Two things are required to simplify life. The first is eliminating the non-essentials and the second is adding the essentials.
It took me some time, but now I can say that I have become fairly successful in how I have simplified my life.
But of course, life wasn’t always this simple for me as well. There was a time when my life was messy and complicated.
There were too many people, too many things that I had let into the house of my life.
The height of this time was when I dropped out of college in my 2nd year of studying Economics honors from one of the reputed colleges of Kolkata, India.
It was a great blow for me and for my parents. Everyone was talking about my failure. I felt miserable. But then something came upon me and I wanted to take charge of my life again.
I decided to take the ample time I had with me as an opportunity for self-reflection and self-improvement. This change in perception was liberating.
Honestly, It was the first time I set an intention to make my future well and make my parents proud of me henceforth.
Fast forward till now and even though there were many periods of going off track and on track, I can say now that my life is pretty simple.
Now I wake up early. I follow a wonderful morning routine which helps me start my day on a positive note.
My day is spent in things that are meaningful to me. I have a loving relationship and I do things that simplify my life.
I was also able to complete my graduation in another subject (Sociology) and top it. At University I became a gold medalist holder.
I was able to pass a national exam (NET) in one go and within just 1 year after finishing my University, I became an Assistant Professor, the career that I had been aiming for.
And now, as a way to pursue my passion for writing and being of help to others, I started this blog.
This was my first blog ever post 27 years of my life so far where I have written down all the small positive changes I made till then.
How I simplified my life in 20 ways
I don’t think any of this would have been possible had I not started to bring focus to what is really essential for me. But I did not simplify my life intentionally.
Simplicity returned to my life naturally as I slowly eliminated all the non-essentials and started adding or focusing on what is truly essential for me.
Of course, simplifying our life does take time and patience. But now when I compare my life now and of 10 years ago or even 5 years ago, I can really see a vast difference in myself and my life.
I have come to see our life as a house. In order to keep our house of life beautiful, we have to be careful about what we are adding, and also eliminate all the non-essentials from our house, or else it will get filled with clutter.
Here I mention the 20 ways I have simplified my life divided into two categories-
- Eliminating the unessentials
- Adding/keeping the essential
Eliminating the unessentials
I used to be a party-goer but as I slowly started working on myself, on what is really essential for me, I felt less and less the urge to go to parties. I felt it just wasn’t necessary.
There was really nothing to gain from partying other than just being a temporary escape and meeting all kinds of people who added little to no value and meaning to our life.
Now I’d rather give myself much more long-lasting pleasures such as reading a book, writing my journal, spending one-to-one conversations with my loved ones, just going for walks, or writing for my blog.
This truly satisfies me and I would never go the other way now.
Quit the Bad Habit of Waking up late and Sleeping late:
Quitting this bad habit is by far the best thing I did for myself in order to simplify my life. This bad habit is the greatest hindrance to our progress.
Quitting it and becoming a morning person has been life-changing for me. It is because I quit this bad habit that I could cultivate all other good habits that have further simplified my life.
Cut down time on social media:
I used to be a person who was glued to my phone all the time. Limiting social media consumption has greatly simplified my life.
My headspace is clear and I can focus on things that are actually essential.
I no longer constantly think about what I must post or have the urge to constantly check who viewed my story.
It’s not that I don’t use Instagram or Facebook, but now I am a conscious social media user. My life does not happen inside it.
I do social media detox every now and then. I log out of Instagram/ Facebook after using it.
If I feel that I might check it again, I uninstall the app. I try to use it only once a day and sometimes I use it just once or twice a week.
Sometimes I totally forget to use social media!
I had Once come across an app that let you know who unfollowed you. When I came to know who unfollowed me it would give me a bad feeling and my mind would dwell on that certain someone (Especially if I knew that person).
I realized this was unnecessary. I was unnecessarily making myself feel bad about that person and also myself.
Why is there even a need to know? All these little things take up unnecessary space in our minds and add clutter to our life.
If you think you need to cut down time on social media and simplify your digital life, here are 7 practices for a healthy relationship with social media
Quit following unnecessary people on social media
This needs no further explanation.
Quit wasting money
I am so glad that I have changed my relationship with money. There was a time when I felt like I ‘had to’ buy that dress (that I would wear only one time) even though I didn’t have any money.
I would use up the money actually needed to pay for other things like rent! I used to buy things even though in my heart, I knew I didn’t need them. (All from the money I didn’t earn. )
I don’t know if it is because I have started earning myself, but I can’t imagine doing such things now. Now I don’t worry about money and some of the reasons are because:
- I don’t borrow money
- Me and my mum have cleared all debts,
- I don’t have a credit card till now though I am planning to get one after knowing how to use it carefully
- My savings are automatically deducted from bank
- I pay for my recurring expenses first and foremost every month
- Even in the remaining amount I keep enough for savings first, 10% for investment purpose and then I spend on other things
- I try not to pay in instalments if I can pay it in one go or if I can save the amount for few months.
- Have started to track all my expenses so I know exactly where my money goes.
- I make sure that whatever I spend my money on is properly utilized.
- I don’t feel guilty spending on things that are essential for me.
- Lastly, I don’t forget to thank my money every time it enables me to buy something I need (something I started practicing after reading the book, ‘Magic’)
Uninstalled shopping apps
There was a time when I had too many shopping apps from Flipkart, Myntra, SHEIN to Club Factory, and all such shopping apps.
Uninstalling these apps has stopped me from buying clothes that I didn’t need. I thought I would miss it, but I really did not.
This has saved me not only my money and but also my time.
Also, I decided to stop buying clothes online because of the amount of plastic that comes in with every single piece of cloth!!
The only shopping app I have now is Amazon, which I think is necessary to keep. And these days my mum uses plastic packaging for planting.
Quit from too many WhatsApp groups:
We don’t need most of the information that comes from being part of so many groups. We just end up spending time in gossip and unnecessary talks.
It fills our mind with new information taking up space in our mind for a long time.
We might not realize but it is also these minutest things that add clutter in our life and which distracts us from gaining focus on what is truly essential.
Before quitting such groups, I did feel if I would ‘miss out’ on things, but again I really did not.
In fact, what I came to know is that if something is really important and of value, those who really want to share and be in touch with you, will message you personally.
It is much deeper. Also, we can always talk with the members of the group personally.
Unsubscribing and clearing emails
I unsubscribe from unnecessary emails and clear it out from time to time. I no longer let it stack up. When I do these little things, it greatly clears my head too and I feel light.
Quit forcing friendships and unhealthy relationships:
I love naturally flowing friendships, relationships, and everything. If I don’t get along with anyone, I don’t question my intuition anymore.
I stopped forcing friendships and this has greatly simplified my life.
The quality of our life also depends on the people who fill the house of our life. An unhealthy relationship degrades the quality of our life. It unnecessarily complicates life.
There was a time when I was in an unhealthy relationship. All my time and effort would get exhausted from stress and worry. Yet quitting it had been the hardest thing for me.
But had I not quit it, I wouldn’t have moved any further and simplify my life.
Most of all I would have missed out on what love truly feels like- free, loving, and satisfying! Now I know that Love simplifies life.
If it doesn’t, it is just a clutter that has to be eliminated. Don’t ever let love handicap you.
I am still working on quitting this one. When I don’t multitask, I am able to focus more and do a task more fully.
Even though it might sound simple, it is indeed a hard task not to multitask.
We have been multitasking almost the entire day so it almost always slips from the mind.
For example using your phone casually while eating, responding to emails/ chats while walking, using your phone while talking to someone, reading something, and opening up a notification that pops up and you forget that you were actually reading.
I know quitting this habit fully can greatly simplify my life as I bring focus to doing that one thing first in front of me before I move on to the next.
Adding the Essentials
Just eliminating the non-essentials won’t do. We need to fill it with new habits and things that simplify life. Here are just some of the essentials I added to my life which has greatly simplified my life
Cultivated the Habit of waking up early and sleeping early:
Ever since I started waking up early and sleeping early, my life has become and felt so simple. This habit is THE most important habit that simplified my life.
Becoming a morning person has enabled me to firmly devote ‘me-time for my growth and development which I would have never been able to have I stayed in my bed till late in the morning.
Waking up early makes my foundation and adds structure to my day, which has greatly simplified my life.
Created a morning routine:
I no longer start my day without having set an intention. I fill the extra time that I get by waking up early by creating a morning routine that consists of my morning rituals.
This is my morning routine before 8 am. It has now become a habit and my morning routine is what adds simplicity to my day and makes my day go smoothly.
Cultivated the journaling habit
Journaling has helped me become my own best friend. I write to know more about my own feelings and thoughts. When I am feeling down and I write, I console myself.
The times when I am feeling happy and I write, deep gratitude comes rushing from my heart. When I am feeling unsettled and I write, I encourage myself.
By journaling, I am able to meet my true self. It has simplified my life as it reveals to me the answers that I have in my heart.
If you’d like to know more, here is how journaling changed my life.
If you want to start journaling too, here is a guide to journaling for 21 days with 21 journal Prompts.
We cannot simplify our life as long as there is too much mental noise. The simplicity manifested outside is a result of simplicity cultivated inside.
Meditation and prayer settles my heart and mind. Meditation and prayer is the first thing I do every morning.
I simply notice my breath, I give thankfulness for all the various things my heart feels and I imagine and pray for my dreams and hopes.
I feel my heart expanding and being in touch with myself, with my dreams, and with the Universe. Opening up my morning this way, my day is spent with intention and simplicity.
Cleaning/ organizing my room everyday
My morning routine also consists of cleaning and tidying my room every day. I have come to know that our surrounding really affects us.
Also how we keep our surrounding is also a reflection of our own state of mind.
When my room is messy and untidy, even my mind feels messed up and burdened. I cannot do things properly. I won’t have the enthusiasm.
But when I organize and make my room clean and tidy, I love staying in it and my mind feels so light!
Making bed straight away
I don’t underestimate the power of these little habits in simplifying my life. I love seeing my bed neat and tidy right after I wake up.
Learning to say ‘No’:
We complicate our life when we say ‘yes’ to everything. There were so many times when I said ‘yes’ from my lips and ‘no’ from my heart. But learning to say ‘no’ has been freeing.
Saying ‘no’ sets boundaries to the things I shouldn’t be doing and has strengthened my self-discipline.
It has also enabled me to be true to myself as my heart and the words that come from my mouth are in harmony. This greatly simplifies my life. Read more
Organising my phone/ laptop:
This simple habit has also simplified my life.
My friends know how I have separate folders on my phone and laptop for everything- for example- in my gallery, I have folders like ‘Kaizen’ (which is my folder for all the quotes that I love’, ‘Veezee’ (where I have photos of me and my boyfriend), ‘dear ones’(where I have photos of my ‘dear ones’ lol) and etc etc.
The same is with my laptop and IPad where I have separate folders for my images, files for my college, for my blog and, study materials for my students.
This helps me know exactly where my stuffs are and I don’t have to search for it everywhere. I try to create time to do this every now and then. Keeping my phone/iPad/laptop decluttered greatly simplifies my life.
Having breakfast, lunch, dinner on time
Having breakfast at 9 am, lunch at 1 pm and dinner at 7 pm has also greatly simplified my life. I eat home-cooked food and I am thankful to my mother for this.
There are many people whom I know who never have a fixed time for their food and they have it too late. This is especially true in the cities.
Started being more grateful:
Lastly, by being conscious of what I let out from my mouth I have broken the habit of complaining.
Yes, complaining is a habit and in the same way, gratitude can also be cultivated.
Being grateful everyday, by being grateful for numerous moments throughout the day, my life feels so simple, easy, and meaningful.
Thus these are some ways I have simplified my life.
I would love to know how you have simplified your life too or what are the things you want to eliminate from the house of your life?
How does it feel or would it feel to remove the extra baggage and keep only the essentials?
Simplicity is worth it! 50 more simple ways to simplify life
If you loved this post, you might also like reading:
- Don’t seek happiness if you want to be happy (seek these instead)
- The spirit of experimenting with life
- A new Ritual ~ Not Rushing with my Body
- what happens when you embrace slow growth
- Why you should be okay with wasting your time
- How to embrace the joy of not knowing