We all want to simplify our lives -- starting tomorrow. We would start today, but we've got too many things on our plate to begin the process, right? I hear ya.
Here are five things you can do today that will make a difference immediately, regardless of how complicated your schedule is.
1. Decide what's important. Make a list of the three or four essential things in your life. What would happen if you eliminated everything else today? Imagine the "worst case scenario" if you didn't make that batch of brownies for the PTO, or if the laundry didn't get done, or if you didn't chaperone the field trip. Chances are, life would go on. Do the essentials first, and THEN fill in with the extras.
2. Be a Uni-tasker. Do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking has become a way of modern life, but it actually makes you less focused, less engaged, and less efficient. It robs each task of your full attention, energy and creativity. Doing one thing at a time means that you are present and able to make the most of each moment. When you stop juggling "the next thing," you'll find the beauty and joy that's in front of you right now.
3. Unplug. If you start having heart palpitations every time your phone or device is not in your hand or on your person, it's a good sign that you're addicted to it. Limit your email checks to a few specific times each day, and consider that the Twitterverse can function just fine without your current status. The constant bombardment of updates, news and information does not add quality to your life...it overloads you with mind-clutter and consumes valuable time. But you already knew this.
4. Embrace "Enough." In a culture that celebrates the "new and improved" versions of everything, we can easily get sucked into thinking we need more and better stuff than we already have. Do you have food to eat? Clothes to wear? A car to drive? You have more than billions of people on this planet. You have enough. Practice gratitude and model it to your children. Less stuff = less to take care of, less to worry about, less to spend money on. Less stuff = freedom.
5. Say "no." Truth: You will always be asked to do more than you can or should. Setting healthy boundaries around the things you value (your family, your time, your faith) means that you'll have to say "no" to good things in order to preserve the best things in your life. Make a habit of asking for time to think about a new commitment before adding it to your already-full life. Discuss it with your spouse and family, or a friend, before you commit to anything. Others can help you see your own limits when you can't. Learn that a healthy "no" brings a "yes" to peace and simplicty.
This year, I've committed to breathing. To simplifying. To letting go of the unnecessary. I've found that it takes a constant effort to keep chaos at bay and simplicity at the forefront. These five things are helping me make better decisions and enjoy each day to the fullest....and I am breathing. Are you?
How about you? What is YOUR best strategy for simplifying? What will you do today that will make life better? I hope you'll share!