15 ways to simplify your life

Life is full of responsibilities, obligations, opportunities and expectations. We want a lot from life and from ourselves: careers, families, spirituality, hobbies; the list goes on. We want to be fulfilled. We want to continue to evolve and improve ourselves. That can happen in many ways — through relationships, community, religion and, education. Sometimes, though, the day-to-day responsibilities or just “stuff” can get in the way of our own progression. But maybe that doesn’t have to happen. How much of your everyday is actually necessary? An article in Relevant Magazine by Jared Brock suggests there may be things you can change or purge to make room for self-improvement. Balancing all that life has to offer can be tricky, but, if done successfully, rewarding. Here are 15 ways to simplify your life so that you can find time to do what fulfills you most. 1. Say no. People have a hard time saying no to other people, but sometimes you have to say no to someone else so that you can say yes to yourself. 2. Acquire and purge. Or, just purge. Although this might not be realistic every time, it’s a good plan of attack. Every time you acquire something new, purge something old. For example, when you buy a new book, donate a book you’re finished with. That way you’re less likely to overcrowd yourself with belongings you don’t need. Even better, give away the stuff you’re done with, and then don’t fill the empty space with anything. 3. Quit bad habits. We all have them. We think we can’t live without something — whether it’s too much coffee or too much time on social media — but really it drags us down. Find a way to give it up. After six-to-eight weeks, living without whatever it was you thought you had to have will become second nature. Plus, it’s one more thing you won’t worry about anymore, getting you that much closer to a stress-free life. 4. Focus your friendships. It feels good when people like us. But sometimes trying to maintain too many friendships can be time-consuming, unfulfilling and unrealistic. Having a few really good friends and feeling a deep connection with them can be more meaningful than having dozens of superficial relationships. By focusing on a few people with whom you can have honest conversations and who you can truly bond with, you’ll be able to streamline your time with them, making the most of each visit and building life-long friendships. 5. Work toward a debt-free life. Try working toward the goal of having as few bills as possible. Debt weighs you down. Living free of debt gives you the freedom to do what you want with your life. 6. Consider work/life balance solutions. Look for ways to attain balance in your life to avoid burnout. Pamela Lister offers some good suggestions in her Redbook article. For example, if possible, negotiate with your employer for more paid time off instead of annual pay raises that tend to be minimal anyway. Or see if working longer hours on fewer days (to open up more free days in the week) is a possibility. Another idea is to explore work-from-home opportunities to reduce time spent commuting. 7. Create a faith community. Having a community of people who share your values and ethics and who can offer support and encouragement when you need it can be incredibly gratifying and helpful. 8. Eliminate time wasters. We think we enjoy watching TV, catching up on Facebook and Instagram, playing video games, but maybe we’re just a bit addicted to these time-sucking activities. Consider quitting some of the things you spend time on that don’t encourage self-improvement or productivity. 9. Accept help. We think we can do it all, and sometimes we can, but the trick is knowing when going it alone is actually derailing our achievements. Sometimes people’s control-freak tendencies can inhibit productivity. Remember to take a step back to help you get perspective and determine if accepting help (or — gasp! — asking for help) will actually propel you further. 10. Let go. You can’t control everything, and if you try to, the results could be counterintuitive to your goals anyway. Having too much control can be very restricting. And the sooner you realize that, the better you’ll feel. Letting go and letting God can be very liberating. It can also offer a fresh perspective and unveil opportunities you never knew existed. 11. Be grateful. In her Redbook article, Lister also suggests that when you're grateful, you're living in the moment and less likely to be chasing what’s next. 12. Embrace the “it takes a village” mentality. Even if you have a big job or a big role at home, you are only one person. Like the rest of us, you have limitations, and not everything depends on you. Look at how you fit in with the other people in your life — whether at work, school, home or church. See how each person adds value. Do your part, but don’t hesitate to rely on others to do theirs as well. 13. Create beauty. Are you a musician, painter or poet? Or maybe you like to organize rooms, arrange fresh flowers or bake cookies? Whatever you find beautiful, do more of it. Because when you create something that you think is beautiful, you feel a sense of comfort and harmony. 14. Deep-clean one room. When you thoroughly clean one room, you are forced to move items you normally don’t even think about. This usually results in a long-overdue purge and eventually leads to a deep-clean in other rooms. 15. Grow things. Watching something grow inspires patience, peace and awe. What have you done recently to simplify your life? Share this article on your Facebook page with your answer.