“Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature.” —Thomas à Kempis
Simplifying your life will bring balance, freedom, and joy. When we begin to live simply and experience these benefits, we begin to ask the next question, “Where else in my life can I remove distraction and simplify life to focus on the essentials?”
Once we’re able to answer that, we will understand what is important in our own lives.
How to Simplify Your Life
Based on our personal journey, our conversations, and our observations, here is a list of the 10 most important things to simplify in your life today to begin living a more balanced, joyful lifestyle:
1. Your Possessions – Too many material possessions complicate our lives to a greater degree than we ever give them credit. They drain our bank account, our energy, and our attention. They keep us from the ones we love and from living a life based on our values.
If you will invest the time to declutter the non-essential possessions from your life, you will never regret it. For more inspiration, consider Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life.
2. Your Time Commitments – Most of us have filled our days full from beginning to end with time commitments: work, home, kid’s activities, community events, religious endeavors, hobbies… the list goes on. When possible, release yourself from the time commitments that are not in line with your greatest values.
3. Your Goals – Reduce the number of goals you are striving for in your life to one or two. By reducing the number of goals that you are striving to accomplish, you will improve your focus and your success rate.
Make a list of the things that you want to accomplish in your life and choose the three most important. Focus there.
4. Your Negative Thoughts – Most negative emotions are completely useless. Resentment, bitterness, hate, and jealousy have never improved the quality of life for a single human being. Take responsibility for your mind. Forgive past hurts and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
5. Your Debt – If
Find the help that you need and learn how to get out of debt. Sacrifice luxury today to enjoy freedom tomorrow.
6. Your Words – Use fewer words. Keep your speech plain and honest. Mean what you say. Avoid gossip.
7. Your Artificial Ingredients – Avoid trans fats, refined grain (white bread), high-fructose corn syrup, and too much sodium. Minimizing these ingredients will improve your energy level in the short-term and your health in the long-term.
Also, as much as possible, reduce your consumption of over-the-counter medicine – allow your body to heal itself naturally as opposed to building a dependency on substances.
8. Your Screen Time – Focusing your attention on television, movies, video games, and technology addiction affects your life more than you think. Media rearranges your values. It begins to dominate your life. And it has a profound impact on your attitude and outlook.
Unfortunately, when you live in that world on a consistent basis, you don’t even notice how it is impacting you. The only way to fully appreciate its influence in your life is to turn them off.
9. Your Connections to the World – Relationships with others are good, but constant streams of distraction are bad. Learn when to power off the phone, log off social media, or not read a text. Focus on the important, not the urgent.
A steady flow of distractions from other people may make us feel important, needed, or wanted, but feeling important and accomplishing importance are completely different things.
10. Your Multi-Tasking – Research indicates that multi-tasking increases stress and lowers productivity. While single-tasking is becoming a lost art, learn it. Handle one task at a time. Do it well. And when it is complete, move to the next.
Simplifying your life is a core aspect of minimalism. To learn more about this lifestyle, visit this primer on minimalism.
Thanks for sharing this great information!
Jual Souvenir Perusahaan says
Awesome. Thank you for your article.
April Sumner says
Wow! “feeling important and accomplishing importance are completely different things.” I haven’t heard it stated that way, quite the insight!
I thank you for this post. I’ve implemented nearly all of these already, but addressing the feeling above and training myself to focus tightly on 1-2 areas/goals stand out for me. What a great day (8-8) for me to change in these areas!
Maria Pinto says
Along with steps 2, 3, & 9, a lot of these issues also have to do with boundaries. I came upon a great book from the library titled
“Boundary Boss, The Essential Guide to Talk True, Be Seen,
and (Finally) Live Free.” by Terri Cole MSW LCSW.
A lot of us (including myself) do not know or understand from an early age that we have the right to know about & set healthy boundaries. The book is a real eye opener about internal and external boundaries, and I highly recommend it.
Thanks for the book suggestion.
Mansab Ali Shah says
#1, #4 and #8 are soo true. If my personal experience taught me anything, it’s that these three grip you absolutely tight. It’s difficult to get freedom, but it’s quiet an experience if you manage to do so.
Thank you, your remarks are exactly what I needed to have you share. Like a prayer,
Manoranjan Sahoo says
“Reduce the number of goals you are striving for in your life to one or two.”
This is an important point for me. We get entangled in the pursuit of getting more and not a single goal gets fulfilled.
Good advices. Although I think I fulfill some of them, with points 2, 8 and 10 I have a problem. Too many connections to be able to discard in a very radical way. Another objective for 2022…
All of these suggestions are great, except for reducing medications. That’s a very irresponsible thing to suggest given that you have no medical background and your education is in theology not any sort of medical science or health care practice.
He suggested reducing OTC medications only – most people over-diagnose and over-treat themselves with medications easily purchased without a prescription. He did not suggest reducing prescriptions. And yes, I am a doctor. :)
Rad Elizabeth says
Please read over what was said about medication; it was never suggested to reduce medication it was simply suggested to reduce “over the counter” medication
Perhaps this comment needs a little bit of #4. Let’s reflect first on our immediate thoughts and try to redirect to more positive ones.
Regarding reducing medications. Some people medicate with alcohol and illegal drugs. Everyone should consult their doctor regarding drug usage.
Wangeci Kanyeki says
This is such a good article. Very practical.
Aga Ismael says
Kudos to the writer! I just translated it into my language (Kurdish Central).
Danyal Ahmed says
Joshua, this article is very inspirational and full of wisdom, I learned a lot from this article to simplify my life. thanks for sharing.
Morning Upgrade says
This was a great read with some fantastic tips. I loved your section on screen time and reducing goals. Too much screen time removes us from our day-to-day lives. And too many goals can be overwhelming. Reduce so we can focus and hone our energies, which can make us more successful in the long-term. –Ryan
Your posts really inspired me in many ways. I followed your blog and read your book as well. You’re my idol. I also write random things sometimes. Can you allow me to translate your post into my language? I’m eager to do that. I’ll cite the source of course. I want to share the values of your write-up with myself. Kindly forgive me if this message bothers you.
Raysa Lestianti says
Hi, Me also. Your writing such an inspiration for me. I am really trying to become a minimalist. I have been following your blog for about a year and I am currently working on my own blog too. If you don’t mind, I’ll cite your writing, I’ll paraphrase with my own language. I want to share this ideas to my friends. Thanks again.
Great points. #10 particularly resonates with me. Having worked in the US for 37 years and pushed into early retirement by COVID-19, I can attest to the hypocrisy of the concept of multitasking in the working place. With the management style deteriorating, where all that matters is completing the work with no regard to the quality of work and employee well being, the multitasking becomes an almost unbearable burden. Not only do managers not help, they also distract, delay, and frustrate the employees with unnecessary meetings and fuzzy priorities. Bottom line: to do work effectively, one needs to master the art of doing one task at a time and proceeding to the next one on the priority list.
This is happening in my country too. Foreign companies in my country fire alot of People, and one person end up doing the work of three People. Multitasking. And like you say calling in to meetings and hanging over you. He had to Come in every Day of the week Just to be done with it all. Even though he was suppose to work only Five days. The path on the back was getting fired before young People with alot less years in the Company. Losing all his retirement Benefits. I feel for you and those in a bad work environment.
Just love this article. Thank you
Jesse Rowan says
Thanks for this article pulling together so many great ideas to work on to help gain clarity and purpose.
I agree on multi-tasking -it is impossible – but splitting up tasks can be helpful to give you a break: – eg:
– hang out the washing after an hour of sitting in front of a screen
– check out FB only at the end of a hard slog of focussed work, not when you hear a ping
– try to tackle tasks you hate (doing the tax!) but are most important first and then move on to another priority, building in small or big rewards for when you finish.
Dmytro Voytko says
Good tips for this turbulent time.
Being a Man of few words, the one who avoids gossip and talks relevant, makes a huge difference in simplifying one’s life.
Beside this, avoiding negative thoughts, reducing life goals to 1 or 2 and logging off from social media platforms, are some of my key take aways from this awesome article.
Thanks for this priceless post.
Ishan Thapar says
Your time and your goals are the most important check points. Always evaluate and change the distractions.
Ryan C Werner says
This was very well written and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would in all honesty. There were two in your list that I feel like you’d written specifically for me.
1. Sacrifice luxury today to enjoy freedom tomorrow.
People ask me why I am torturing myself as I am getting out of debt. Now, I have an answer for that. Thank you!
2. Speak less… I don’t exactly gossip, but I sure do talk a lot. Especially in moments of awkward silence… I am usually the first to break the silence…….
Agree! Those two are amazing. I know I should talk less. Instead I am always chatting my gfs out of my life. But they hardly share anything, and I can not stand silence. Unless I am alone.
The other one is golden. I always think about this every time we go out to eat, and grocery shop. Food is so expensive.
Before I was very stinchy with myself, and bought very little normal expensive food.
Now after my son died I know life is not Long, and it is important for me and my other sons to eat well. Not that we did not before, but we eat out a bit more and buy alot more at the grocery store.
I still find it difficult to buy myself a Coffee in Town by myself though. They are silly expensive, and so not Worth it!
Instead of saving on food we sell of alot of our stuff that we are done with. And I am carefull in other areas.
Most importantly my remaining Kids are healthy, happy and good. ?.
Very Inspiring, I like the line” Sacrifice luxury today to enjoy freedom tomorrow.”
Barathi Venthan M says
“6. Your Words – Use fewer words. Keep your speech plain and honest. Mean what you say. Avoid gossip.” – this one is for me.
I can be a talker one day and a total mute another day. The 2 extremes : (
This is a great, inspiring article. I especially like that you address not just the material clutter, but the clutter in our lives and minds. Thank you.
Tripti Singh says
Sir really im very impressed with it and sir i have got a must inspiration from it sir . Thanks a lot sir……
Tripti Singh says
Ya sir ur right
Chinmaya Karve says
Its strange how you start feeling fearful when you have to let go of materialistic things that you worked hard to possess. Even when you know you dont need them, its so hard to get go of them.
How to overcome this feeling ? This is the single most reason why I have just been thinking about minimalism and not being able to adopt it…
Yes, I have done very big decluttering sessions and found them very emotional, even painful. But, once you’re done, the feeling of freedom is very light and exhilarating and feels so good that it quickly makes up for the stressful emotions. You will find that once you make space in your life, exciting new things can come in.
Lately people are talking a lot about starting very small. Set up a box and commit to put just one item per day in it that you want to get rid of. That’s a much easier way to start. Once you get started, you may find your life simpler and happier, and that will inspire you to keep going, or even do a big decluttering.
I have started from almost nothing four times in my life and can assure you not to worry because all that stuff seems to come back way faster than you want it to, if you’re not vigilant.
Suresraj Therambarajoo says
Wonderful write-up. Kudos!
Was surprised to see Multi-tasking on your list. Ironically I’d begun to restrict / reduce multi-taking feeling distracted, overwhelmed & disproportionate energy being expended vs. outcome.
There are documented benefits from focus. The next task or priority may have to wait but likely be done better. Today’s challenge is managing people’s expectations in the here & now world around us.
my daughter been a minimlist for over a year and loves it…feels lighter and happier
for me I do some things but not all…
I can relate to your daughter. After I started selling my stuff on Facebook, and saw the first item leave my house. It was like a lightening switch turned on in my head. The more stuff that left the more room for us, and our special memories/stuff. I felt so light and happy. So I kept on selling. Then in 2017 I started watching and reading Marie kondo, and now this guy is the best. I feel happier, lighter, more together for having lesser stuff, and ofcorse alittle extra in life.
This is true value. Thank you.
Amazing!!!Life is too short , thank a lot
Amazing ! Actually life is too much fun but I never use my negative thought with all the thing by the way I have to consider about that and keep going on that way of positive , not mean life is easy but it’s not too hard either base on our action and our plan as commit to achieve the goal,
However I’m really appreciate thanks for your sharing the 10 most important thing , noted with so many thanks !!!!!
I have read this post several times, in fact I have it bookmarked. I am just starting my journey to a simpler life but I can’t even explain how free I feel already. I used to multi-task all the time because I thought it was the only way to stay ahead of things, but it is SO mentally taxing. I used to literally feel guilty if I walked from one room to the next without remembering to grab an item that needed to be put away. I viewed that as a waste of time. And I couldn’t figure out why I was always tired! I thought I had a medical problem. Anyway, this post has been a huge help in my life and inspired me to start my own blog, http://www.puravidamomma.com, about my journey to a simpler life. Thank you!