21 Habits That Make My Life A Lot Simpler

Simplicity is both a life philosophy and a very practical activity. On one hand, it’s about rearranging our priorities, treating time as a sacred thing that should be used strategically, being aware of what matters for us in life, and then actually living our lives accordingly, not letting a thousand things divert us from our goals.

On the other hand, there are very practical aspects of simplifying as well: a more organized schedule, more free time, less stress and anxiety, a beautiful, organized living space.

Make no mistake: a simple life is not a boring one. It’s not about deprivation or going back to the absolute basics. It’s actually just the opposite.  No more time wasted on things that don’t matter.

Less is definitely more in this case.

21 Things That Can Simplify Your Life

#1 Create Routines

Routines are the cornerstones of a simple life. They give structure, eliminate stress, and definitely make me more put together. Create a morning, evening, meal planning, laundry, or whatever routine you find helpful.

#2 Automate As Much As You Can

Eliminating boring, repetitive tasks is one of the easiest steps towards simplicity. Also, it can free you from the burden of keeping up with deadlines and tasks. I set up automatic bill payments for utilities, monthly subscriptions and taxes, use social media automation for various tasks, auto-backup my files, and make recurring alerts in my calendar.

#3 Use Dropbox

Dropbox is the ultimate lifesaver when it comes to digital organizing. I can access my files easily, I don’t have to carry external hard drives anymore, and it syncs between my various devices. Do not underestimate the simplifying power of technology.

#4 Track Expenses

I don’t use budgets, but I do track my expenses meticulously. It quickly became an automatic habit of mine to jot down every expense at the moment of spending. This simple trick can bring about major changes in our spending habits. I know where my money goes, what my rough monthly expenses are, or where I need to cut back. If you don’t know and stress about where your money disappears, definitely try tracking your expenses.

#5 Pack A Mini Daily Essentials Kit

There’s absolutely no need to carry half of your belongings on your shoulder every day. Get familiar with the concept of a minimalist bag. Create a mini daily essentials kit and pack it in a separate pouch. This way you don’t have to repack every single time you change bags, just transfer your mini kit. Mine include keys, tissues, basic beauty items – concealer, lip balm, eye pencil, blush, painkillers, a hairband, and my earphones. Add a wallet and a reusable water bottle and I’m good to go.

#6 Ditch The TV

The reason that I first ditched my TV was a practical one. When I moved to the US for a little more than a year, I simply didn’t want to invest in a TV and cable. I didn’t miss it one bit, so when I moved back and into a new home, we didn’t buy one. I’m coming up on almost 5 years living without it. We still watch programs and shows, but only on Netflix. I’m not opposed to getting a TV once we move again, but I for sure not gonna get cable with 200-channels. There is a big difference between sitting down and watching a good TV show and just turning on the TV (often as a background noise) and then being stuck in front of it and switching between channels as a mindless, boredom-bred activity. Even if you’re not ready to totally ditch the TV, at least eliminate it from the bedroom.

#7 Use The 2-Minute Rule

This simple rule states that everything that takes us 2 minutes or less to do, we should do immediately, without delay. Interestingly, it is often the small tasks and little annoyances that complicate our life, because we keep delaying them. As a result, they pile up, cause stress, and make it more difficult to focus on the important things.

#8 Make A “Bare Minimum” Travel Packing List (+ Plan Travel Outfits)

While I’m not firmly in the travel carry-on only camp (I like getting rid of luggage at the airport as soon as I can), in recent years I simplified my packing list to the point that when it comes to essentials, it doesn’t matter whether I travel for a weekend or 2 weeks. I perfected my list years ago and thanks to that, packing takes me 30 mins. at maximum. I think all of us had trips when we haven’t worn or used half of the stuff we took with ourselves. So, simplify packing to the bare minimum. When it comes to clothes, I don’t overpack either. I plan my outfits for every single day of the trip. I don’t take substitutes, I know exactly what I’m going to wear and when, no “I just throw it in, just in case”. Make your own bare minimum list and simplify traveling this way.

#9 Practice Done Is Better Than Perfect

Let go of the highly elusive and harmful concept of perfect. Embrace good enough and done instead.

#10 Know Your Style And Create Uniforms

Having a strong understanding of your personal style simplifies life in a lot of ways. It makes shopping easier and faster. You’ll buy things you’re more likely to wear and love. You can also double down on perfecting your personal style by creating several types of uniforms you love and fit your lifestyle and aesthetic.

#11 Stop Multitasking

As science and research currently stand, it seems multitasking simply doesn’t work. Most of us are not able to rapidly shift our focus between different tasks, at least not very effectively. Say goodbye to multitasking and embrace single-tasking instead – dedicating uninterrupted time and attention to one single task or activity. It’s so much healthier for our brain, efficiency, as well as for our mental well being than the constant multitasking madness. Try this single-tasking challenge to start getting used to it.

#12 Choose Quality Over Quantity

Buy less, but buy better. Focusing on quality instead of quantity can eliminate a lot of clutter, unnecessary purchases, and stress. It ensures you make better buying decisions, think twice about what you’re really willing to spend on, and surround yourself with things you actually love and can use for a long time.

#13 Start Batching Tasks

Batching is one of my favorite techniques to organize my life (and is very closely related to single-tasking). If done right, it can improve focus, enhance productivity, reduce stress, and make life a lot simpler.

Batching means grouping similar tasks together and doing them all at once, instead of constantly jumping from one thing to another. Like scheduling dedicated email time, instead of checking it 50 times a day. Scheduling back-to-back meetings instead of having several ones scattered throughout the day. Scheduling dedicated creative/writing sessions, 30 minutes to make phone calls, an hour to do filing and administrative tasks etc. The key is to stick to one type of activity, eliminate distractions, let your brain settle into the right mindset, and thus keep your focus. Take a little time to look at your tasks and try to manage your day in the smartest way possible.

#14 Say Goodbye To Push Notifications

A couple of months ago, I turned off almost all my phone notifications and I wish I’d done it sooner. Once again, I feel like I’m in control of my time and attention. I check my social media feed or news channels when I want to. I spend time on Instagram when I feel like it. I consume and engage when I choose to, not when I’m forced by a random notification. I promise you’ll not miss anything, but will gain valuable time and focus.

#15 Leave Space

Space is a great concept to think about when it comes to a simpler life. No space, both in the physical and metaphorical sense, usually means we could use some simplifying. If you don’t see a tiny spot of blank space on your desk or living room, you probably have way too much stuff. If there’s no blank space on your calendar, you’re probably doing too much. Create space in your life and appreciate it.

#16 Delegate

I’ve definitely been guilty of trying to do everything all by myself in the past (sometimes I still am). But usually, this is not the best way to use our time or skills. Competency-based sharing of tasks works a lot better, both at work and at home. The Pareto principle or 80/20 rule states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Even if we use it only as a rough estimation, we can still agree that not all efforts will yield similar results, thus we need to be strategic about the allocation of our time and energy. Moreover, we all have different strengths and weaknesses and we must learn to accept this. Don’t be afraid to delegate things someone else has more time or skills for.

#17 Schedule A Digital Delete Day

Simplifying my digital footprint has always been a critical area for me. I don’t want to be sucked into an endless spiral of consuming crap on the Internet and thus wasting my valuable time. I only want to follow, read, and watch content that I really enjoy or add value to my life. Scheduling a digital delete day (preferably regularly) is a great way to create control over your digital consumption. Unsubscribe from emails you never open. Unfollow people whose content you don’t enjoy anymore. Delete unused files. Clear up your email inbox. The key to success: be really honest and ruthless.

#18 Embrace Enough

I knew I was probably on the right path towards a simpler and smarter life when I realized I’m using the word enough a lot more often. I don’t need this blazer because I have enough. I’m not saying yes to this commitment because I already have enough. Enough is not about settling or missing out. It’s about enjoying what we have worked for and what we already have, instead of thinking more and newer things will make us happier. It’s about protecting our boundaries and not stretching ourselves too thin. Make no mistake, it’s not the same as not having ambitions or not striving to be better. But we can do that while appreciating what we already have as well. I really think we should make embracing enough a trend, as an antidote to FOMO.

#19 Carry A Reusable Bag

Say no to plastic bags for ethical and practical reasons. I always keep one large reusable bag in my car and never go shopping without it. This simple thing can help protect the environment and keep a thousand different annoying plastic bags out of your home.

#20 Declutter

Yes, as basic as it sounds, it cannot be left out of a list like this. Evaluate what you have and need, and declutter the rest.

#21 Come Up With Your Own Version Of A Simple Life

These tips work for me, but everyone has a different concept of what a simple life actually entails. Make up your own version. I’d suggest starting by creating a list of all the things that you feel make your life too complicated, that cause stress, anxiety, or take away your energy and time. Then try to come up with ways and tricks to simplify them. Really, there are no rules, no simple living guidebook – do what works for you.

What other tips you have to simplify your life?

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