How to Simplify Your Life in 10 Steps

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Different people have different ways to spend their lives. As a result, simplifying life would carry a different meaning for each one of us.

I wouldn’t be wrong if I assume that most of us want to spend time with their loved ones, do work that they really like to do, have time for hobbies, spend less time finding important stuff and just be happy. And if we are not able to accomplish most of the above, we need to look at and simplify a few things in our lives.

1. Figure Out What’s Really Important

Figuring out what’s really important to you, what makes you happy and what are the goals for your life is the first step towards the simplification you aim to achieve.

It’s only when you know what’s really important, you can prioritize your tasks accordingly and get things done without being stressed.

2. Analyze Your Current Routine

Spend a day analyzing how you have been spending your days. What is your daily routine like? Has it helped with your work? Has it helped your health? Are you able to take time out for family and friends? Have you been prioritizing tasks according to what’s really important? Is the routine designed accordingly?

If any of these are out of whack, it’s time to change the routine.

3. Overcome Information Overload

Although most of the information we consume every day may appear to be “life-saving” at first glance, it’s actually avoidable. I’ve talked about tips for managing information overload and managing your RSS feeds before here at WorkAwesome.

Susan offered tips on managing email overload. Did you read and implement the steps suggested? If you haven’t yet, it’s time you get started with them.

4. Simplify Household Tasks

Most people don’t realize that household chores, if not done productively, could easily take up a significant chunk of your time. It’s important to simplify them.

What are the chores you do every day? Which of them have to be done every day? How do you organize your household in a way that it eliminates many chores? These are some questions you need to answer.

5. Get Rid of Things You Don’t Use

Take a look at that old bookshelf that has piles of books gathering dust. You never read any of them twice. Heck, you didn’t even read some of them once! Don’t you think you are better off distributing them to someone who could benefit from reading them?

The same can be applied to your DVDs, CDs, gadgets et al. Either sell them or give them away. Simplify.

6. Don’t Buy Things You Might Not Use

The reason you had that enormous collection of books or DVDs in the first place was because you bought them thinking they’d be of great help. Turns out you were wrong.

So, from now on, only buy things you are likely to use — and use often. When it comes to books and movies (unless you are a voracious reader or a movie buff) you can borrow or rent them instead of buying each new thing that comes out.

7. De-clutter and Organize Your Home & Workplace

Yes, de-clutter. De-clutter your desk, de-clutter your desktop, de-clutter your workspace. Just get started on cleaning up the mess that’s surrounding you.

Make things look clean and simple around you. This is an important step in simplifying your life.

8. Go Paperless

If you look around you, most of the clutter is constituted by paper in one or form or another. So going paperless not only makes your work easier and saves you time, it also significantly reduces workspace clutter.

I understand that a few tasks need paper. But try to use latest tools and software as much as possible to get things done.

9. Delegate and Get Help

No matter how organized you are — and how easily you can get things done — if your work grows, you are bound to get overwhelmed if you are doing it all alone. And that’s not just for your work, but for everything else in your life.

Delegating tasks to others who can do it better than you, collaborating with friends in various aspects of life, seeking help from someone who knows it better…all this helps to keep you sane and carry on with life without getting stressed and frustrated.

10. Disconnect Often

Last, and probably the most important step in simplifying your life – disconnect often. Disconnect from what? From anything that has you connected all day. It could be the internet for one, a cellphone for another. For someone, it might be a musical instrument which he just can’t stop playing for hours.

Take a few hours off every week, and a day or two off every month from what you do every day. Stay disconnected…stay abandoned. Spend time with yourself, with something you like to do but can’t find time for, with someone you love but don’t have time for, with nature. Take time out and thank the universe for the life and the opportunities you’ve got.

(Image  courtesy of Beny Shlevich under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 generic license.)


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Abhijeet Mukherjee is the editor of Guiding Tech, a blog that publishes in-depth articles and tutorials on all things tech, including mobile news and tutorials. He's been into web working since 2008 and continues to enjoy each day of it. He loves to interact with people so hit him up on Twitter.
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Discussion

  1. Sean Palladino on the 14th December

    Great article. I especially liked the last tip. I definitely need to unplug for a couple days a month. Access to everything does, oddly enough, take a toll on the human psyche.

  2. Mihai on the 14th December

    Beautiful article …but wondering how many people have time to think about these steps. :)

  3. wasim alrayes on the 14th December

    Bets way is delegating your tasks, imagine if you had everyone else doing your important tasks, it would free up allot of your time.

    Like the paperless option, i’ve recently gone fully paperless. It saves soo much space, & Time.

  4. Mark on the 14th December

    An interesting article. I think most of
    should disconnect more often. I find
    It difficult to do, especially in this
    Technological age. Must do it more
    Often to keep me sane.

  5. Jennifer Brown Banks on the 14th December

    These are very useful, practical tips . #s 5 and 10 really resonated with me. Great article.

  6. Scott Cofer on the 14th December

    Great list of life simplification strategies. Interestingly, I found myself skimming it to try and save time … makes me wonder what I’m in such a hurry for. Love #1 — I’m in the process now of extricating as much “fluff” out of my life as possible. I’ve got my blog reading list down to 5, with WorkAwesome being one of them. Thanks for all the great content …

    - Scott

  7. Jiew Meng on the 14th December

    Great article especially in this age of distractions. I also recommend http://zenhabits.net/focus-book/ as further reading. An short & easy to read book. Many of the tips are similar to this article

  8. Graham on the 15th December

    Great article.
    I must say that with each day that goes by the more I feel that minimalism is something to strive for.

    I do however need to disconnect more – it’s a big challenge right now.

  9. angelee on the 15th December

    The simplest is just to live one day at a time.

  10. Bryce Christiansen on the 15th December

    Oh the power of unplugging. Over Thanksgiving I made it a point not to have the computer or tv plugged in. It was glorious, my wife and I were able to enjoy San Francisco from the top of a bus, have great home cooked breakfasts, played silly games with our little cousins, and go ice skating.

    Probably would have been much more boring had I decided to stay plugged in.

  11. Gabriele Maidecchi on the 15th December

    Getting rid of the information overload can be one of the most daunting tasks ever. In this real-time age it’s completely impossible to get completely “offline” if your business relies on being connected all the time, and trying to focus on the single task at hand can be very difficult.
    I also understand very much the need for delegation, I recently wrote about it myself and I think it’s a necessary step in the life of a manager/entrepreneur/freelancer, sooner or later you’ll get to the point you won’t be able to give your undivided attention to every task, and if you didn’t plan in advance, you’ll find yourself in trouble.

  12. Jeremy Campbell on the 15th December

    Disconnect is a big one for me, when I go home to my parents where there’s no Internet connection (crazy right) I can think much clearer and refocus. Mind you I have to turn off my iPhone 4 but that’s not too hard to do for a few hours per day.

    Great article, time to simplify in 2011!

  13. David on the 18th December

    A really wonderful article. Plus, clear and concise. I wish it could be easier to find such a good advice over the net!

  14. Maicon Sobczak on the 19th December

    Really important tips. I especially liked “Don’t Buy Things You Might Not Use”.

  15. Alex on the 29th December

    Great article!

    I especially like #5, #10 like Jennifer said.
    Also, I think #7 is great. And additionally as I’ve found out, separating your private place and work place is hugely important – esp. when you start working (freelancing) seriously.

    Greetings from Germany!
    Kind regards,
    - Alex

  16. marie on the 16th September

    That’s very good advice!! It’s strange how we sometimes prevent ourselves from doing things when really, we are free!!

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