Over the past few years, I’ve been taking massive steps to simplify and make life easier – and this morning, as I scribbled a gratitude list in my journal, I realised just how far I’ve come.
I won’t say I’ve got a lot on my plate as I try only to commit to doing things that bring me joy, happiness, contentment and what matters the most to me – life runs pretty smoothly now. It’s like I’ve sanded down most of the rough edges and now I can flow through my days without too much resistance.
Of course, this isn’t to say that my life is perfect or that it’s always easy (I still deal with lots of big things like running my business, studying, homemaking and more) but a lot of the everyday stuff is definitely way easier than it was before.
Looking back, there are definitely some specific things that have helped me so I thought I’d sum them up for you in a blog post. As you read through this list of simple living tips, I encourage you to think creatively about how you can apply these ideas to your own life. I hope you find something to inspire you! PLEASE REMEMBER: What works for me might not be appropriate in your life but I think most of the broader principles are universal tips to make life easier.
Create boundaries + write your own rules
I’m probably not the first person to tell you that it’s important to create boundaries. We all need to know our limits and ask others to respect them – but did you know that it’s also important to set boundaries with yourself?
If not, then you are missing out on a simple yet powerful way of making your life easier!
Setting personal boundaries involves writing your own life rules. You can decide ahead of time what you will or will not do.
There are a ton of systems out there: everything from meal planning and prepping, to meal delivery services. I plan our meals for the coming week on a Sunday where I shop my pantry first and then write down a list of groceries I need to buy – which I do a couple of times a week as we’ve got an under-counter fridge and freezer.
Take time to slow down – practice the ‘Pause’
One quick and easy tip that has made my life SO much easier is learning to press pause. It helps me to slow down and make better decisions. By pausing, I make intentional choices aligned with my values and priorities, instead of impulsive decisions. I also press pause when I need to slow down a busy day.
Find a Home for everything
I know you’ve probably heard this before but it’s true: life is so much easier when there’s a specific place for everything you own. It saves you time and perhaps more importantly, mental energy!
What can you repeat?
For some reason, I think we overestimate how much variety we need in life, to our own detriment. We’re constantly looking for new recipes, new outfit ideas, and so much more – but why make things so difficult? Instead of constantly reinventing the wheel, why not make things easier by looking for things you can repeat regularly:
- Have regular theme nights for dinner, such as having homemade Pizzas every Friday
- Setting up an auto-responder for your emails
- Have a simple schedule: I do a mid-week reset on Wednesdays, then a weekly reset on Fridays and plan & preparing for the coming week on Sundays
- Dress with a capsule wardrobe and wear the same outfits on repeat
Declutter Your Home
Now, this is something I do regularly – at least monthly (I’ve spent the last couple of years de-cluttering excessive materialistic stuff that I’ve now reached a point where I don’t have much to de-clutter as I am VERY mindful of what I bring in to my home and life).
The truth is; when you have less stuff in your home, there is less for you to clean and care for – this frees up time, energy and even money to focus on what truly matters.
Question your ‘Why’
Create the habit of regularly asking yourself: “Why am I doing this?” and if you don’t have a good answer to the question … then maybe you need to reconsider what you’re doing! I’ve learned that there are a lot of things that we do every day, either out of habit or because it’s what we think we “should” be doing, that add absolutely no value to our lives. Asking this simple question helps us to wake up to the purpose of our actions (or the lack thereof), which in turn helps us to clearly see what we need to let go of.
Create Morning & Evening Routines
I was always very sceptical about creating routines (I thought they were too restrictive) until I decided to give them a go and it literally changed my life! Now I have a Morning Routine, Work Routine and Evening Routine. This has made life SO MUCH easier because I don’t have to think about what needs to be done. Instead, I can just relax and enjoy the moment.
Transform difficult tasks
No matter how much you simplify your life, there will still be times when you have to do things that you don’t want to do. Having said that, you can make life easier by looking for ways to transform difficult tasks into something more joyful.
Be creative – dance while you’re washing dishes or put on a face mask while you’re cleaning the bathroom. After all, if you’re going to do something difficult anyway, you may as well do everything you can to make it a pleasant experience.
Set daily intentions
Every morning, try asking yourself “What do I need to have a good day today?” and then set your daily intentions. This is a powerful question for several reasons:
- First of all, it helps you identify the priorities on your to-do list. Instead of beating yourself up, and trying to get everything done, you can focus on what will really make a difference. This is key to having a productive day.
- Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, this question reminds you to think about your well-being.
Simplify your finances
This is something I’ve been focusing on for the last 12 months – and it has changed my life. Here are a few ways to simplify your finances:
Create a budget: I’m definitely not an expert on budgeting but I do know that the best budget is one you can stick to! Be realistic and create a plan that reflects your actual spending habits (not the ones you wish you had). Then with time, you can start making small changes to achieve your money goals.
I can proudly say that I don’t currently use a budgeting tool as I don’t need it anymore because my finances are very straightforward now.
Cut down your expenses: In the last 10 months, I cancelled both of our phone contracts and downgraded them to the pay-as-you-go option – from paying £27 a month, we now pay £5 a month (referral) per phone. I also renewed my broadband contract which decreased the monthly fee by £2.50 and ended my TV insurance as I honestly didn’t need it anymore.
Automate: With online banking, so much can be done automatically! I have set up systems so that I pay myself, and my bills and save money without having to think about it.
Use your money: Finally, don’t be afraid to use your money to make your life easier: take a class, invest in a Life Coach or whatever else YOU need.
Make peace with slow progress
Finally, a simple way to make life easier is to make peace with slow progress. Stop being so hard on yourself, let go of unrealistic expectations, and learn to enjoy the journey. This is something I have struggled with for years, but the more I practice slow living, the more I appreciate slow growth and slow progress.