1 Identify What’s Important
Moving to a simpler way of life requires the letting go of non-essentials, so that you can focus on what’s important. Look at all parts of your life and decide what you value most.
2 Evaluate Your Time
What are you doing with your time ? Is the way you spend your time in-line with your priorities ? Do you spend enough time with family, friends, and by yourself ? Re-evaluate your commitments – eliminate time wasters and do what you love.
3 Create More Free Time
For many of us, our lives are simply too full. Free-up time in your day by reducing your commitments and including and protecting more free time in your schedule. Cut down your to-do-list. Consider making a don’t-do-list of things you can happily do without. By reducing the number of our activities we can reduce stress, and get more out of what we do.
4 Reject Status
Question your motives, and reject anything you are doing for recognition or approval in the eyes of others. Concentrate on substance not image and stop feeding your ego. Buy and do things based on their utility or enjoyment to you, rather than prestige.
5 Give Up Some Control
Focus on controlling yourself and your own thoughts and actions, rather than wasting energy seeking to control others or events. Don’t focus on irrelevant details, and don’t aim for perfection – know when to let go and move on.
6 Relaxed Efficiency
We need to balance our desire to be more efficient and productive against the risk of becoming obsessional about it. Develop a simple system for managing tasks and commitments, and make using it a habit. Try to reduce the amount of time you spend multi-tasking. Limit your distractions and try to create a relaxed ‘flow’ state by fixing your attention on what you are doing.
7 Question Your Dependency on Material Possessions
Recognise the difference between the things you need and want, and learn how enjoy things without owning them. Minimise and de-clutter to surround yourself with less stuff, carry less stuff with you. Get into the habit of giving things away – de-accumulate.
8 Limit your Inputs
Think about how much information you process everyday – media, email, news, reading, TV. Our brains weren’t designed to handle so much information and it can result in overload and stress. Question the value of your inputs and impose boundaries, eliminating any non-essentials.
9 Slow Down
If we’re over-committed and rushing through life we risk missing the quality of the moment. Practice the art of ‘being present’ and pay attention to what is happening now, rather than mentally reviewing the past or worrying about the future. Make an concious effort to eat, talk, breathe and walk more slowly, to help ground yourself in the present.
10 Appreciate Life
It’s easy to be grateful for being alive – what’s the alternative? Try to actively practice gratitude – grateful people are happier, less depressed, less anxious, less stressed and more satisfied with their social relationships. If we spend more time thinking about what we already have, we will be less inclined to constantly want more, and as a result feel more generous towards others.
Photo by Dan Zen, via Flickr