Simplicity. Such a beautiful word with incredible meaning. It is a word that exudes confidence, peace, joy, and a calm energy all in 10 little letters... S-I-M-P-L-I-C-I-T-Y. Many of us crave simplicity in many areas of our daily lives. We wish our job was less chaotic. We wish our house wasn't such a mess. We wish our relationships weren't so complicated. Heck... we wish our phone screens didn't stress us out with its 50 different icons and the annoying red dot telling us we have 150 unread e-mails! We wish. Most of us wish it our entire lives, and yet, we never do anything about it. All we end up doing is getting frustrated, tired, sick of the mess and entangled in even more chaotic situations. We make the mess bigger, instead of working to downsize it and simplify it. Why do we do this to ourselves? I don't know. Is it because it's comfortable? It's all we know? We are afraid to venture into something new or walk away from the "tried and true"? Perhaps. But, what if we had a plan to at least start with something? Maybe then it wouldn't feel so incredibly overwhelming. Okay. So, how do we begin? For starters, let's ask ourselves some simple questions.
- What do we actually, really, truly care about?
- If we could narrow the above into only 3, what would be our top 3?
- How much time do we currently devote to those 3 priorities as compared to the things that are not as big of a deal? For example... how much time do we spend with family versus how much time we spend at work?
Okay. Now, everyone is going to answer these differently, of course. Thus, everyone's "roadmap" to creating a simple life will differ. There is no "one size fits all." However, the "steps," if you will, are essentially the same for us all.
We are going to take a look at those 3 top priorities. We are then going to brainstorm into a notebook and WRITE DOWN (yes, I yelled in all caps) all of those activities, people, and commitments in our lives that are preventing us from fulfilling our top 3 priorities.
This list could be never ending and overwhelming for many of us. It could, of course, be work (we have to pay bills, right?). It could be outside of work commitments. It could be watching TV, going online, checking Twitter 500 times a day, reading about everyone else's life on Facebook, while ours passes us by. Whatever it is, we've now identified these little time suckers. We should think of them as these scary little trolls that just sweep into our pretty little lives to mess things up, frustrate us and keep us away from the things that truly matter. None of us want these time suckers around. What we do want is more time to devote to our top 3 priorities. So, our next step is:
Cutting things out. What activities can we stop committing to? Which time suckers can we walk away from? Where can we carve out time, space, or money to do those things that truly matter. For only by chipping away can we make room for more meaningful experiences. Do we have to go to every.single.bake.sale? Must we go to every event we are invited to? Do we have to go out to eat every stinkin' Friday night? Could we, instead, opt for something less complicated? Let's just put our phones away, shut down our laptops and stay off social media for an entire 24 hours. Let's just try it and observe how our top 3 priorities are suddenly at the forefront of our day.
Perhaps our problem isn't activities, but it's stuff. Oh boy. The dreaded word: clutter. My least favorite word: knick knacks. Ick. Souvenirs. Double ick. Stay tuned for Friday's post, where I will do part II of this series and we will be addressing the issue of clutter and how to begin the process of letting the physical stuff go. For now, however, I'd like for us to take the time to focus on the experiences that clutter our lives, as opposed to the stuff. For the physical clutter is usually just a visual representation of the clutter going on inside of us. So, let's clear out our insides before we focus on the outside. Let's.
I'd love to know how you are doing with this and what results you saw at the end of your brainstorm. You can either comment here, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a quick Twitter or Facebook message. We are all in this journey together, because none of us is alone in this struggle. We all over commit. We all want simpler lives. Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this and I wouldn't be writing it. Let's support one another.