TEN WAYS I SIMPLIFIED MY LIFE
During 2013, I felt I was being pulled in lots of different directions. Know the feeling? I was working full-time, keeping up with my blog, completing photography commissions, seeing friends and family, exercising, maintaining my home, travelling, wasting too much time online and so it went on.
I found the lack of ‘me time’ exhausting so I tried to reduce my commitments. However, after looking at an average week I realised there was nothing I wanted to remove from my schedule so I decided to simplify everything else, starting with my physical environment.
As 2014 began I embarked on a huge declutter of my belongings which set me on a journey towards a calmer, simpler and easier life. One that felt lighter, provided a greater sense of contentment and gave me my time back. So, today I’m sharing the ten ways I simplified my life.
1. Let go of stuff
I no longer wanted to waste precious moments cleaning and maintaining my home so I removed all the items I no longer needed, used or loved. The decluttering process transformed my life and living in a simpler environment made me feel calmer and happier.
2. Abandoned the pursuit of unnecessary belongings
When you’ve simplified your belongings, you tend not to want to buy more stuff! And when I stopped looking at online shopping sites or wandering around shops I had more time and money. I find living with less means I enjoy the things I have a whole lot more. After all, less is more!
3. Changed my morning routine
The secret to more hours in the day is to get up earlier and although I’ve never been a morning person, getting up in a tidy clutter-free home makes the mornings especially joyful. My man works locally and so we have breakfast together each morning. Having the extra time to relax, eat and chat makes a huge difference to my day and as a result, I feel more organised and less rushed.
4. Started exercising regularly
A low maintenance home frees up time and energy and so it was easier for me to establish a regular exercise routine. I tried to stick to set days and I didn’t worry too much if I missed one. I also used my walk to and from work (a 9k round trip) to relax and enjoy the world around me. I tend to over-think and so I’m trying to be as present as possible, which is good exercise for my mind!
5. Took more time offline
Too much time online makes me feel busy and restless so I began to try a few internet-free days. I was amazed at the extra time I had and how much I achieved. Following this I set myself three rules:
~ No internet before 9am or after 10pm
~ Regular internet-free mornings and afternoons
~ Stop continually checking and scrolling!
Obviously, I don’t always stick to the above but I have removed the habit of constantly checking my technology. I’ve also rediscovered the joy of books!
I unsubscribed from emails, newsletters, catalogues and anything else that didn’t add value to my life. I also deleted things from my computer desktop and removed the files I no longer needed, organising everything that remained.
7. Addressed my mind
Living in a clutter-free environment made me aware of how busy my mind was and so my next step took me towards mindfulness meditation. After some research and trying a couple of iPhone apps I’m beginning to learn how to quieten my mind. Further reading: six things I gained from a year of mindfulness and meditation.
8. Tried to be a little more present
In the summer, I visited the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park and at both locations, I decided not to take any photographs. I wanted to experience them fully without faffing around with my camera! Six months on and my most vivid memories are of the two places. It was worth taking the risk and it has motivated me to try to live in the moment rather than always trying to capture it.
9. Learnt to relax
I’ve always struggled to relax but it happened as a result of the above. When you simplify there are fewer household chores and distractions unlocking more time to put your feet up with a cuppa and a book.
10. Made more time for family and friends
And finally, cutting out the life clutter gave me more time for my family, friends and all the other things that bring me the greatest joy. ‘Collecting moments and not things’ is a pretty good rule to live by and I’m pleased with how far I’ve come.
If there are ways you’ve calmed and simplified your life I would love for you to share them in the comments. I hope you have a gorgeous day.