Living a Simple Life
What does living a simple life look like for you? For most of us, living a simple life starts with being at peace.
The feeling of peace and contentment most notably arises when all areas in life are balanced and tended to. When one area gets off track, it can indirectly affect the others, and thus life begins to feel a bit out of control.
The Keys to Simple Living
Living a simple life is truly more than downsizing and decluttering. With this in mind, we have identified 7 key areas that can impact the ease, peace and simplicity that you experience day to day.
When it comes to simple living, the right mindset is going to be foundational.
Making an effort to be more intentional with your choices and mindful of your thoughts will set you on the right path. Getting clear on your values and what is most important to you will make everything moving forward much easier.
Life can truly become 'simpler' when you realize that your day itself is made up of thousands of small, simple, 'seemingly insignificant' decisions, that all add up to your results. When you can get control of those tiny choices made throughout your day, the outcomes will take care of themselves.
And when you have your values and mindful intentions directing your decisions, you should be satisfied with the outcomes.
The Slight Edge is a book I would definitely recommend if you want to explore this topic further. It completely changed my perspective on 'simple' daily actions.
When you begin to establish the mindset of simplicity, you will start to think in terms of smarter not harder. The choices you make will be easier because they will have been brought in line with your core values and intentions.
2. Habits and Routines
I've heard it said that routine is medicine. Routine and consistency can also be seen as an anchor that keeps us from drifting into chaos and disorder.
Spontaneity is great, and has its place for sure. But if it's simplicity you’re after, having a routine in at least some areas of your life will keep you grounded and centered when things get rocky.
Establishing consistent habits and routines also helps ease the weight of what is known as 'decision fatigue'. You may have experienced it.
When you've made the choice of what to wear, what to have for breakfast, how to respond to that email or text, what you're making for dinner, whether to spend money on that item, on and on... by the end of the day you can feel a bit taxed.
At this point even simple decisions can feel difficult and your ability to make good decisions will be greatly diminished.
One way to reduce this phenomena is by having some basic habits and routines set in place ahead of time that free up some of that decision making mental energy for you.
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Life will automatically feel less stressful because the small, insignificant choices have been made in advance, leaving enough mental energy to make better decisions in the areas that really matter.
Simplifying your habits & routines gives you time to focus on whatever it is that’s right in front of you in the moment. It allows you to be more present.
Atomic Habits teaches you how to build effective habits by building effective systems. It's the best book I've read on how to create good habits and break bad ones.
Living a simple life without focusing on your health can be a bit of a challenge. I don't know about you but when I feel sick, tired, stressed, burned out.. nothing feels very simple!
Prioritizing your health leads to many improvements, notably increased energy and mental clarity, making life simpler and easier to handle.
There are 3 simple things you can do for your health immediately that will have the biggest impact moving forward. Once these are established you can always build upon them from there, but building these into habits is a must!
Make QUALITY sleep a priority
- Set aside 7+ hours of uninterrupted sleep
- Eliminate screen time 1+ hour before bed
- Wear blue blocking glasses in the evening
- Sleep at a cooler temperature (or use a Chilipad)
- Use an eye mask & earplugs if you are a light sleeper
Nutrition and Supplements
- Start by reducing sugar, processed foods, and hydrogenated oils
- Eat more fresh, whole foods (organic, when possible)
- Take supplements only for the nutrients missing from your diet
- Get an annual Comprehensive Health Check
- Keep it simple, but keep it consistent
- Walk or jog for at least 20+ minutes each day
- Remember to include cardio, strength training, and stretching
- Try Yoga Download for the Yoga/Pilates studio experience from home
Once you have made these a priority, you will no doubt notice the impact on your overall health, energy and daily stress levels. A certain amount of effortlessness and simplicity will return to your life.
4. Meaningful Relationships
I would say this key goes hand in hand with health as well.
When we have people we can call on, rely on, and reach out to for support, life is simpler and easier to bear. When we feel heard and understood (and they do as well) the relationship will feel rich, full, and effortless.
Communication is key when it comes to interpersonal relationships. If we can communicate effectively with everyone in our life, things will be easier overall.
One of the best known tools for becoming a master communicator is what is known as 'non-violent communication.' This practice is based on the assumption that we all have capacity for compassion and empathy. On the flip side, most people only resort to yelling or harmful behavior when they do not recognize any other option for getting their voice heard.
Nonviolent communication seeks to create an atmosphere that encourages empathetic listening and understanding. One of its main objectives is to support change on three interconnected levels: within self, between others, and within groups and social structures.
When communication is effective, relationships feel simpler, life becomes lighter.
Nonviolent Communication is a must read if you want to take your relationships to the next level and create true lasting benefits.
5. Space and Clutter
Your home should be an escape from the noise and clutter of the outside world. The goal is to create a living space that instills simplicity and relaxation.
When it comes to space and clutter, we like to take the approach of organizing what you already have before you consider the de-cluttering phase. When you start by organizing you get a clear picture of what you already own, and make sure it has a specific place where it is stored and accessed in your home.
From here you can start to see what might be lacking, what is damaged, or what you have duplicates of. Once everything has a place it is easier to toss (and potentially replace) items where necessary.
Think in terms of quality over quantity. Think organizing and labeling over immediately tossing and eliminating.
Once you have that part taken care of, you now have the opportunity to mindfully choose what gets to stay and what gets cut. This gives you the chance to be intentional and choose the items that you truly want in your life.
Top-To-Bottom Home Organizing is our go to choice for organizing & decluttering.
6. Time and Schedule
Our life is made up of time. So by ensuring our time is spent with intention, we'll be on track to producing the simple, meaningful life we're striving towards.
What are some ways to simplify your time and schedule? Set your priorities first.
We like to say 'prioritize and categorize'. Again, the point here is to be intentional. Make sure your values are in line with your priorities, and schedule accordingly.
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Over the span of 7 days, we will cover a variety of topics that will allow you to find ways to slow down, reset, and simplify.
One easy way to free up potential 'lost time' is to be conscious of where it is being drained.
Maybe too much mindless scrolling? Lost hours bingeing on a new show? Or spending hours at the store when you could utilize time saving services and be home with your family?
Start by setting time limits for screen time. Look into helpful services like Shipt as a way to free up time spent grocery shopping. Try using the Pomodoro Technique when working on projects to stay focused and to stop the time from getting away from you.
Whatever it might be, the objective is to become aware of the time and take steps to address it. Make the appropriate adjustments wherever you feel like time is taking you away from what's most important in your life.
Living a simple life would be hard to achieve if you are worried about paying the bills and saving for your future. Managing your money doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember, the simpler your plans are, the more likely you’ll implement them.
When simplifying your finances, we're really just talking about 3 areas of focus; banking, budgeting, and investing.
Read The Path to Financial Fitness where we cover the topic of personal finances in much greater depth.
The foundation of your finances is the place where you send and receive your money, in other words, your bank. The bank we use has no fees of any kind, a modern app, and can transfer money instantly.
Tied in with banking is your recurring bills. You can simplify your bills by automating as many of them as possible and setting up recurring shipments for products & services you use regularly.
Lastly, you can simplify your bills even further using a service such as Privacy. This free service lets you create individual ‘virtual’ credit cards with spending limits that can be ‘paused’ at any time.
These cards are also locked to that single merchant, so you won’t have to worry about fraudulent purchases or your credit card number getting stolen.
The next area of focus is your budget. Remember, simpler is better. Everyone’s situation is different, but a good rule of thumb is:
- 10% towards investments (after building an emergency fund)
- 20% towards paying off debt (or saving for big purchases)
- 70% for your everyday living expenses.
A budget doesn’t need to be restrictive, but ignoring any of those 3 categories completely will stunt your financial growth.
Our investment philosophy is simple; investments should be both safe and profitable, no matter what the economy and the markets do.
We’ve been using the Permanent Portfolio for many years now, and have been pleased with the results and simplicity. The portfolio is balanced in such a way that safety is prioritized without sacrificing too much of the upside potential.
It consists of just 4 asset classes, and only takes about 30 minutes each year to manage / re-balance. It’s a good starting point if you want to manage your investments on your own, and don’t want to worry too much about the ups and downs of active investing.
The Key to Living a Simple Life
Living a simple life is peace. Simple living requires balance.
Simplicity appears as a result of giving each area of life the mindful, intentional attentiveness it deserves.
Mindlessness invites chaos. Mindful awareness invokes simplicity.
A lot of what we present here are concepts and not so much the specific how to's. However, we did our best to provide you with the framework and also supply you with helpful tools to move you forward.
What do you find is keeping you most from living a simple life?
What areas seem the most 'unnecessarily complicated' for you?
About The Author
Krissy is a writer and lifestyle blogger. She is passionate about health & wellness, the joys of simple living, and overall life balance.