and relationships. It can mean changing jobs, stepping down from serving on a Board of Directors for a particular organization, firing a particular client, or giving up coaching your son’s soccer team.
The goal is to evaluate your current list of responsibilities and commitments, and cut out what isn’t working for you (outside of your primary job, your family, your home, and so on, of course).
2. Get Rid of Relationships that Aren’t Working
We all have that person or people in our lives who are just wrong for us. In some cases, they might be abusive or toxic. Evaluate your current relationships, and break away from anyone who hurts you; constantly puts you down, throws you under the bus, or makes you feel bad about yourself; and anyone who is a “taker” rather than “giver”.
These people are costing you more time, effort, and mental energy than what they are worth. It’s time to cut ties.
3. Get Rid of Social Media (or Limit Your Time on It)
When most of us think about not checking our phones, social media, or email for even just a few minutes, we panic. It’s actually pretty ridiculous if you really think about it. We all enjoy social media to a certain extent. We can scroll through our news feeds, see what people within our networks are up to, who got married, who had a baby, who bought a new truck, and so on…
However, the majority of social media is just… noise. And not just any noise, negative noise. Political opinions, offensive memes, nasty and rude comments. Yes, we all know there is negativity in this world, especially these days… But feeding into it for hours and hours a day, is that really how you want to spend your time? When you really think about it, who needs it?
I have three words that can help you put an end to all of it:
Shut. it. down.
Go as far as deleting your social media apps from your phone, tablet or other devices. If
If you can’t drop social media cold turkey, I get it. Some people legitimately need it for their jobs. But you can limit your time spent on it. You can adjust the settings in your phone or device to set time limits on using certain apps in a day.
4. Tune Out the Noise.
After years and years of Zoom calls and meetings (long before COVID), I realized that I was packing my schedule with too many meetings, and that was causing me to rush ALL the time, increasing my anxiety levels.
In November 2021, I launched my “Banana Bread Experiment“, which involved canceling all meetings for nearly two straight weeks. This meant reworking some of my weekly scheduled calls with clients, or even releasing clients who were no longer a good fit for us. This forced me to slow down, realign myself with my purpose, and get back into the right mindset for focus work. The experience was incredible; the outcome was even better.
I understand not everyone is in a position to simply up and cancel meetings they don’t feel are necessary. However, the point here is to find areas of your life where you can cut out the noise. Again, maybe that’s social media. Maybe it’s breaking an unhealthy attachment to your phone. Maybe it’s a coworker who always bothers you to gossip. Figure out what “noise” you can cut out. And do it.
5. Write and reflect.
Don’t laugh. Journaling actually works. The first thing I do every morning is write down my goals, thoughts, and feelings for the day. This helps center myself, increase awareness, which increases my focus on only the things that matter. Journaling helps remind me of this.
Journaling allows you to start the day off slow. It allows you to take the time to fully wake up—mentally and physically. Do a stream of consciousness and write out anything on your mind. It can also be daily affirmations, moments of gratitude, and even finding joy in the little things.
6. Be present.
It is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the things. Shut it all down. Tune out the world and its distractions. Focus on the here and now, even through challenges. Go to a place of quiet—peace, solidarity, solitude, and, yes, simplicity.
Remember, life only exists in the present. And living a life of simplicity will allow you to see this and focus on it easier.
7. Say NO.
Through my own personal practice of simplifying my life, I learned how to say no easier. I always want to help others, even if that means putting my own needs, wants, and interests aside. I learned that there isn’t anything wrong with this, but there is if you do it all the time, as this just leads to pent up anger and resentment. It crosses a line into “unhealthy” territory.
So, I started an experiment—saying no more often. The results? Professionally, I learned what and who are worth my time. I learned what clients we want to work with. I learned what opportunities yield the best ROI and results.
Personally, it reminded me of the importance of boundaries, helped me gain confidence, be more assertive when and where appropriate, and it was also empowering.
Simplifying Your Life Means Doing More By Doing Less
The goal of simplicity is not to live an empty or lonely life, but to learn how to live with less. And it’s up to you to define what “less” means.
All in all, all you need to know from this article is the best way to do more is to do less. It seems counterintuitive, but it works.
Here’s the breakdown:
Simplifying your life = More room for more mental energy for the things the matter = Better focus = Higher productivity = More peace
I encourage you to give it a try. Through the exercise of re-evaluating your life and figuring out where you can get rid of “stuff”, de-clutter, and cut down on, you will find a greater sense of peace, focus, and productivity.