28-Days of Simplicity

Earlier this year, I posted one tip a day for 28 days on Instagram on how to simplify your life. Here it is, in one neat package. Enjoy. 

Day 28 - Breathe: If you feel overwhelmed, breathe. It will calm you and release the tensions. If you are worried about something coming up, or caught up in something that already happened, breathe. It will bring you back to the present. If you are moving too fast, breathe. It will remind you to slow down, and enjoy life more. Breathe, and enjoy each moment of this life. They’re too fleeting and few to waste. - Leo Babauta

Day 27 - Create a simplicity statement: What would you like a more simple life to look like? What is it that you need to feel relaxed? Write it out. Give yourself the chance to see what you need to change to live more simply.

Day 26 - Take some time to be offline: A day a week, a few weeks a year. Give yourself some time away from the internet. 

Day 25 - Do Yoga: Mental stress is associated with physical tension. Yoga is a way for us to focus on our breath and stretch our muscles, leaving us with a sense of flow in our bodies and minds. 

Day 24 - Simplify your wardrobe: You don't need to own more clothes than all your friends to be fashionable. Buy clothes that you will wear regularly and mix easily and discard the excess. Ladies, if you don't believe me check out Project 333.

Day 23 - Say no to ads: If it's advertised, you don't need it. 

Day 22 - Establish Routines: Routines can provide us with a focused time to commit to specific actions. With that said, what are the things you value most? Schedule your day to focus on investing time into these areas. It's amazing the difference just 15 minutes a day can make. 

Day 21 - Downsize: It's incredible how much more room we have when we're careful with the things we bring into our home. When you own less, you don't need as much space. Save yourself some cash and get a smaller place. 

Day 20 - Declutter before organising: Organisation doesn't have to mean neatly packing away everything you own. The best way to organise your stuff is to get rid of most of it. 

Day 19 -  Check emails once daily: Many of us love the feeling of being busy but set an allocated amount of time each day for checking personal emails to keep a clear mind. 

Day 18 - Read 'Simplify Your Life' by Elaine St James. Trust me. Do it. 

Day 17 - Clear your desk: Our physical space is symbolic of our mental space. Do you really need the 25 pens, 12 highlighters, and two staplers? Clear your desk of the nonessentials. Think about what you use, and discard the rest. 

Day 16 - Take an annual retreat: Create time during the year to leave your day-to-day commitments behind and take a trip. It doesn't have to be expensive. Camping, a cheap cabin, or an organised retreat can all leave you feeling refreshed. 

Day 15 - Do nothing: Our 'busyness' can be a form of laziness since it keeps us from focusing on what's most important. Sit still from time to time, not to read or meditate or paint or draw. Just to be. It's amazing how much joy we can find in the quiet moments when we give ourselves the opportunity to do so. 

Day 14 - Have a place for everything: Have you ever been about to leave your house only to realise you can't find your keys, your wallet, and your phone? Have one place for everything, and save yourself the stress of trying to remember the last place you left it. 

Day 13 - Eat natural food: Don't overcomplicate it. Look for foods as close to their natural state as possible. Here's two helpful tips...Don't eat things with ingredients you can't pronounce and If it's in a packet, you probably don't need it. There's nothing that has such an immediately positive impact on your body as eating good, healthy food. Give it a go.

Day 12 - Eat slowly: If you're anything like me, you may see eating as a distraction from the wonderful world of productivity. Buddhist leader Tich Nhat Hanh's guidebook How to Eat (Mindful Essentials) is packed with some great tips on how to slow down and find enjoyment in every meal. 

Day 11 - Stop multitasking: Focus on one task at a time. Regardless how talented you are at taking on multiple tasks, you'll perform better when you focus on the one at hand.

Day 10 - Don't tolerate debt: Stop spending more than you earn. Pay cash, and enjoy the freedom that comes from being debt-free.

Day 9 - Spend time alone: Do you notice how hard it is to be by yourself without distractions? I personally feel the most anxious in these moments. - Sometimes I think anxiety is good. It can teach us things about ourselves if we listen to it. But honestly, rather than listen to my own anxiety, I usually find it easier distract myself with my phone, computer, music, books etc. Let's be honest though...most of us do. - Our culture doesn't like anxiety. That's one reason we just keep busy. It stops us having to acknowledge it. It's hard to pause and listen to what's going on inside. But ignoring something doesn't make it go away. -Solitude can be uncomfortable. Confronting...but it's beneficial. Take some time to yourself. A few minutes. An hour. A day. Listen. What do you hear?

Day 8 - Meditate: If you're anything like me, you'll understand how difficult it can be to calm your racing mind. Learning to meditate is an incredible tool that teaches us to separate ourselves from our thoughts and not let our emotions dictate our decisions. It's a real stress killer. If you're not sure where to start or whether you'll enjoy it, try the free ten day trial on headspace.

Day 7 - Discover enough: What is it you’re working towards? At what point will you be content with what you’ve built, earned and bought? “More” is not an answer. Let’s figure out what we’re trying to achieve, so we don’t continue to mindlessly accumulate in the hope that the next thing is where we’ll find joy that lasts. 

Day 6 - Limit media: Rather than turning on the TV or computer as soon as you get home, write down what you're looking forward to watching or searching and allocate time do it. A simple hack to stop us going down the rabbit hole of mindless channel and website surfing. 

Day 5 - Take a rest day: Though it can be hard for our ego to accept, the world doesn't fall apart when we take a day off. In fact, taking a day away from our regular routine provides our mind and body the chance to recover from the previous six days of work. It's a big change for many of us living within a 'more is better society'. Like all new habits, it can be hard to adapt to, but you get used to it, you'll be grateful you implemented it. Monday morning isn't as difficult when you took some time to rest on Sunday. 

Day 4 - Minimise: The average American household contains 300,000 items. It's no wonder we find coming up with systems to organise all we own difficult. I used to beat myself up because I couldn't seem to organise everything I owned. That was until I learnt that the best way to organise my stuff was to get rid of most of it. Sell it. Bin it. Donate it. Create space in your life for the things you really find value in.

Day 3 - Switch off notifications: In a world now inundated with the most amazing technology, it doesn't take much for our attention to be constantly consumed by the information and entertainment we have access to. In fact, we can even adjust the settings on our devices to notify us each time there is an update. Have you ever almost been asleep and received an email, Facebook, or Instagram alert that snapped you out of that state? Switch these notifications off. Instead, schedule a time in your day where you look at what you're interested in, and enjoy the distraction free rest of your day. It's amazing all the free time we have when we put our phones away. 

Day 2 - Get rid of unnecessary costs: In a culture obsessed with constant upgrades, cheap fashion and endless subscriptions, it doesn’t take long for the money we earn to leave us almost as soon as it comes in. We fool ourselves into believing we just need to earn more money to support our spending habits. The truth is that so much of the money we earn, we spend on things we don’t really need. So, what are you currently paying for that you don’t really need?
Do you really need the latest iPhone or does your current one work fine? Do you really need amazon prime as well as Netflix? Do you really need to earn more money or just need to stop buying so much shit?

Day 1 - Clarify Your Top 6: For many of us, our busyness has become a form of laziness that has stopped us focusing on the things we value most. We become overwhelmed with the 'urgent' tasks because we lack clarity on what we really value and where we could invest our energy most effectively. A great way to figure out what we value most is to think about how we'd like to be remembered by those we love. What would you like them to say about you in your eulogy? We quickly realise that "he just loved the office" doesn't sound so inspiring. This tip allowed me to see that I wanted to spend my days investing into my faith, relationships, health, communication, contribution and adventure. What about you? What are your top six?