We all have a habit of making things complicated for ourselves, me included!
As part of my Simples blog collection I’ll be looking at a number of ways to foolproof simplicity. Check it out!
1: You can do anything but not everything
Have you ever gone upstairs to do something, only to come downstairs and realise you didn’t do the thing you went upstairs to do? I can’t be the only one! Did you know that we are not actually designed to multi-task? We are much more efficient when we mono-task, that is, doing one thing at a time, doing it well and to completion. Mono-tasking helps us to work faster because we are likely to complete the task at hand instead of stopping half way to start or finish something else. This means higher quality output, fewer mistakes, less time (because less mistakes!), it encourages deeper thinking and allows you to be present and focus on one things at a time.
You can prioritize your list of things to do by only focusing on what is important, start and finish a task before starting something new and try not to get distracted!
2: All you need is less
I embarked on my journey with minimalism a few months after the birth of my daughter. We were gifted so many clothes and toys, our tiny flat became very cluttered. I became so overwhelmed by it all we put an offer in on a new house just so that we could fit all of her toys into one room! It’s very drastic but true!
I would dread opening my cupboards because everything would fall on me, and then when I needed something right in the back I would have to unload the entire contents of the cupboard to extract that one item I needed (and usually in a rush emergency situation, so we just ended up throwing everything back in instead of being tidy!) I became so fed up and looked for answers on YouTube about being more organised. I happen to click on a video by Mary Kaale, someone who I could really relate to, she has had such a profound impact on my life, I began to understand that I didn’t need to be more organised, I just needed to have less ‘stuff’ – so I set to work right away, throwing, donating and gifting most of my worldly possessions. Now I don’t spend my weekends sorting ‘that’ cupboard or ‘that’ draw. The greatest gift having less has given me is time. And I intend on spending that time with all my beloved, making great memories, not tidying, cleaning or maintaining!
3: Let go
Simplify your life by letting go of things you cannot change or control. The only thing that makes these things a part of our lives is that we keep thinking about them, over and over. This takes away our peace and our joy. Letting go doesn’t mean trying to forget about something, it means accepting it as it is and making peace with it, without resistance. Why stress about things that are out of our control, let’s work on controlling the powers within us.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is an art, it takes practice but it’s brought me benefits beyond my wildest imagination. It is very simple.
A colleague of mine could see I was in turmoil and she quoted the above to me, I think my world stopped for a moment as I realised I had to master my mind before I could take back control of my life. Mindfulness has been an amazing tool in helping me to stay calm, be present and relax. it’s about living right now, not thinking about the past or the future, just this very moment. If you are interested in mindfulness and would like to know more, have a look at my book called The Happy Brain, Mindful Meditation for Joyful and Stress Free Living.
5: Be Brave
Simplicity takes courage, the first steps to getting what you want is having the strength to clear out what you don’t want. This can be clutter, debt – even people. Its’ hard, cutting ties or parting with things that have bought you joy is difficult. Be kind to yourself, we are all on our own journey. Being aware of what works and doesn’t work for you is the first step – it might be a friend or a lover who uses you, a negative aunt who is draining, try to gently cut toxic people out of your life until you are strong enough to repel their negativity.
For material possessions, I can understand how this would be very difficult because I used to be the worlds most sentimental person! I saved receipts, train tickets, boarding passes, I saved napkins, magazines, stickers. It took me many years of moving from one place to another to finally part with the baggage that were my memories! Now I have everything scanned in pdf! I can access my memories online without the need for real versions. As for ornaments, I took photo’s of them all and then donated them to charity! It takes time, be brave and take the first steps!
6: Eat Simply, Simply Eat
After what might be long day at work and then a long commute home for most people, no one really wants to start chopping, peeling, boiling, steaming food. No wonder we reach for the easy ready-made meals! Simplify by only keeping healthy whole foods in your house and preparing meals that take no longer than 15 minutes – nothing complex, just beautiful quality wholesome food. For example you can prepare grilled wild salmon, a handful of rocket, half an avocado and a jacket potato in the microwave then drizzle over some great quality olive oil. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s filing, healthy and quick. If meals take too long to prepare you are likely to snack while cooking on things like crisps and cake! (I speak from experience!)
When eating, eat mindfully. Remove all distractions, turn the TV off and put your phone away. Just look at your plate of food, smell the aroma, look at the colours and then tuck in, savouring every single bite. If you are in company, ask your guest to do the same! Enjoy!
One simple thing that I do all day long is be appreciative for all the amazing things. Maybe I am simple in my outlook but I feel very privileged to be here. In the mornings, I am grateful for the way the sunrise glistens through the trees, its warm light radiates into my kitchen. I feel thankful. I feel immense gratitude than when my daughter laughs, it lights up my whole universe. Take a moment to think about what you are grateful for, keep it simple and basic and just take a moment to honour it.
8. Don’t forget to Play
As they say “Don’t take life too seriously, nobody makes it out alive!” and this is so true. Keep things simple by having a good laugh at yourself, it’s a big sign of maturity! If you make a mistake or something fails on an epic scale, just have a little giggle at yourself and carry on! Gain perspective – there is no point taking things too seriously because these things usually don’t matter in a week, month or years time.
If such an opportunity arises, be mindful of how you feel, do you feel embarrassed? Do you feel conscious? Judged? Don’t! It’s far better to have a go at laughing at yourself than getting up tight! You’ll be much more respected amongst your family, friend and peers so smile until you burst with laughter!