Posted in Balanced Lifestyle | April 5, 2011 | Comments Off on How I Simplify My Life (with practical tips for you)
Simplicity is a very simple concept that can be difficult to reach when you are facing a huge Mountain of Too Much. Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the tasks that you need to do during the day? Maybe with choices that you face? Do you feel overwhelmed before starting a project (even if it is just a quick house clean-up) that seems too big to tackle?
I know I feel that way quite often. Just this week I got back from a Pilates workshop and I faced an enormous Mountain of Overwhelm. New tasks that need to be done, a few tasks that were left from last week, a ton of emails that needed to be answered, new projects that I am working on, meal plans for my family, washing clothes, cleaning the house and putting together new patio furniture set that I am so excited about. Actually in situations like this it is normal for regular human beings to feel panicky. Do you ever feel this way?
Our life on a daily basis gives us plenty of opportunities for frustration. Even simple things like a trip to the grocery store can be overcomplicated. We have about 20 varieties of yogurts (maybe more?), about 50 types of juices, cereal, produce … you name it. Even picking toilet tissues can make you feel frustrated! And I am not even mentioning the whole organic/non-organic, healthy/junk food dilemma.
Our world definitely needs some simplifying. Actually simplicity makes life balance incredibly easy. There is a particular taste of simple living that makes it so appealing and enjoyable. Just like the best-tasting food when you are hungry is freshly baked bread with some olive oil and a glass of water, simple living is the best food for those hungry for life balance.
Over the next few weeks I will share with you several practical ways of making your life simpler and of course more balanced. In the meantime here is a blueprint that I use in my life (I will focus more on each of these categories in future posts.)
1. Time management
When I am facing any task I always ask myself “Is this task really important?” “Do I really need it?” “Is this task coherent with my life priorities?” Surprisingly these simple questions help me eliminate a ton of activities that I really do not need.
Of course with the rest of my tasks I create a prioritized to-do list trying to delegate some of the things and making sure that I meet all deadlines. Organizing a to-do list is really an art because it lets you eliminate any cluttering activities during your day making room only for really important things in your life.
Probably the most important thing about time management is avoiding procrastination. After all the sooner you get to this task, then sooner you will be able to move on.
A healthy diet is definitely very high on my priority list and I always make sure that I have enough time to fix healthy meals for my family (and yes, sometimes it means saying “no” to certain opportunities and projects that I might be interested in.) The best way to simplify your diet is to
- eliminate bad substances (high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils), chemicals and preservatives (most of the ingredients that you cannot pronounce) and anything else that does not look natural;
- limit sugar and salt (sodium) which makes any junk food and highly processed foods not an option anymore;
- stock up on produce (anything you like, really);
- use lean high-quality sources of protein (I always go for organic, grass-fed and wild caught with any animal protein and minimally processed with beans and soy products);
- use whole grains and high-fiber products.
Once you have eliminated all the bad stuff and stocked up on natural goodness you can create a well-balanced nutrition plan that will give you plenty of energy during the day (without ruining your budget.)
It’s really simple for me – I just do it. At least 30 minutes a day I do any type of exercise activity that my body is in the mood for (a few times a week I might have 60 minute workouts but I rarely go above this length.) Currently I
- run 2-3 miles 2-3 times a week,
- do Pilates 2-3 times a week,
- work out with weights once a week,
- belly dance once a week (definitely not a workout for men but the best workout for women in my opinion),
- play XBox Kinect with my husband once a week (I wish we had time to do it more!)
I guess you can call it a 2-3-1 workout plan. There is nothing overcomplicated and I always listen to my body. If something does not feel right – I take a break and enjoy a lazy evening on the couch
If you are interested in more details about my workout schedule you can read my detailed 30-minute-a-day workout plan and actual secrets of staying lean and toned in 30 minutes a day.
4. Home organization
Every week my husband and I clean the house (nothing surprising here.) Once a month we have a super-cleanup when we throw away everything that we do not need anymore. Once every season we go over our closets and get rid of clothes that we do not wear anymore (we donate or give them away to GoodWill.)
Home organization is really about consistency and taking it 1 step at a time. You need to have a general plan and it is very important to get people you live with on the same page with you. Actually home organizing is really fun once you get rid of all the clutter.
5. Emotional detox
This is something all of us need on a regular basis. Just like we put away sweaters and pants that we might wear 5 years from now we also put away emotions and memories. While positive memories can be a source of inspiration, negative ones slowly suck all the energy and life out of us.
- Regularly talk to somebody about things that bother you (make sure to do it just once to let the steam out, don’t turn into a cloud of pessimism.)
- Write down your thoughts in a journal and let go off them. If you do not believe that it works- read Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor (true story.) Natalie lost her husband when she was pregnant with her first child and she used a journal to cope with the sadness that overwhelmed her. She managed to bounce back from this horrible situation and her journal turned into a book.
- Forgive. Forgiveness is the most powerful way to let go. Sometimes we need to forgive a person, sometimes we need to forgive ourselves. Sometimes we need to openly talk to a person to be forgiven.
There is definitely more to simplifying life than these 5 paragraphs. However if you make just one little step towards simplicity today I am sure that tomorrow you will be inspired to make the next one.
Did you like this article? Please share it with your friends. Do them a favor and let them find more balance and simplicity in their lives.
Keep it balanced.
P.S. Right now you can download my new 100% FREE Simplify Your Life with Balance Workbook. It is a limited time offer (2 weeks only) so hurry up to get your copy today!
Photo credit: Mait Jüriado