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21 Small Ways to Make Life Simpler

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci

“The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein

I love simplifying my life. It makes me more effective and life less stressful. It makes me calmer and happier.

But where do you start? Or continue if you are already on your way?

In this week's article I’d like to share 21 small habits that help me to live a simpler life.

Pick one of these to get started and keep doing it until it sticks and becomes just another normal part of your life.

1. Breathe.

When stressed, lost in a problem or the past or future in your mind breathe with your belly for two minutes and just focus on the air going in and out.

This will calm your body down and bring your mind back into the present moment again.

2. Do one thing at a time.

You’ll get better results and feel better and less stressed while doing those things.

3. Write it all down.

Use your mind for better things than remembering what to do. And the mind is often like a leaky bucket.

So write down all your great ideas, insights and thoughts before they go missing somewhere and add what you need to do to a to-do list.

4. Do all your food shopping once a week.

You’ll save time, energy and – in my experience – money.

5. Stop trying to do things perfectly. 

It will only get you stuck and drain your self-esteem.

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.

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

Life changes and so do you.

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

7. Pack your bag before you go to bed.

Then you don’t have to get stressed out by that in morning and you are less likely to forget something.

8. Throw out the things you haven’t used in 1 year.

Go through what you have and ask yourself if you have used it in the past year. If not, give it away to charity or a friend or simply throw it out.

9. Ask yourself simplifying questions every day.

Questions like:

  • What is the most important thing I can do right now?
  • What is one small step I can take to simplify this situation?

10. Keep everything in its place.

If everything has its own place then it is whole lot easier to keep your home reasonably ordered and decluttered from day to day.

This also helps you with your inner stillness as the outer environment affects how you feel on the inside.

11. Cook more food than you’ll eat. 

We usually make four or more servings of what we're about to eat. This cuts down on time that you spend on cooking and you’ll have to do less washing up in general.

Plus, it’s good to have portions of food to bring to work to save some money.

12. Write shorter emails.

I tend to write emails containing only a few sentences, usually between one and five. If you focus on keeping it short and focused then you’ll probably discover that this is a good solution in most cases.

13. 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 of time and energy.

14. Use a minimalistic workspace.

My workspace contains a big monitor and a laptop on an adjustable standing desk. 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.

15. Check everything just once a day.

I check my email inboxes, blog statistics, my online earnings, Twitter and Facebook just once a day.

I combine all that checking into one small daily ritual at the end of my workday so I don’t slip and go checking it more during the day and waste my energy and attention.

16. Choose small daily acts of kindness.

Instead of small acts of judgment and criticism towards the people around you (and towards yourself).

17. 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.

18. Don’t make mountains out of molehills.

Before you start thinking too much about something and building it up something big in your head, ask yourself: “Am I making a mountain out of a molehill here?”

And if you get lost in victim thinking then ask yourself: “Does anyone on the planet have it worse than me right now?”.

19. Spend 10-15 minutes each Sunday or Monday morning to plan out the 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.

20. Cancel subscriptions for things you rarely get around to watching or reading anyway.

21. Spend more time with the people that help you to keep things simple.

And spend less time with the people that drag you down into overcomplicating everything and creating unnecessary drama.

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{ 96 comments… add one }
  • Number two is my favourite, I know people who think multi-tasking works but in my experience it doesn’t. Do one thing at a time!

    All of that lost time when transitioning from one thing to another, I can’t do with it. Just focus, get through a task and move onto the next. Less transitions equals more work done and more work done gives you greater satisfaction in life.

    Great post, thanks

    • CAROL ANNE DUNN

      Great website. I have yet to do one of the courses, but fully intend to do so in the very near future, but I love getting Henrik’s suggestions in his blogs and website.

  • Great website, really helpful and thought provoking.

  • Joy

    This is so helpful!

  • .Angela M Woelfer

    Thank you for setting a few things straight

  • NavK.Pal

    Really great post. Thank you Henrik.

  • champika senanayake.

    This article is a very help full one .it adds a lot to our life
    .thanks a lot for publishing such a valuable one.

  • YVONNE

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIPS THEY ARE REALLY HELPING ME TO BEING BETTER PERSON

  • Beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Abhishikha

    This is a must-read. I have literally heard every point before in my life but haven’t given it thought like I did today. But the articulation is beautifully done and reminds us of the mistakes we are doing in our personal and professional life.
    Big fan of your writing sir! Keep it up. More power to you!!

  • Thanks for this article!

    #17 is really important to me – “Stop trying to please everyone”.

    I used to have an obsession about social dynamics and always had the need to be liked by everyone.

    That just turned me into a doormat and pushover, bending over backwards for everyone which commanded zero respect.

    I realised that it wasn’t all about pleasing everyone but just about being myself unapologetically and attracting the right people.

    A very good lesson and reminder for me!

  • Simplifying life is the best thing one can do to see through the clutter that we often surround us with.

    As usual, your tips are practical and simple to follow. Keep up the good work.

  • Many very nice and usefull tips. Thanks so much.

  • Hi!
    I just discovered your Blog, and I would like to tell you that I really appreciated this article!
    I think I’m going to take a look at all the sites.
    When you have big ambitions, you need courage, motivation and the right people to surround you with.

    Thank you!

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