Different people have different ways to spend their lives. As a result, simplifying life would carry a different meaning for each one of us.
I wouldn't be wrong if I assume that most of us want to spend time with their loved ones, do work that they really like to do, have time for hobbies, spend less time finding important stuff and just be happy. And if we are not able to accomplish most of the above, we need to look at and simplify a few things in our lives.
1. Figure Out What's Really ImportantFiguring out what's really important to you, what makes you happy and what are the goals for your life is the first step towards the simplification you aim to achieve.
It's only when you know what's really important, you can prioritize your tasks accordingly and get things done without being stressed.
2. Analyze Your Current RoutineSpend a day analyzing how you have been spending your days. What is your daily routine like? Has it helped with your work? Has it helped your health? Are you able to take time out for family and friends? Have you been prioritizing tasks according to what's really important? Is the routine designed accordingly?
If any of these are out of whack, it's time to change the routine.
3. Overcome Information OverloadAlthough most of the information we consume every day may appear to be "life-saving" at first glance, it's actually avoidable. I've talked about tips for managing information overload and managing your RSS feeds before here at WorkAwesome.
Susan offered tips on managing email overload. Did you read and implement the steps suggested? If you haven't yet, it's time you get started with them.
4. Simplify Household TasksMost people don't realize that household chores, if not done productively, could easily take up a significant chunk of your time. It's important to simplify them.
What are the chores you do every day? Which of them have to be done every day? How do you organize your household in a way that it eliminates many chores? These are some questions you need to answer.
5. Get Rid of Things You Don't UseTake a look at that old bookshelf that has piles of books gathering dust. You never read any of them twice. Heck, you didn't even read some of them once! Don't you think you are better off distributing them to someone who could benefit from reading them?
The same can be applied to your DVDs, CDs, gadgets et al. Either sell them or give them away. Simplify.
6. Don't Buy Things You Might Not UseThe reason you had that enormous collection of books or DVDs in the first place was because you bought them thinking they'd be of great help. Turns out you were wrong.
So, from now on, only buy things you are likely to use — and use often. When it comes to books and movies (unless you are a voracious reader or a movie buff) you can borrow or rent them instead of buying each new thing that comes out.
7. De-clutter and Organize Your Home & WorkplaceYes, de-clutter. De-clutter your desk, de-clutter your desktop, de-clutter your workspace. Just get started on cleaning up the mess that's surrounding you.
Make things look clean and simple around you. This is an important step in simplifying your life.
8. Go PaperlessIf you look around you, most of the clutter is constituted by paper in one or form or another. So going paperless not only makes your work easier and saves you time, it also significantly reduces workspace clutter.
I understand that a few tasks need paper. But try to use latest tools and software as much as possible to get things done.
9. Delegate and Get HelpNo matter how organized you are — and how easily you can get things done — if your work grows, you are bound to get overwhelmed if you are doing it all alone. And that's not just for your work, but for everything else in your life.
Delegating tasks to others who can do it better than you, collaborating with friends in various aspects of life, seeking help from someone who knows it better…all this helps to keep you sane and carry on with life without getting stressed and frustrated.
10. Disconnect OftenLast, and probably the most important step in simplifying your life – disconnect often. Disconnect from what? From anything that has you connected all day. It could be the internet for one, a cellphone for another. For someone, it might be a musical instrument which he just can't stop playing for hours.
Take a few hours off every week, and a day or two off every month from what you do every day. Stay disconnected…stay abandoned. Spend time with yourself, with something you like to do but can't find time for, with someone you love but don't have time for, with nature. Take time out and thank the universe for the life and the opportunities you've got.