21 Small Ways to Make Life Simpler

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 a mistake) 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 – or move forward and away from – the people that drag you down into overcomplicating everything and creating unnecessary drama.


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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 Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

125 comments… add one
  • Thanks for this amazing article, Henrik.

    I really like breathing with belly, I practise it almost everyday and this is very effective.

    The advantages of it are as follows-
    • It pulls your mind into the present moment when you are too stressed about your future or past.
    • It allows you to completely enjoy the present moment and be 100 per cent present in the now.
    • Another advantage is that when you have trouble sleeping (when your sleeping is affected by overthinking), this can really help you to fall asleep.
    • It allows you to enjoy your food. While eating good food, our mind sometimes wanders away from feeling and enjoying the taste of good food to our problems.
    • It also allows you to devote your time to your family. Many people while spending their time with their families tend to think about the worries at work and this breathing technique can help them to bring back their attention to their loved ones.

    Yes, we must do one thing at a time.

    There is no miracle in multi-tasking, as many claim, it only distracts you and you cannot properly concentrate on any of your tasks.

    Absolutely, we must write down our tasks.

    By doing this, we cannot forget our important tasks and I personally do this everyday.
    When you don’t do this, you might forget doing some important tasks and might regret later for forgetting them.

    This also helps in managing our time effectively because when we plan all our tasks beforehand, we can effectively allocate time for them.

    Also, you must not use perfection as an excuse to start a work, sadly many people do it.

    Absolutely, we must stop doing what we don’t like doing any more because these kinds of works will drain us mentally, emotionally and physically.

    For writing shorter emails, we must cultivate the habit of brevity.

    We can also do small daily acts of kindness towards birds and animals, like leaving some water for birds and feeding food for hungry animals.

    Yes, we must stop trying to please everyone, as this is impossible to achieve and is a huge drain of energy.

    Instead of doing this, we can try to please ourselves by achieving our goals and doing the things which we love.

  • This is a great post! Very inspiring?? Love the positivity!

  • wow! sir this is amazing i really love this post it really motivate me

  • Thank you sir for sharing your blogs with me. It really inspires me to improve myself .
    Sir I would be glad to share with you that like you I also like writing blogs but since it is my hobby so I don’t do it regularly.
    Anyway you are doing good job Sir by inspiring people and helping them by your blogs .

  • Anonymous

    Great post!!! Thanks for sharing.

  • Anna

    Thanks Henrik! Good advice the simpler life the better! Keep up the good work and inspiration.


    I am from India & go through your quotes every now & then.
    All your articles & emails I get are inspiring quotes…
    very informative & helpful in my day-to-day life..

    Thanks for the Good work…. Keep it up..

  • E

    Excellent. Every one of these.

  • Melody

    Wow! This was a great post! I am motivating to incorporate these simple ways into my Life! Thank you for sharing!

  • Jennifer Harting

    Always a pleasure reading your newsletter Henrik. Thank you! Jennifer in California, USA

  • Realy Great Collection a Small way to make my life simple.
    I also think that people should live a simple life like Warren buffet.

  • Thanks for this awesome Post…..Keep it up.

  • This article about a more simple life is very good.

  • Ahmed Mohammed (Ethiopia)

    Sir thank you for the nice principle, I will save it in my mind…..

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