Can’t Keep Up? 11 Ways to Instantly Simplify Your Life

You Simplify Life The Slower You Go

One of the most commonly used words in the Japanese language is isogashii. It translates to busy. Not hello. Not thank you. Not even love. But busy. And we are no different. When was the last time you said you were busy? Yesterday? An hour ago? Just now? :)

Can you keep up with everything you want to do or are you constantly – and literally – running (I have taken to running in my house on occasion so it’s not that crazy … or is it?) from this to that?

This is insanity, you know. Let’s see how we can simplify life for a change. Shall we?


I don’t have all the answers and that’s okay. We are all beautiful works in progress, but  I am on a mission to simplify life so I can keep up.

This madness from morning till night can’t be how we were meant to live, not even for the successful and ambitious ones among us. This rushing from one thing to another without stopping a minute to catch our breath, this is not something we can sustain for long without risking our health or sanity.

And I know what it’s like to drive myself sick from doing too much and then wasting time recovering and getting back into it again. The irony here strikes with a big force. Ouch.

Ah time. Where does our time go? Where do the week and months and years disappear? Not only does it disappear, I swear it goes faster the older we get.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Time goes by fast, except when I slow down and meditate and then it slows down. And yes the irony strikes yet again.

The slower we go, the more time we have.

A useful fact: Time has never slowed down or sped up. We do. We are the fluid element in this equation, and we are the answer to the problem. If we want more time, we need to only look at ourselves and the way we live.

So how do we find the time to do everything we want, nothing more, and nothing less?

Yes. It’s possible. In fact, you have proved it. I bet somewhere and sometime in your life, you have been able to do this. You have once lived day or week or longer being happy with the pace of your life, and the divide between work and pleasure. I have too. Let us find it again.

Simplify Life by Keeping Up with Less, not More

They were right: Less is more.

Less is enough. Less is also going to make you better at what you do. And less is going to make you happy, not stressed. Less will make you satisfied, not constantly chasing for more.

So here goes the 11 quick ways to simplify your life now.

1. IDENTIFY the top 5 things that take up most of your time. Drop one of them cold turkey. We have obligations, we have responsibilities but we also have free will and the power of choice. Are you absolutely certain that you must do all the 5 things that take up majority of your time? Can you keep 4 but let one go?

2. SAY no to anything that you are not crazy about doing. Crazy about joining that volunteer effort for your kids’ friends? Do it. If not, it does not make you a bad parent to say no. Super excited about going to that wedding? Great. Otherwise, decline and send a gift. Saying no is the most liberating path to a simpler life.

3. DO the important stuff first. You know what’s important and what’s just “busy work”. Identify the important and do that first. We always want to do it last because it takes time and energy, but resist the temptation. Do the important stuff before the quick and easy stuff.

4. ASK for help and stop being a hero. What is with doing everything on our own? There is no medal for it, there is no reward for it. Hire someone. Source it out to a third party. Get some help. Delegate. Assign it and trust that it will get done.

5. STOP driving around all over town. Driving wastes so much time. Run all your necessary errands at a designated time. Do all your shopping online. Order tickets online. Buy groceries once or twice a week. Think before you drive. Is it really necessary?

6. PUT a cap on your media consumption. Not only does the media bring you down, it complicates life. Simplify by getting a reader’s digest of the news, and shut your television, turn off the radio, and close the browser. Disconnect unless something urgent and important.

7. BE selective with your social life. Same rule applies. Are you crazy about the person you are meeting for coffee? Are you quite certain this friend’s shower is worth your time and energy? Are you sure you want to host another dinner party? No you are not obligated and yes you can still have friends, no matter what you say yes or no to.

8. MEDITATE for 20 minutes a day. Yes, meditate. Sit still. Do nothing. Say nothing. Think nothing (if possible). Simple be. Meditation does not take time. It gives time. I’ve had more time every single day of my life when I have meditated and less when I have rushed through. These are my favorite meditation tracks. Or use your own.

9. GET more sleep. I have fought mother nature all my life, even as a child, because sleep, I am convinced, is stealing away time and life, and I want badly to live every waking moment. But alas, Mother Nature has won and I accept defeat! Get enough sleep or you pay for it by tons of unnecessary re-work!

10. EAT simpler, better and more whole foods. Not only does your body love you for it, it is quicker to prepare whole foods, it heals you and restores your health and gives you longevity and vitality, and it simplifies your life. If you want to go all out, start juicing!

11. ALLOW yourself to adapt to this process. You will feel resistant, and even resentful as you simplify initially but it gets easier, and it will pay off in unexpected ways. You will do more of what you love and less of what you were doing just because.

So stop judging yourself and start simplifying your life. I’m right beside you. Let’s go.

Get Confident in 21 Easy Steps

  • Nneka, Working Mystic

    Hi Farnoosh:-) Ask for help. Got it!

    Meditation stretches time like nothing else. I have laser focus when I’m done so I’m MUCH more productive. Also, a few years ago I gave up TV and recouped 40 hours a week. My parents decided that no one should live without TV, so now I’m up to about 6 hours of Netflix. Still, not too shabby. A girl has to have some fun:-)

    • Farnoosh

      You meditate too? Love love to hear it, Nneka. And there’s nothing wrong with a little decompression and especially a good movie. You’ve got my vote, sister! Enjoy it.

      • Nneka, Working Mystic

        Of course! My dad taught me when I was 8. I cut my practice down to 15 minutes a day, but it’s a must. Meditate, exercise, write. That’s the morning routine. Anything else in the day is gravy.

        • Farnoosh

          Such a smart and thoughtful Dad! :)

        • Melly Deen

          Sweet of you to share that about your dad, Nneka. I love it! What a smart Dad indeed.

  • Ntathu Allen

    Yep..less is more—am rebuilding from a recent health scare which was a huge wake-up yep…learnign to let go of busyness, breathe more and do less thinking and doing and more be–ing. . Easier said than done, yet body can only take so much before it cries out and breaks down. Keep spreading the “rest and relax…and still be successful message” (whatever success means to you) . Hugs

    • Farnoosh

      I hope you are doing much better now, Ntathu!! Those are terrible wake up calls indeed! Self-care above all. Take good care my friend, glad you are doing better now….

  • Pooja

    Of course! You are right.
    We Indian believe in meditation with proper breathing and simple life till thousands year. Nice article!!

    • Farnoosh

      Meditation and breathing is a wonderful tradition that has happily caught on in the rest of the world too, Pooja. Thank you!

  • Sandra Pawula

    I’m with you on the less is more trail, Farnoosh! #3 – do the important stuff first – is crucial for me as I can easily get lost in distraction. I’ve gone back to making weekends downtime and that’s making a huge difference in my life. This morning I was simply sitting on the deck listening to the wind. I would like to appreciate and align with nature more in this way. I believe there’s a wisdom to be found there. Thanks for the encouragement to simplify and for the link love too!

    • Farnoosh

      Ah the relaxation, Sandra. That sounds wonderful, especially where you live ;)! There is all the wisdom in the world in Mother Nature and not in our computers…. I am going to heed your words (and more of my own ;)) and work less on weekends. I hope you are doing great! Thanks so much for stopping by.

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  • Priya

    Your words are such a timely reminder for me Farnoosh. Just when I am revisiting my priorities and thinking of a complete overhaul of my day so I can be present, every day, for myself and my family and not always be in a rush to get things done for the sake of it and move on to the next activity, place… whatever. Like you said, it isn’t easy. Thanks for the encouragement, as always.

    • Farnoosh

      Priya, it’s so nice to see you here. Beautifully said, my dear. And no it’s not easy but not doing it makes life so much more complicated, this way it’s better. :)

  • Hooman

    I’m crazy about simplifying. I like to simplify my life with minimalism principles. But it’s not as easy as its word!
    Minimalism has changed my mind to think more pure and to drop out waste thoughts (focus on useful thoughts).
    We don’t have time cause we don’t have plan to use it properly; and then “Time” will plan for our days. it’s so frustrating… your list is good to have simple and planned life. Increasing the knowledge of self and talents will help us for better decisions (#2 and 3).
    Thanks for good remembrance. :)

    • Farnoosh

      Hooman, good thing to be crazy about – that’s for sure. Do you read my friend Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist blog? I love his stuff and even guest posted for him not too long ago. I bet you know about it. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  • Nienke

    Love this post! I stumbled upon it via Joshua Becker’s newsletter, and think the compact points are great.
    Being mom to three little kids, I like that these common sense ideas are not impossible, though meditating will be a tough one, as soon as they are all asleep I usually follow within half an hour… But I’ll definately give your points a go, thanx!

    • Farnoosh

      Nienke, Joshua Becker has an amazing message. I am so glad you are reading him. I can’t imagine how busy you must be and I hope that you can take away the ideas BUT apply them into your world, as it fits your life and your schedule. It will work even if you start with 5 minutes. Wishing you much simplicity and peace….. Thanks for sharing your insights.

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  • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot

    Hi Farnoosh, it really is about making the decision to slow down. We (ME!) do get addicted to business. I am a bit hyper and love rushing round but I’m also loving slowing down too and I have less bruises from bumping into bits of furniture now too :)

    I love that zen saying. I am winning on 5, 6 and 8. No. 1 needs to be done – will work on that!

    • Farnoosh

      Annabel, lovely to see your bright colors and smile here….. I am ALL about business so this post is really talking to me first :)! Slowing down is so nice too though …. and boy am I glad I’m not the only clumsy one around 😉
      Seriously, we need to slow down more often. Let’s strive for it, my friend.

  • Namrata

    I enjoyed reading all the above comments.I am also into meditation and it has helped me in a big way.I am happier ,peaceful and a contended a total contrast to what I used to be hyper,depressed and angry.

    • Farnoosh

      Namrata, hello. Meditation is a wonderful thing to add to your life. You are seeing the beautiful results already. So glad to see you here. Thanks for sharing your insights.

  • Aline

    I struggle with the “have tos”.. Actually, there’s a screaming “have to” with most things I do and every time I think of one of these things, I feel this repulsion, even if hey are basic and fundamental (good) things.. All has turned into burdens.. Maybe I’m depressive.. I try to be thankful and focus on the goods and, so, fix my thinking process..

    • Farnoosh

      Hi Alice, oh dear. Have you tried being more loving towards yourself and still go about your to-do list but do it without self-criticism and more with just kindness and love toward yourself. Treat yourself as if you were a vulnerable 5 year old kid but also very smart and capable…. be gentle. And get on the confidence email list I send out very helpful tips that could help you.

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