Monday , 2 October 2023

A Simple Process For Simplification of Your Life

If you’re like me, there is a certain attraction to the concept of simplicity.

However, in my case, the attraction is largely to imaginary pictures and feelings and not to the clean uncluttered lines of my office space or bedroom dresser.

My office is very busy. My desk has hundreds of files and items needing attention. I was recently speaking in Washington DC and was out of touch for only 36 hours. I had over 325 emails to sort and respond to upon my return. So my real and virtual work spaces were cluttered.

At home, I am a collector of books. So I have floor to ceiling shelves brimming with stuff. I have an office at the house and all the video equipment to produce the blogs you sometimes watch.

My son Alex is a boy scout…so there is that stuff. My daughter Jamie rides horses so….

Well, you get the picture. The to do list is very full and there is quite a bit of stuff involved.

But, as you may know from reading other pieces that I have written, brain science strongly supports the idea that multi-tasking is very inefficient. And, the reality is that with the internet, cable, satellite radio, Twitter, and all manner of electronic and conventional forms of advertising, entertainment and communications, there are now many more distractions clamoring for our attention.

Simplicity has an undeniable attraction and both common sense and science tell us that a simpler life would be better and happier and more full of real life in many ways. But life is seems so hectic and complicated. Where do you begin? What do we clear away, give away and throw away? And, what if you then miss something or need it and it’s gone? That last little thought is the root of much pain and the source of unbelievable clutter in our lives.

First, get clear that clutter is inefficient. I saw a quote that basically said “clutter fills up the present and the future with the past.” It causes inefficiency and uses energy that we should use to live and enjoy life right now. You don’t have to believe it but pretend that you do. Try that belief on for a few weeks – like 12. But, just do it a day at a time and see how that serves you.

Here is a brief checklist of guiding principles and actions as well as a few resources to help to create the richness of a simpler life without the pain of withdraw. I’m several months into the experiment.

Life is still hectic. The desk is filled with files whenever I move away from it. And, there are still quite a few emails.

However, I have been giving away at least five books a week (and buying fewer than I give away). The same with items of clothing. I have days where I completely clear the email box to zero. I have more clarity on what is important and what is not. And, there is a sneaking sense that simpler may be much better. I’ll keep you posted and please let me know what you think.

Here’s a simply way to simplify:

Identify what is important to you….really important … and eliminate everything else.

Too simple for you? Too radical? It was for me to but I wrote it down and posted it by the computer. It’s working on me. But, let’s ease into it.

Visit Zen Habits and especially the Beginner’s Guide.

Here Are Seven Things To Do To Simplify Your Life:

1. Find the least interesting item on this list and strike it off. See you’re down to six. Life is simpler already.

2. Make a list of things that you would enjoy sharing or giving away.

3. Give one away a day.

4. Read Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and/or Zen to Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System

5. Go on a news fast. No papers, news magazines, TV or internet news.

6. Make a list of things that you’re no longer going to do – and stick to it.

7. Create a morning ritual that includes stretching, breathing, and drinking fresh water. There should be no e-mail until you have accomplished one thing that must get done that day. Notice how this energizes you.

For more ideas think about these points…

Identify what is important to you in each area of life.
Identify what you still do but no longer enjoy.
Identify an item that you can give to someone who will need or value you more than you and do that.
Then, eliminate everything that is unimportant.
“First Things First. Second Things Never.”

More Practice:
Have too much of something? Start to share. Give some away.
Note: This seems to get tested. It’s a tough economy so what if you give it away and then need it? It seems like the moment you give it away you finally need it. Well first, do you really need it? Second, can you borrow it back? Just stick to the program.
Do one thing to simplify each day.
Start small – like a desk top, and work from there.

Zen Habits – For ideas on how to actually get it done.
Tim Ferris – For Life Style Design
Dave Frees – For Ideas and Information That Improve Your Business and Your Life

Dave Frees