“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” — Hans Hofman
Our days can be hectic and filled with drama and distractions. Over time, we can get accustomed to the chaos created by ourselves and others and view it as “normal”. No wonder we feel so darn stressed out at the end of the day, yet we rarely question why.
Today I encourage us all to continue on our journey toward a simpler and happier life by following some of the steps below. Remember, Rome was not built in a day. I suggest taking just one of the suggestions and begin working on it right away. Typically one or two will resonate more deeply and be more meaningful for the moment. As time goes on, add the other elements in to continue building days in your life that are less stressful, more enjoyable and flat out better.
- Reflect on the goodness. – I put this first as I believe it is the predecessor of all the others. Above all else, much of life’s experiences are based on perception. Much of the stress of life is activated by our view on things we think we need or don’t need, want or don’t want, should be or shouldn’t be, you get the picture. Wow! Much of this can be a serious waste of time and energy and leaving us feeling unsatisfied, unfulfilled and stressed. How about taking the time to first recognize, honour and embrace what we have here and now. Very powerful, start with your breathing. Appreciate each breath in and each breath out. Say thank you for the gift of life and experience that we all have. I have often shared this video done by Brother David Steindl-Rast called “A Good Day” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zl9puhwiyw that pretty much sums it up.
- Identify the top priorities in a given day or moment. – Take a few to really dig down and figure out which few things really need to be accomplished and drop the rest. When we focus in on what is really important and take care of those things, our productivity increases immensely and we can enjoy a true sense of accomplishment.
- Know when to hold em’, know when to fold em’. – Thank you Kenny Rogers. Most of life’s events and other people’s actions are in no way under our control. Good to recognize that and not continuing to beat our heads against the wall trying to change things fall in this category. There is great power and peace in putting time in energy into places that we can truly make a difference. Keep in mind the only thing we truly have control over in this life of ours is our own perception and response to any given situation
- De-clutter your space. – This may seem obvious as it allows you to stay more organized but it also has a profound effect on your mental clarity and energy. The clutter in our physical environment is visually and energetically distracting making it helpful to rid yourself of the “stuff”. At the end of the day it really never matters how much (or how little) we have but what we make of it that counts. Give your body and mind some breathing room and clear things out. A neat book by Marie Kondo https://www.amazon.ca/The-Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering/dp/1607747308 gives some great strategies and perspectives on the whole idea.
- Schedule in some distraction free time. – We live in what many are calling the “Age of Distraction”. I agree whole-heartedly. Set specific time aside to “disconnect” from all things distraction-like to focus on those top priorities that we have determined. Studies have shown that 25 minute chunks pure focussed time with breaks in between are the best for maximal attention and productivity.
This is by no means and exhaustive list of the things we can do to make our lives simpler and more enjoyable. This is purposeful! A few powerful and effective things done consistently will always trump being all over the map and doing many things poorly and haphazardly. (That could be the 6th point on the list really)
Dr. Richard Yoshimura