Ready to get lean? To minimize the stuff that keeps you stuck? To return to the clarity, peace and freedom you were born with?
Step 7: Simplify
To simplify is to remove the clutter that complicates and stains our lives. When we simplify our lives, and chip away at clutter, we return to peace.
Simplicity is when life comes into balance and things relate more harmoniously. Life is easy. The minute we shift our thoughts to believe that, life rises to meet our faith. We start to see life get more manageable and we get more flexible—everything gets less chaotic.
Simplifying amounts to simple living. It leads to a clean home of warmth and love. A clean porch welcoming guests. A clean office with efficient systems. A clean fridge with fresh foods.
How It Clears Clutter
Simplifying is decluttering.
Our cluttered minds have us thinking we need things outside of us for contentment. We don’t need to chase outside for what we have inside, for what God has given us, and what remains when we leave this earth and return to our formless selves.
When we choose simplicity over material sustenance, that stuff doesn’t bog us down or keep us stuck. In that knowing, we are decluttering. We’re not clinging, we’re appreciating.
We can make life simple again by not overtaxing ourselves with the drama, the unnecessary and the nonsense.
Simplifying is removing what we use to cover up our true selves. We hide behind stuff, personalities and costumes to divert the eyes. Or we speak unconsciously and banter nervously to divert the ears. We want to control the attention we get so we can control the reaction. This fear is how we complicate things for ourselves.
Simple living comes easy when we see no reason to cling, collect or hoard as if we’re not safe. Our safety cannot be threatened so we don’t need to build walls of defense.
Simplifying is trashing the facades, pretenses and fake identities we create in order to belong. When we understand there’s nothing we need to belong to, there’s no need to fit into what exists only to protect our insecurities. We are extensions of all that is—the universe, God. We already belong.
What This Feels Like
Simplicity feels like flow. It feels like spaciousness to move, shift and change—not just in your surroundings, but in your mind. It feels like choosing ease over effort.
Simplicity feels like the freedom to move around, to pick up and move to another country. It feels like the ease of throwing out the things that don’t serve you anymore. It’s effortlessly cleaning house, donating old toys, throwing out the stuff that doesn’t fit or is past its expiration date.
We may know the feeling of sentimental attachment, but it doesn’t paralyze us when we decide to get rid of what feels unnecessary.
Simplicity feels like going with the flow because we’re not resisting and hoarding things to give us the illusion of comfort or safety. It feels like being happy with what you have, not coming from a place of lack.
A Tool for Simplifying: Daily Calendar
A good tool to start simplifying our minds is a daily calendar—for its schedule and time blocks. There’s freedom in discipline, and disciplining your day toward priorities is important.
The calendar also helps us schedule days of cleaning. Spring cleaning, fall cleaning, etc., all these things can be done when they’re actually scheduled in. It’s typical that if we don’t write them down in our calendar, we won’t ever do them.
Our calendar reminds us that it’s good to evaluate our days based on our priorities. We want to look at our day’s agenda and feel peaceful knowing we chose what’s in there. We want to be mindful that there’s a time and a place for everything—in both mind and environment.
There’s an optimal time of day for everything as well. For example, I’m most creative in the mornings which means I’m writing and strategizing in the mornings. Then I move tasks that need little creativity to the afternoons, like checking email and reading articles. In the evenings, I find it easy to review the day’s completed tasks and plan the next day.
Find your creative time blocks (typically when you have the least distractions). Find your cleaning time (maybe when you can blast your favorite song as you dust and mop). Find your meditation time (ideally when you can be still and alone). Make these non-negotiable appointments with yourself.
Practice Simplifying Today
This week, focus on simplifying.
Start by simplifying your schedule, your day, your week, your year by consciously looking to eliminate and remove things that aren’t serving you or benefitting your peace of mind.
What’s on your plate? Evaluate if it should stay scheduled on your calendar with the following questions: Do I think “I have to” do this? Do I love doing this? Do I want to do more of this? If I delegated this to someone else would I feel peaceful?
Leave a comment below on your experience using your calendar to simplify your life. What does it feel like for you?
Excerpt taken from “The Declutter Code: 10 Simple Steps to Clarity.”