Does the world sometimes feel like a crushing place with all the projects, engagements, and items on your “To Do” list? Do you crave stillness and silence and a way out of the stress that comes with too much? If so, it’s time to quiet your mind and reassess what you have going on lest you succumb to its forces. You need to simplify.
Simplifying takes conscious effort, but small steps can get you there. And once you commit to living simply, it can become a way of life that focuses on fulfillment as opposed to overwhelm. Here are five ideas, adapted from zenhabits.net, that you can implement today as you embark on your path to peace:
Purge — Clear your email inbox, clear your desk, or clean out a drawer. (Do this over the course of three days, tackling one area each day.) By eliminating clutter and making space in your electronic “desk,” your physical desk, and your desk drawer, your mind will instantly feel more clear. The key is to make quick decisions about all of the things you need to deal with in each area. Leaving it for another day is not an option. Go methodically through piles and file it right away, route it elsewhere, trash it, or add it to your To Do list. Have you ever had a clean inbox? It’s something to behold! You’ll be breathing a lot easier once you accomplish this feat, which is the perfect way to make a long weekend productive. Keeping up via daily maintenance will prevent your workspaces from bulging.
Shorten Your List — Do you have more than 10 items on your To Do list? If so, it’s too many. Reevaluate and prioritize the list and either cross off or delegate those things that are least important to you. Get in the habit of doing this regularly.
Quit Something — Think about all of your commitments. Then think about those that you love and could not live without and think about the ones that drain your energy. Pluck one commitment from the time-sucking side and let it go. Send a polite message to the organizer and merely explain that you no longer have the time to give. He or she will understand and you can dedicate that time to that which makes you light up.
Forget Multi-Tasking — Instead, try single-tasking on for size! Do one thing, and do it well before you move on to your next task. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you become and how good being focused feels. In the end, you’ll get more done without the scattered side effects that often accompany multi-tasking.
Limit Yourself — This goes hand-in-hand with single-tasking, as it involves setting specific times to do the things that can eat up endless time during the day, such as checking and responding to email, reading blogs and RSS feeds, attending to social media. When you have a set schedule and time allotment for these activities, you’ll find that it cuts down on the noise of the day.
In addition to these very practical steps, try carving out some time each morning to focus exclusively on your breath. Even five minutes of deep breathing will center you and set you up for a clear-headed and peaceful day.