Sunday, January 12, 2014

Slower & Simpler - Five Steps for 2014

This posting is so succinct and clear on re-evaluating how to lead a simpler life, that I just have to share it.  Embracing five steps, not hundreds, is much easier to grasp.  Simplifying the simplicity to-do list - awesome!

5 Steps Toward a Simpler Life in 2014

5 Steps Toward a Simpler Life in 2014
Another year has come and gone! This is a time when many of us pause and reflect on how things are going. We look around at how we spend our time and make sure we are on track with the type of life we want to live.
For many, this reflection ends with a realization that things have gotten a bit out of control.
Schedules and closets and kitchen drawers and lives tend toward complexity. So, it only makes sense that we will occasionally find ourselves in varying amounts of clutter from year to year.
Whether you’re totally overwhelmed or only slightly off-track, we all long for a similar thing… a simpler life.
And experience has taught us that longing for simplicity isn’t enough. We have to dosomething about it.
So, don’t let any more days pass before you act. You can do something today to gain more focus. It’s those little first steps that propel you in the direction you need to go.
Here are 5 steps you can take today to lead you toward a simpler life:

1- Revisit your values and priorities.

It’s important that we have a “why” behind our “what.” We have to understand our motivation. Our priorities are those things that are most important to us, personally. Our values are the guidelines for how we go about our day-to-day lives.
If we don’t have a clear view of the goal, we won’t be able to lay out a clear path. We will begin to wander and get off track. Revisiting our values and priorities helps us to adjust our focus a bit. It helps us to regain clarity on what it is we’re trying to accomplish in the first place.
If you’ve already done this in the past, it may be time to reconsider. Part of your clutter and frustration may be present because your values have actually changed. You may be out of alignment and not even realize it.
There may be things that used to be important to you that are no longer important. Or, perhaps, things have become important to you that didn’t used to be.
These times of introspection can be very helpful. I highly recommend that you make note of what you find. You’ll want to refer to these lists at times.
Here are a couple of articles to help you further in this area:

2- Attack physical clutter, one space at a time.

Here’s a reminder from Captain Obvious…stuff piles up. Especially after the holidays!
It still amazes me how quickly things can find their way into my house or workplace and try to hang out in the craziest places. Before I know it, there’s stuff everywhere.
And clutter isn’t cool.
When there’s all kinds of unnecessary stuff lying around, it messes with us. It distracts us. It takes our attention away from more important things and forces us to manage it.
When we start noticing the clutter-creep, it’s time to take action!
Don’t let the piles overwhelm you! Just pick one little area and get to work. You won’t be able to tackle everything at once, but you can do something.
We often struggle to find time for whole-house-turned-upside-down-decluttering-sessions. But most of us can make time to declutter one closet. We can clean out onedrawer. We can work on that one bookshelf.
If it helps, you can set a 15 minute timer and just see what can be done in that short amount of time. Don’t let it sit there. Do something about it.

3- Stop the inflow.

One way you can make a difference right now, with zero time commitment, is by stopping the inflow. This is a mental switch that you flip that increases the amount of “NOs” that you use.
You have daily moments of decision where you will either let more in, or block it. You’re already going to face these decisions. They WILL come to you. Use this opportunity to get ahead of the clutter game.
“Stopping the inflow” is determining to cut off the supply of stuff into your life. At least for a short amount of time, until you get everything under control.
  • When you realize there is “too much” going on, you have to stop accepting invitations to events.
  • When you realize that you have too many clothes, you have to stop buying more.
  • When you realize that you spend too much time watching TV, you have to stop setting the DVR to record more.
You get the picture.
If your container is full, stop pouring.
If the tub is nearly overflowing, turn off the faucet.

4- Walk away from some people.

Some people thrive on drama. Others are constant takers. Then, there are the unsafe ones that can’t be trusted with your friendship.
Walk away from those people.
Don’t be mean. Don’t repay their aggression. Don’t wish them harm. Just depart ways.
Why?
Because life is short.
There are only so many days. Don’t waste them in conflict with people unnecessarily.
There will be plenty of drama that we have to endure. Why should we continue to experience drama that’s in our ability to avoid?
There are people that you love who need you. They need your best energy. They need your attention and time. Don’t waste that time and attention on people who hurt you.
You and I both value relationships. We love people. But we can’t be everything foreveryone. We have to prioritize our relationships and focus on those we value most.
Don’t let the people you love most suffer because an abusive person is eating away at your life. Determine to be healthy. And, sometimes, healthy requires walking away.

5- Push the reset button on your time management system.

Because we only have so many days, we have to manage our time well. I often think of a statement that has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time. For that’s the stuff life is made of.”
We all make decisions everyday about what we will do with our time.
  • Where will we go?
  • What will we do?
  • Who will we go with?
And we all have systems. Some are simple. Some are more complex. But we all do something to keep up with our appointments and tasks.
Time management is not really optional. It’s something that everyone does. We either do it well, or we don’t.
Of course, every person is different. We value different things and live different lives. So, our systems will also be different. Whatever the case, make sure you have a system that works for you.
It doesn’t matter if you have the latest tips, tricks and tools. What matters is that you have a system of decision making and tracking that allows you to live in accordance with your priorities.
Only you can ensure that your life is in alignment with your values. Only you can decide how you spend your days.
Well, those were my 5 suggestions to get you started. I’m sure you have others in mind, as well.
Share them with us!
What steps do you plan to take toward a simpler life in 2014?

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