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.