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Learning to Simplify

10 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Focus on What Matters

I remember growing up and being told that I could be and do whatever I wanted. This is true. The possibilities are endless, however, unless you focus on your priorities, you will find yourself stressed and spinning your wheels. So how do you simplify your life and make progress towards what actually matters to you? Here are 10 ways to do just that.

1. Make more of your actions habits.

Just like brushing teeth doesn’t require you thinking about what you’re doing, tasks at home can be the same. So whether this is washing dishes, folding laundry, or cooking, make a routine for it. Practice this routine enough and you will be able to get those tasks done without having to think about it. Thus you will be able to lower the difficulty level of the task. The hardest part then will simply be getting started. The next point helps exactly with that – getting started.

2. Get your mind out of the decision-making process using the 5-second rule

Your body does a great job of keeping you safe and comfortable. This means that if there is a task that is even a little difficult, your mind will try and come up with reasons why you shouldn’t do it. Don’t let your mind over-complicate a simple task. Simply count down from 5 and when you get to 1 start the task.

To read more about how it works, read this post:

How to Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done

3. Block your day.

Instead of making a schedule that changes every day, create a block system just like you may have had in high school. This schedule repeats daily or weekly. In one time block, you focus solely on that subject. When you have a block to focus on housework, you can focus entirely on getting housework done without worrying about other things. This video explains it perfectly:

4. Write it down!

Simplify what is on your mind at any time. If a stray thought comes in about something you need to do, do not drop what you’re doing and focus on the new task. Don’t let it distract your focus either by constantly coming up in your mind like an annoying pop-up. Simply jot that thought down and keep doing what you were doing. If the thought comes back, remind yourself that you’ve already written it down and will give it attention later. Once done, you can return that thought and either take action on it right away or schedule it.

5. Do a brain dump.

Sometimes just jotting a few ideas isn’t enough to calm down the mind. This is where a brain dump comes handy. Set the timer for 5 minutes, get a piece of blank paper, and just write down all of the tasks, worries, concerns, etc. that have been on your mind. It could be something like a reminder to call someone back or a bigger project like finally put together that album from a family vacation. You may be surprised how much your mind has been holding onto. Once everything is down on the paper, take some time to prioritize and schedule those tasks.

6. Make a plan with you priorities for the week.

I like to use a weekly planner and a blank sheet of paper. Appointments and weekly tasks are put on my agenda. However, for a project which is ongoing and has multiple steps, such as working on a blog or organizing the home, I like to use a blank piece of paper. At the top write the main goal, then write down the smaller actionable steps with a checkbox beside it to track progress. The beauty of this is that you have enough space to make commentary on the sides. For example, how hard or easy a certain project was, or whether there are further steps that need to be taken.

7. Take a few minutes to review your progress.

Instead of constantly looking and worrying about your to-do list, take a few minutes to review. At the beginning of the day review what your priorities are and at the end of the day to reflect on what actually got done. Of course, there will be tasks that don’t get done. Don’t fret and beat yourself up. The tasks that get done get a checkmark. Then simply cross out those tasks that weren’t done and reschedule them for another day. This way you will be able to go to sleep knowing that there is nothing left on your schedule.

8. Make a pantry list.

Make a pantry list for the foods that you always like to eat when at home. This will save you the hassle of coming up with a shopping list every time you need to do grocery shopping. This could be either on a piece of paper or on your phone. When it’s time to shop, simply compare this list to what you have at home.

Read this article about how to make a pantry list and for a Free Printable:

Making a pantry list

9. Simplify your workload by delegating.

Consider delegating your work to someone else. No, this doesn’t mean giving more chores to your family members. If you really don’t have time or patience to clean your home or do grocery shopping, consider hiring someone to do this for you. Think about what you would rather have someone else do and take a look at the services available near you. You may be surprised at how affordable it is now.

10. Simplify what priorities you focus on at a time.

Oprah said “You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.” This is just like the ancient proverb about the two rabbits – if you chase both, you will catch neither. So, write down what you would like to accomplish either this year or the next few years. Limit this to just 20 goals. Once you have that list, highlight 1-2 of those that you are going to focus on right now. Only when you have accomplished those goals can you move on the next ones. By simplifying the number of things you’re focusing on, you will achieve better results and get there faster.

There you have it, 10 ways to simplify your life and focus on what matters to you. Which of these will you put into action right now? Remember, good strategies and advice only work when you put it to action.

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