Perhaps you have heard quite a bit about “living a simple life” or “living a more deliberate life.” And there’s a lot to be said about it, and much of it is, ironically, more complex than you’d care to deal with, offering long and elaborate methodologies that you just don’t have time for in the present moment.
Starting to live a simpler life is, in fact, a simple process to start with, if at times difficult to implement. Yet that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing a more fulfilling day-to-day experience. Work at the following four items, and we think you’ll start to see results you won’t want to turn back from:
1) Cutting Out the Cable
People are cutting out cable in droves, at least in the United States, and this trend is only expected to continue. This is in part due to the excessive cost of cable when compared to easily using a few online streaming services instead alongside platforms such as YouTube, but there are other benefits besides saving money to talk about.
Think about all the time you might spend watching programs you might not truly enjoy, just because the TV is there and there is nothing better to do from your perspective. Wouldn’t you rather be spending time having more meaningful conversations with loved ones or doing things that bring you true joy? How many shows have you watched that you wouldn’t care if you had never seen them? We want you to apply this principle to all of the content you consume as well, not just cable or however you might get your programming.
If it brings you genuine joy and enlightening entertainment, then not only do we ask you to continue to enjoy it but pursue it (though perhaps not to excess). It’s mindfulness about what you’re spending your time on that is key.
2) Start Decluttering
While our last point was more about a mental decluttering, your physical possessions also have an influence on your life, and the spaces that you spend the most time in can have a profound psychological impact on you over time.
When was the last time you cleaned your house or reorganized all your closets? When was the last time you picked up something that wasn’t explicitly trash and said “I don’t need this.”?
Everyone has a certain comfort level with how much stuff they want in their life, but living a simpler life means making every purchase a conscious decision and occasionally checking in with what you have to see if you still use it. If you don’t have the time, you don’t have to do everything at once, but we encourage you to declutter at least one room at a time. It’ll give you more space for the things that do matter to have more prominence.
3) Take More Time for Yourself
To give back to others, we first must give ourselves to ourselves, otherwise we’ll experience burnout quickly. A simpler life should allow us to become more in-tune with our needs and more on-focus regarding our personal goals, so we should take time to check in with ourselves as part of that.
Additionally, exhaustion breeds unnecessary complexity. A person is not designed to work more than so many hours per week, and rest is vital for anyone to continue performing at their best. Mistakes add up and will snowball into more wasted time. Rest is a type of productivity all on its own.
This productive time of rest can take the form of gardening, reading, spending restful time with loved ones, meditating, or a wide host of other activities. Just make sure it’s what you want to be doing and that you hold that time sacred (some people even schedule it in their calendar as though it were a doctor’s appointment).
There are many ways to live simply or more deliberately, and what works for someone else might not necessarily make you happier, and that’s ok. What we would like you to do is consider your current environment and how you spend your time and consider what you could cut out (so you can add in more meaningful actions and items). This is the core of living a simpler life.