Life can get hectic sometimes. OK, most times. Between work, home life, hobbies, and Netflix, I’m honestly surprised I can fit sleep into my schedule most nights. That’s why I’ve found the best thing to do is to take a step back, observe your surroundings, and begin eliminating unnecessary pieces of your life that are weighing you down or distracting you.
So in honor of Simplify Your Life Week, I wanted to share a few ways to cut down on the distractions that worked for me. These aren’t a catch-all for everyone, but it should give you some ideas to get started. And if you have some that work for you, be sure to let us know in a comment!
Eliminate the Clutter
I think of myself as a pretty neat person, but even for me, clutter starts to become a problem. I get a little too sentimental and hold onto an old movie stub or magazine with too much nostalgia. But then I wonder, “Why am I holding onto this? It’s not like it’ll get me back in the movies.” Sometimes you need to know when to tear the bandage off. That’s why every week or so I like to kick my cleaning into high gear and eliminate everything but the essentials from my personal space. If it doesn’t serve a constructive, positive or essential purpose for you, get rid of it.
Take Time to Disconnect
Look, I get it, I write on the Internet for a living. This thing is incredible. But that doesn’t mean you need to be constantly connected and checking every notification that pops its way into your field of vision. That includes television, too. There’s just so much noise in the digital world of the 21st century. Take some time to turn off the phone and tablet and head outside, or even spend time with friends and family without distraction. Find a great book and a shady tree, and party like we’re in the colonial era. Find what works for you and make it a recurring part of your schedule.
Start Making Lists
Because of how connected we are to the news and our friends’ social lives online, it often feels like your brain can be running at a million miles an hour to keep up with every thread of every story you’re reading. For example, has this ever happened to you: You crack open your smartphone or laptop with a steadfast purpose, only to find yourself checking Facebook for 10 minutes and completely forgetting what you wanted to do in the first place. I find that before starting any task, listing the steps I need to take to complete it greatly increases the speed at which it gets done. Give it a shot; the feeling of crossing off a to-do list never gets old. Trust me.
Learn The Power of “No”
Nobody wants to miss out on the BEST party or the BEST after party or whatever else you get extremely FOMO over, but at the end of the day, trying to please everyone is destroying your sanity (not to mention your social schedule). In our extra-careful, PC generation, it seems the act of saying “No, thank you” has turned into a social slight. That’s not the case! It’s important to take time for yourself, and learn to gently push back when someone wants to invade your life a little too much. Plus, the “nos” will make the “yes'” that much better. Remember: You come first.
Focus That Creative Energy Inward
We all want to write the Facebook rant that goes viral, or paint a portrait that the world pines over, or create a video that Taylor Swift retweets. It seems the desire to be famous is in us all. But too often that means we neglect our inner motivation and drive. Focusing that inward will make you more mindful and, at least for me, much calmer. Try taking five to ten minutes each day to practice some breathing meditation techniques to keep your mind relaxed and focused on you. You’ll find yourself much more mentally sharp and rested after each session.
How are you going to simplify your life this week?