Let’s face it—even the most Zen-like person wants to simplify his or her life from time to time. And since most of us don’t have the option of hiring a life coach or meditating with the Dalai Lama, we thought we’d share the next best thing: seven simple ways to make you lead a more organized, stress-free, and inspiring life. Anne B Parker, MA, MHSA, wellness counselor at Miraval Resort & Spa, offers her expert advice.
“Simplifying your life is fundamentally about the willingness to make choices about where you put your attention and energy,” Parker says. “Typically, when we feel overwhelmed and have the desire to simplify, it’s because we are attempting to do too much and have expectations that are not reasonable, which leads us to put energy into distractions—activities that don’t support our true goals and intentions.
“These ideas apply to all aspects of our life—personal and professional,” she continues. “Simplifying requires us to shift habits and expectations. To simplify we must make different choices and be willing to accept the ramifications of those choices when they are comfortable and when they are uncomfortable.”
Here are her seven simple tips for a simplified life:
1. Invest in reflection time to clarify goals and prioritize activities that are congruent with those goals, Parker says. “Making mindful choices about how you spend your energy makes it easier to stay focused on what you want to accomplish and not give in to distraction.”
2. Invest in preparation time. Taking that hour on a Sunday to prep grab-and-go meals for the week really pays off, Parker acknowledges. “Putting your exercise clothes in a bag ready to go the night before takes away a complicating factor in the midst of a busy day. Planning for those crunch times on your calendar helps you support yourself and not get into panic mode.”
3. “Remember that most of the time ‘good enough’ is good enough! Perfect is an illusion that just creates stress,” she says.
4. As well (and this is my favorite of her tips!): “Focus on what you can impact and don’t waste energy or attention on the things that are out of your control,” she tells us.
5. Be willing to change your image of what ‘should be’ and focus instead on what is, Parker suggests. “Focusing on what is empowers us to act. Focusing on what should be just frustrates and leaves us feeling powerless.”
6. She continues: Give yourself credit for what is accomplished instead of only focusing on what isn’t yet done. Parker advises to keep a weekly “have done list,” as well as a “to do list,” which will help you recognize when you gave in to complicating distractions.
7. Remember that speed doesn’t automatically mean urgent, Parker adds. “Our devices that allow for instant communication are great. It’s also important that we don’t automatically react to everything as in need of urgent action just because it comes to us quickly. False urgency creates complications and distracts us from our goals,” she concludes.
Plus, enjoy even more simple tips to simplify your life!