My life used to be full of clutter. I’d have loads of things on the go, there would be mess all around me and my head was a melee of half-baked ideas and things I hadn’t done yet. That was until I discovered, on the jumble sale called the Internet, a small place of nirvana called Zen Habits.
This blog resonated with me so much that I became slightly obsessed. There are loads and loads of suggestions for living a cleaner, better, more energised life. It was really the start for me and without sounding all born-again it was the point where I changed my life.
The most important lesson that I learnt was to de-clutter and minimise all aspects of your life. The more stuff we have swimming around, the harder it becomes to focus, and focus is the secret to success.
When I talk about ‘stuff’ it can refer to material things or thoughts and ambitions, the point is that the more of it you have the harder it is to ever feel contentment. You don’t have to go all ‘Tibetan Monk’ on me but in our every day lives stuff just builds up and if you’re not on top of it then it’ll overpower you.
I have applied some of the practical steps to my own life and enjoyed huge benefits in terms of my own happiness and success. There are literally hundreds of low level ideas that can add up to make you feel better but I’m going to list below the top 10 that made the biggest difference to my life.
10 Easy, Practical, Simplifying Exercises
1. Learn to say ‘No’
Are you one of those people that want to please everyone? You know you can’t so don’t try. People will respect you more for saying no than being constantly let down by you not delivering.
2. Do one thing at a time
Multi-tasking is for martyrs that want to look like their great. It’s scientifically proven that if you do more than one thing at a time then each individual task diminishes in quality. Also make sure that you finish each task. There is no better impetus to create momentum than finishing something, and if you complete a task you won’t have to waste time going back and doing it again.
3. Set priorities
Every day make sure you have no more than 3 important tasks that you want to complete. Be focused on what they are and get them out of the way as early as you can.
4. Control your inputs
We are all a product of what we put in. If we spend our time sucking up negative influences then we’ll become negative in the way we think and act in the world. Be aware of what you’re thinking about.
5. Don’t waste your time
Everyone in the world has the same number of hours in his or her day. Isn’t it funny how some people can fit so much in to those hours, while others can lose whole weeks at a time? Time is a resource, so don’t waste it watching TV for five hours, or seeing someone that you don’t really want to see, or checking your email every 5 minuutes.
6. Learn to let go
If you can’t do anything about it then don’t worry about it either. All you can do is control the controllables. You’re just wasting time if you sit around thinking about irrelevant subjects.
7. Don’t worry about what other’s think
Who cares? They’re all on their own journeys through this chaos and everyone’s doing the best they can with the resources they have. Just concentrate on satisfying yourself and doing the right thing. Being able to hold your head up is a great feeling.
8. Be grateful
Stop dwelling on all the things that you don’t have and start being thankful for the things that you do. Life’s great, smell the roses.
9. Clean as you go
Stay on top of it; don’t save it all up for a weekly blitz. All that saving creates is seven days of living in a mess and then a big lump of time that you have to dedicate to a task you don’t enjoy.
10. Get rid of everything that you don’t NEED
Don’t keep things that you may need one day. If you haven’t used it in three years the chances are that you’ll probably forget you have it, or where it is, when you do need it.
These steps are easy if you want to change but you’ll be amazed by the difference each one makes. Have you experienced any of these?