by Sam of Financial Upside
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more difficult. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move swiftly in the opposite direction.” –E.F. Schumacher
A simple life has a different meaning and a different value for every person. For me, it means getting rid of some of life’s complexities so you can spend more time with people you love and do more of the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter, and eliminating all but the essential, so you are left with only that which gives you value.
The Short List
For the cynics who might say that the list of 30 ideas below is too long to be ‘simple,’ there are really only two steps to simplifying:
- Identify what’s most important to you.
- Eliminate everything else.
Of course, that advice is not terribly useful unless you can see some examples of how to apply this concept to different areas of your life; so I present to you…
The Long List
There can be no step-by-step guide to simplifying your life, but I’ve compiled an incomplete list of ideas that should help you move in the right direction. And of course, not every tip will fit your lifestyle, so just choose a few that do and apply them accordingly.
- Resign from a commitment you’re not passionate about.
- Stop trying to be perfect.
- Implement a basic cleaning schedule.
- Automate your finances by signing up for automatic bill pay and automatic savings deposits through your bank. (Read I Will Teach You To Be Rich.)
- Clean out your media collection and keep only the items you love.
- Clean out your purse or wallet.
- Put a paper shredder next to your mail spot.
- Winnow your wardrobe down to pieces that work together.
- Delete any social networking accounts you don’t actually use.
- Add your number to the do-not-call list.
- Create a car maintenance schedule and post it somewhere you’ll see it.
- Enjoy life’s simple pleasures.
- Start your day with a healthy meal.
- Turn your phone off when you need quiet time.
- Single-task as much as possible.
- Design a filing system that you can stick to. Read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done for some practical organizational guidance.
- Set one good goal, and go achieve it.
- Record your good “shower” ideas and then implement them. (Don’t we all get our best inspirations in the shower?)
- Write to a friend with (gasp!) pen and paper.
- Set limits on your bad habits, and reward yourself when you stick with them.
- Always be honest with yourself and others.
- Don’t worry too much about what other people think about you.
- Stop trying to be a saint and indulge yourself in something fun every once in a while.
- Pay off your credit card debt.
- Avoid watching commercials and reading advertisements.
- Rediscover the pleasure of reading purely for enjoyment.
- Plan two weeks of delicious meals ahead of time and skip the nightly grocery run.
- Go to your doctor for a preventative checkup.
- Learn to ask for help.
- Make mistakes, learn from them, laugh about them, and move along.
Want more simple ideas you can implement to simplify your life? I highly recommend reading The Joy of Less. And of course, check out my blog for advice on simplifying your financial and professional life.