Simplify Your Life: 42 Powerful Tips

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
Confucius

I love simplifying my life.

It makes me more effective and life less stressful. It makes me calmer, more energetic and happier.

So today I’d like to share 42 ways for you to simplify your life.

I hope you’ll find something inspiring and helpful among these tips.

1. Mix things up.

Try the opposite. Have the vegetarian dish if you always go for the meat.

Walk away from a stupid conflict instead of making it worse. Let one thing go if you often cling to things.

Make a habit of mixing things up to grow your life in small or bigger ways.

And to make it easier and simpler to step out of your comfort zone in general when you really need to.

2. Get up 20 minutes earlier. 

This will help you to reduce stress in the morning and during the rest of the day.

3. Be 10 minutes early for meetings and appointments. 

This will help you to make your time of travel a time of rest and relaxation instead of stressful. And you will not be late.

4. Single-task.

You be more focused, less stressed and get to done more quickly.

So do one thing at a time and do it with your full attention.

5. Ask yourself: am I keeping things extremely simple?

If not, figure out how you can do that in the situation you are in.

6. Ask yourself: will this matter 5 years from now?

Or even 5 weeks from now? Do this to avoid making mountains out of molehills.

7. Buy things with the money you have earned and saved.

Avoid getting into debt.

8. Learn a few recipes and cook.

You’ll save money and probably eat healthier.

9. When you cook, cook more than you'll eat. 

This will help you to spend less time on cooking and washing dishes.

And you’ll have an extra dinner or two to just reheat when you don’t have time or energy to cook.

10. Write things down.

Pretty much everyone’s memory is leaky. So help yourself.

Write down what you need to do or shop for today.

Write down what your top 4 priorities in life are and post that note where you can see it every day.

11. Remember that life is larger than you may think it is.

You do not know everything and you are not always right. 

Remembering this makes it easier for me to learn things, to accept other viewpoints, to create changes and to stay more open.

12. Risk making mistakes. Learn from them.

Then do again with that helpful new experience and knowledge in mind.

13. Do what YOU really, really, really want to do.

Do not get stuck in trying to live someone else’s dream.

14. Go grocery shopping once a week.

You’ll save money and time if you make the effort to plan for a week and to shop for it all at once.

15. Go grocery shopping when you not hungry. You’ll buy more healthy food instead of impulse buying yourself through the store.

16. Enjoy the simple pleasures of living a simpler life.

An apple, the latest episode of your favorite show, fresh and clean bed sheets, a hug and kiss, holding hands, the sun and blossoming nature after a long and cold winter.

17. Have a glass of water.

Instead of eating when you are bored or when are having a craving have 1-2 glasses of water.

This will help you to keep to those cravings away until the next meal and to maintain your health and weight.

18. Eat slower.

Make your lunch time a time of relaxation rather than a time to just add to the stress of your morning.

Try putting down the fork between bites to slow down the eating.

19. Be kind.

Be kind to other people and especially to yourself.

20. Write shorter emails.

1-5 sentences is often enough.

21. Write emails only once a day.

Batch and process them all at once all the way to an empty inbox.

22. Learn about ways to keep stress down and try them out.

Examples would be mindfulness, setting human standards for yourself and saying no.

A few such habits can help you to drastically cut down on the stress in your life.

23. Give everything its home.

Then you know where to put the item when you have used it. You’ll know where to find it when you need it again.

And you’ll reduce the clutter in your home or work space.

24. Slow down and enjoy and pay attention what is actually happening today.

Instead of just rushing through the day and always on to the next thing.

25. Spend more time with people who make life simpler.

And less time with people who make life unnecessarily complicated.

26. Exercise every week.

This will reduce stress, up your energy levels and in my experience reduces negative thoughts.

27. Declutter.

Declutter your life of the things that aren’t really that useful or meaningful for you anymore.

Give that stuff away to someone who needs it. Or throw it out.

A question that can help you to know if it is time to declutter something out of your life is: have I used this item in the last year?

28. Look for advice from people who have been where you are.

Learn from people who have been in the situation you are in and had the challenge you are having.

29. Stop trying to please everyone.

There will always be people who you don’t get along with or that do not like you for some reason.

30. Break a task down into smaller and actionable pieces. 

Single-task that first piece until it is done. Then do the same with the next piece. And so on.

31. Stop trying to do things perfectly.

Go for good enough instead and when you are there you are done. Get things all the way to done this way and then move on to the next thing.

32. Take a minute and just breathe a couple of times a day.

This will help you to reduce the stress and overwhelm of your day.

It will help you to reconnect with the present moment, to create a habit of living more mindfully and to focus all your attention on what is happening right now.

33. Spend just 20% of your time on dwelling on a problem and 80% of your time focusing on a solution.

Instead of the other way around.

34. Focus on a few priorities in your life.

Keep things simple to be able to put enough effort, attention and energy into those most important things.

Rather than becoming spread too thin, rarely finishing things and being distracted by all those many other things you want to do or that feel you need to do too.

35. Keep a journal. 

By writing the facts and your thoughts and feelings down in a journal it becomes easier to work through a challenge and to find a good solution.

You can also use a journal to track your actual results instead of guesstimating how your life is going.

And to better remember all the things that you did well or that went well if you worry often or have quite a bit of negative thoughts.

36. Stop doing what you don’t like doing anymore.

Life changes and so do you.

If you you don’t like doing something anymore then perhaps it is time to stop doing that (even if it may take some time before you can do so by for example switching jobs).

37. Use a very simple workspace.

My work space is just a laptop on a small black desk made out of wood.

I use a comfy chair and there is room for my glass of water beside the computer. That’s it.

There are no distractions here. Just me, the computer and the water.

38. Spend 15 minutes each Sunday to plan the next week.

Write down your plans for the week, organize your prioritized to-do list and get ready for the week before you are in the middle of it all.

This will help you to find more clarity, get more of the most important things done next week and minimize stress.

39. Cancel subscriptions.

For example for TV-channels, newsletters and magazines you rarely get around to watching or reading anyway.

40. Ask instead of guessing.

Reading minds is hard. So, instead ask questions and communicate.

This will help you to minimize unnecessary conflicts, misunderstandings, negativity and waste or time and energy.

41. Make one change at a time and start small.

Focus on one habit or area at a time. If you want to start running or decluttering, start with doing just a few minutes of that activity a day or week.

Then gradually increase the amount of time you spend on that activity to make it easier to adopt the new habit.

42. Be lazy.

By using the tips in this article you’ll be able to get things done more quickly and in a simpler way.

This will give more time in a regular week to simply be lazy. To just take it easy alone or with family or a friend, to not do much at all.

I highly recommend spending time with being lazy every week to relax, to mindfully enjoy the small pleasures of life and to recharge yourself so that you can be effective and focused again later on.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Henrik,

    It’s funny how sometimes, to make our lives simpler we have to first put in more effort, haha. My life has been so busy lately with business and working on my new social success course, I have to put some of these suggestions to use ASAP. # 38 is a must. Thanks for the tips!

    • You’re welcome! Yes, 38 is one of the best ones to get more organized and to reduce stress. Best of luck with it!

  • Kay

    Thank you Henrik.

    Another brilliant post from you. These 42 ways are goldstars.
    I especially need to heed to. . . Well all of them:)

    With light and peace and here’s to a simpler life:)

  • Vic

    Wow, what another great list from your great blog. How do you come up with so many of these?

    • Thanks! This one was actually pretty simple to come up with, the idea was just to list a whole lot of the tips that have helped me to simplify my own life over the past few years. And that the readers will hopefully find one or a few tips that resonates well with them in their lives right now.

      Other than that, keeping all your ideas written down with a few added bulletpoints or a general outline makes it easier to write new posts.

  • Great list Henrik,

    I really like what you wrote in #42 (last but not least!). I schedule time to be lazy and usually make myself stop working at a specified time each day. For me, lazy means doing something that doesn’t have an immediate end goal, such as reading a good book, playing with family or friends, having a great conversation with someone, or brainstorming ideas. What do you think?

    • Thank you! Yes, that sounds good, that is pretty much what I do when I am being lazy too and I rarely do anything related to work during my lazy periods.

  • Wonderful list. Thanks for a great post.

    Also consider these-
    – Don’t check your emails every 15 minutes. Check them every few hours or maybe a few times a day.

    – Make a list of task you would like to accomplish for the day or for the week. And stick to it as much as possible.

    • You’re welcome! And thank you for adding those two excellent tips!

  • Geraldine

    single task! now there’s one I really need to work on.

    declutter, this really really works. makes me feel better, even if it’s only a small gesture like tidying up my desk stuff.

    http://www.myreallifereviews.com

    http://www.takeahappybreak.com

  • bax

    I love that the idea of purposeful focus is gaining traction of the dreaded multitasking.

  • Lee

    Great list, thanks for sharing. Just found your site and I think it looks worthwhile and meaningful to me.

  • james

    Number 33, the old 80-20 rule! Its true, most people spend 80% of their time worrying about a problem and only 20% of their time finding a solution. When it should be the other way round!

    Great Post!

    http://LifeAndMind.net

  • Thanks for the great article. Either life or daily routine things we should always strive to make things simpler. I also wrote on “Make it simple” subject here: http://hoodasaurabh.blogspot.in/2012/02/if-its-difficult-you-still-didnt-get-it.html

  • Based on my nickname, you can tell #42 holds a special place in my heart!!!!

    Still working on #13 :-(

    I am a big fan of don’t start Activity B until you have cleaned up after Activity A.

  • Fin

    Henrik,

    Interesting ideas. I love the thought of a simple life. My goal is to live out of a backpack with my most essential worldly possessions. I find minimalism helps my mind get rid of stress.

    I like a few of your ideas. I currently lie on my bed to work on my blog, but I might buy a simple workspace for my laptop. Help with productivity.

    Cheers

  • Great list. I especially like the suggestion about breathing, often overlooked! I try to start the day with several belly breaths, and I try to remember to shift my breathing from my chest down to my belly when I catch myself tensing up or getting agitated. Definitely a great way to simplify things.