Life moves fast, doesn’t it? It often feels like you’re trying to keep two dozen plates spinning at the same time.
Heaven forbid one of those plates start to wobble. You know, when you have to flat out run to reach it in time before it topples to the floor, taking the next plate and the entire row with it.
Life can sometimes feel like you’re constantly babysitting those darn plates when all you really want to do is experience what’s beyond them. You don’t want to live your life fighting fires and preventing mini-catastrophes on a near daily basis.
How would your life change if you had less plates spinning? It would take the pressure off, right?
See, everything you’re doing right now in your life is a plate that you’re spinning. If you’re feeling burnt out, frustrated and overwhelmed it’s time to simplify, or to keep with our analogy, remove some plates.
Here are fourteen ways to simplify your life.
1Assess your commitments
Aside from non-negotiable commitments like work, school, and medical appointments, can you confidently list all the other commitments that are adding to your overall stress?
If you feel like there isn’t enough time in the day and you’re overwhelmed with all those places you have to go and all those people you have to see, consider reducing how many activities you commit yourself to.
This could mean reducing how many clubs you attend, reducing any volunteering activities, and could even mean setting tighter boundaries with that high maintenance friend or co-worker. We all know one of these people and it can be all too easy to get into a situation where you find yourself at the receiving end of their constant demands.
2Have a social media fast
How many social media platforms are you signed up to? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest? More? It can be overwhelming trying to keep up with all of them at the same time. You can find yourself scrolling through news feed after news feed and before you know it, a couple of hours have passed.
If you’re like a lot of other people, you have your phone close to you when you sleep and browsing social media is the last thing you do at night and the first thing you access when you wake up.
I challenge you to fast from social media for a full 24 hour period. You’ll be wondering what to do with yourself. This is a perfect opportunity to do something for yourself.
If you can’t stomach a 24-hour social media fast, consider putting your phone on the other side of your bedroom so you don’t feel tempted to stay awake scrolling.
3List your three most important things
Write down three things that are most important to you in your life. Now use these to guide future decisions. If you’re engaging in activities and people that don’t support these three outcomes, it might be worth re-considering your commitment.
4Schedule non-negotiable appointments
Do you keep your up and coming appointments in your head? That causes unnecessary stress. Keep things simple by pre-scheduling your annual medical appointments and other up and coming events on a calendar. You can use something physical like a diary or your phone. I use Google Calendar. It’s free and easy to use.
5Just say no!
This can be uncomfortable for some people but if you don’t get into the practice of saying no more often, people will continue to take chunks out of your time.
See Also: The Courage To Say No
6Reduce media consumption
We are bombarded all day with the latest news, breaking news, shock-horror, and general negativity. It can feel extremely overwhelming to be at the receiving end of a seemingly never ending stream of doom and gloom. You can remedy this by reducing your intake of mainstream news either from the television, newspapers, radio, or the internet.
7Purge toxic relationships
We all know people who are difficult to be around. People who are chaotic, negative and demanding on your energy supply. If you want to simplify your life, it’s best to distance yourself from these types of people by setting personal boundaries.
Often, this is ill received because these people take it as a criticism of character and feed off drama. It’s best to either distance yourself or let go completely.
8Get rid of your ‘stuff’
Have you ever felt you just have too much ‘stuff’? That pile of books stood in the corner of your living room, those impulsive eBay buys, that pile of clothes that won’t fit inside your already fit-to-burst wardrobe? You might not realise it but clutter like this is ‘visually noisy’ and causes subconscious stress.
Make a list of items that you really don’t want or need and either sell them, bin them, or donate them. You’ll really appreciate your new, fresh environment.
9De-clutter your digital space
How does it feel when you check your email and see 3,406 emails in your inbox? Whilst a lot of it is spam, you know there are conversations in there from 18 months ago that are no longer relevant.
You probably have apps on your phone or tablet device that you haven’t used in a long while as well. De-clutter your devices of unused apps, old messages and don’t be shy about deleting things if you aren’t sure. Ask yourself if you really want to keep something. If it’s not an ‘absolutely!’ straight away, it needs to go.
10Scrutinize your finances
This is a great exercise to be leaner with your spending. Simply take your latest bank statement and skim through it to find any subscriptions or recurring payments. If you haven’t used the service in a while or don’t really want it any more, then cancel. Use the money for something meaningful.
11Limit time spent communicating
If you’re like I used to be, you read emails as soon as they hit your phone. You stop whatever it is you’re doing and read them, right? That’s a massive productivity killer and leads to a feeling of frustration that can be overwhelming.
The solution is to check your emails twice a day. Once in the morning and one in the afternoon. That’s it. If you really can’t wait that long, you can check them at lunch time.
12Start walking in nature
I don’t know of a better way to de-stress than a good walk in nature, phone on silent, and technology unplugged. It’s a great way to be mindful as you hear the sounds of nature like the brushing of the leaves and the chatter of the birds. You’ll feel calmer, lighter and re-charged.
13Start a meditation practice
Setting aside just 10 minutes every day, either in the morning or in the evening, is a wonderful way to bring calm and clarity into your life. If you plan on implementing a social media fast, this is a perfect time to start.
14Ask yourself this question
“Is this going to simplify my life or make it more overwhelming?”
Asking yourself this question can guide you in the right direction when you find yourself faced with a set of decisions. Follow your gut feeling on this, too, It’s rarely wrong!
Feeling overwhelmed is downright miserable.
It sucks when you have more going on that you can handle.
You don’t want a life like this. You want to feel in control so you can make progress and feel fulfilled.
My challenge to you: Choose one of the tips above and implement it today. Then tomorrow pick another one. See how different you feel after a week of taking consistent action toward simplifying your life.
Let’s see how many spinning plates you can remove from your hectic life!
Starting from today!
I know you can do it.
You’ve got this!
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15Author: Russell Smitheram
Russell Smitheram learned how to ease the burden of daily stress following a health crisis that changed his life. Learn how you too can break free from the overwhelming pace of daily life. Start feeling happier and more fulfilled today when you grab his free guide '3 Habits That Turn Chaos into Calm' at LiveLifeCalm.com