Busy is the new black. But it’s dragging us down and there’s now an overwhelming number of individuals looking for help to be ‘less busy’.
Want my number one piece of advice for simplifying your life? The key is this: Instead of figuring out how to make ends meet, work on having fewer ends!
But …. Ugh, and here’s the rub, from my experience, the most complicated skill is to ‘keep it simple’ … but, hey it’s worth the effort!
When we simplify, we stop feeling overwhelmed, and we can focus better – but it’s always a juggle trying to minimise tasks and ‘to do’ lists, work out what’s necessary and what’s not, and what’s important ….
I have to admit, ‘keeping it simple’ is a skill I still have to practice in order to improve every single day.
Life isn’t complex…
One thing that I have realised on this journey is that life isn’t complex at all. It’s us humans who make it so!
When I figured that out, I set myself a goal to spend more time on things that matter, rather than things that don’t.
Making the distinction between the two, is partly an internal process – slowing the mind, setting an intention for the day and committing to myself to stick to it. It’s also partly an external focus – and these are not things we can always control – but for most of us they make up a large part of the things we need to do – children, partner’s needs, work focus … it’s all a juggle.
Accept things and people to be imperfect.
The thing is, none of us is perfect, and as soon as we accept that, life becomes a whole lot easier … and hey – here’s the big-ticket value – once you can accept also that you, yourself, are also not perfect and nor do you need to be, then the pressure comes off!
You see everyone has a different direction and different values in life and what’s important is that we focus on what we truly value, instead of comparing ourselves, or being in judgement of others because your values are not aligned with theirs.
But in order to simplify, we must first identify what it is that we want to dedicate our time and energy to, the things that are meaningful and that we value … those things that give us exuberance, energy and delight! Then we need to get rid of all the other complex things that we think we need to do…. But which drain us of our time and energy. This stuff really is just excess baggage.
Mind your own business…
One of the things that can take up people’s lives is getting involved in other people’s drama – sure you want to be a supportive friend, or a helpful neighbour – but you need to have firm boundaries so that you can save time and focus on you!
Stop expecting yourself to please everyone around you.
It’s quite empowering to be detached from problems that don’t concern you, it still amazes me how many individuals get involved, have a say, or a piece of advice … when not asked. It’s certainly a very different situation when you are being present for an individual, like a friend or loved one, or a team member to give them the space to be heard. But most of us are guilty of getting involved in other people’s problems just because …. why? Ask yourself – it’s key to letting this habit go ….
In truth, I was the number one expert in carrying other people’s baggage… because I wanted to help them change, it’s my job, but also my skill and passion – but in reality, that was time consuming and not effective. It was dragging me down and I had to set boundaries and be very mindful of myself to change this habit. Yes, people sometimes need advice and assistance, but they also need their own life experiences …. And they are responsible for figuring their own ‘stuff’ out.
Follow your heart…
Learn to say ‘No’. This is indeed a biggie. How many times have you said ‘yes’ to something and then spent the lead up wondering how the hell you’re going to get out of it? We’ve all been there. What’s the trick? Be brave – follow your heart – say ‘I’ll think about it’ or I’m really not sure, but thank you for asking me,’ there are several other things you could say – you just need to figure out what’s right for you. Honour yourself and your needs. Honestly, if these are true friends, they will understand.
Being true to yourself brings a myriad of rewards – life becomes more enjoyable and the people in it respond on a more authentic level. Really, it’s that simple. When you’re not taking care of you. You can’t give your best self to others …. And if you’re anything like me and like to treat others as I would like to be treated, then I simply explain …. ‘Let’s catch up when I’m less stressed/busy/tired…’
People say the words: Work smarter, not harder. Well it’s possible to carry this mantra into your own personal life too: Live smarter, not harder.
De-clutter and make space for yourself…
There is nothing more satisfying than decluttering your wardrobe, your office and even your kitchen – there is something highly therapeutic about getting rid of baggage.
Because out of clutter you find simplicity. And they do say ‘less is the new more’.
Keep this front of mind with everything you do and watch what a massive impact it has on the type of decisions you make. And you’ll also soon see that once you start to need less, you will have more.
The best is yet to come …
It is difficult to let go, of stuff, of people who drain us, of old habits …. The trick to making it easier is to focus not on what you will lose, but what you have to gain.
When we open up ‘space’ in our lives, we let in something new. So – grab a journal. Make priorities, set aside time, slow down, use mindfulness ….
When we keep things simple, it has the wonderful effect of giving our cluttered and scattered brains a rest too – and it is only then that we can truly begin to tap into our greatest power … Because when the mind is quiet, the ‘inner voice’ can finally be heard and it has lots of wonder in store for you!