Monday, August 16

Simple Minded.

I am currently in the process of preparing to move to the other end of the country, where i have no family & only one little frolicking friend (really, she frolics) Everything about my life in Calgary HAS to stay temporary & easy, I'm noticing that my efforts to keep things that way are blowing up in my face. (I'll stop there because I started this blog with the specific intention that i wouldn't write about my irrational feelings, my love life, my family life, which one of my co-workers i hate most etc. ) Lately I've been nursing this obsession with cleanliness, order & more importantly simplicity. I have so much more control over my life than i think i do & things don't need to be as over-complicated as i make them. I found this great article about how to simplify things.

The Two Most Important Things to Remember on The Road to Simplicity
1. Identify what’s most important to you.
2. Eliminate everything else.
So the tough part would be to apply that, to the many areas of your life, hence - The Long List. 

Authors Disclaimer: "There can be no step-by-step guide to simplifying your life, but I’ve compiled an incomplete list of ideas that should help anyone trying to find the simple life. Not every tip will work for you — choose the ones that appeal and apply to your life."
1. Make a list of your top 4-5 important things. What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things." (Brittany's List of Priorities : My writing & my art, loving my family but not being right in the middle of everything that happens to them, stability & doing well school.) 
2. "Evaluate your commitments. Look at everything you’ve got going on in your life. Everything, from work to home, (...) to hobbies to side businesses to other projects. Think about which of these really gives you value, which ones you love doing. Which of these are in line with the 4-5 most important things you listed above? Drop those that aren’t in line with those things."
(Things Going On in Brittany's Life: Trying to build stronger relationships with my family before i leave for Montreal, trying to find an apartment, being a Retail Warrior at the Crab (making monies), tame the wild mess of the thousands & thousands of dollars worth of clothing accumulating on my floor, coping with the loss of life i gave up, supporting my shopping addiction, budgeting, general crafting, my two spring courses, being a good friend, a good girlfriend, a well read student, building my portfolio.... & this blog. 
Things for Brittany to Drop: Excessive spending on trivial things that don't fulfill me... like more harem pants... )
3. Evaluate your time. How do you spend your day? What things do you do, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, and evaluate whether they’re in line with your priorities. If not, eliminate the things that aren’t, and focus on what’s important. Redesign your day.
(Change: I really need to spend an entire day getting organized because it's perpetuating a feeling of unmotivated hopelessness. )
4Simplify work tasks. Our work day is made up of an endless list of work tasks. If you simply try to knock off all the tasks on your to-do list, you’ll never get everything done, and worse yet, you’ll never get the important stuff done. Focus on the essential tasks and eliminate the rest. Try condensing the list into the the three most important things.
5. Learn to say no. This is actually one of the key habits for those trying to simplify their lives. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much. " A few of Leo Balbauta's '8 Essential Strategies to Saying No' : Know your commitments, Value your time, be polite but firm &  never apologize.
6. Limit your communications. Our lives these days are filled with a vast flow of communications: email, text, cell phones,(..) Skype, Twitter, Facebook, BBM etc. It can take up your whole day if you let it. Instead, put a limit on your communications: only go one Facebook at certain times of the day. Limit phone calls to certain times too. Set a schedule and stick to it.
(I probably spend an innumerable amount of hours on facebook a week, it wouldn't kill me to limit myself to 30mins a day, i don't need to respond to every text, i can make "skype date's" with friends living in different provinces.)
8. Purge your stuff. If you can devote a weekend to purging the stuff you don’t want, it feels seriously terrific. Get boxes and trash bags for the stuff you want to donate or toss. Good tips: Be MERCILESS, make an "On-The-Fence" box, make quick decisions & celebrate your accomplishment!
9. Simplify your wardrobe. Is your closet bursting full? Yes. Are your drawers so stuffed they can’t close. Simplify your wardrobe by getting rid of anything you don’t actually wear. 
10. Simplify your computing life. If you have trouble with too many files and too much disorganization, consider online computing. It can simplify things greatly. (For those of you like myself who have folders and folders of everything from the millions of FFFFOUND finds to literary snippets, to old assignments there's still hope for you.) Declutter your digital packrattery. Do a major purge and then establish regular purging habits, remember "a place for everything", store things immediately into the categories you've set out for them .
11. Create a simplicity statement. What do you want your simple life to look like? Write it out. Need this concept explained?! Probably. (Brittany's Simplicity Statement: "My life is filled with beautiful things, each things with its own place." 
12. Limit your buying habits. If you can escape materialism, you can get into the habit of buying less. And that will mean less stuff, less spending, less freneticism. Good Tip: Use a30-day list - if there's something you want, put it on a list, and write down the date you added the item to the list. Now tell yourself you cannot buy that item for 30 days. When the 30 days have passed, if you still want it, then buy it. 
13. Free up time. Find ways to free up time for the important stuff. That means eliminating the stuff you don’t like, cutting back on time wasters, and making room for what you want to do.
14. Spend time alone. Alone time is good for you, although some people aren’t comfortable with it. It could take practice getting used to the quiet, and making room for your inner voice. This quiet is necessary for finding out what’s important to you.
15. Eat slowly. If you cram your food down your throat, you are not only missing out on the great taste of the food, you are not eating healthy. Slow down to lose weight, improve digestion, and enjoy life more. 
Be present
These two words can make a huge difference in simplifying your life. Living here and now, in the moment, keeps you aware of life, of what is going on around you and within you. Good tips: Be attentive, observe - you don't always have to engage, breathe , meditate - 30 minutes of just sitting in complete silence, examine your own thoughts. 
16. Establish routines. The key to keeping your life simple is to create simple routines. Establish routines for each separate area of your life - laundry, cooking, cleaning, budgeting, meditation, internet/ media use. 
17. Keep your email inbox empty. Delete things immediately after reading them, do regular purges. 
18. Live frugally. Living frugally means buying less, wanting less, and leaving less of a footprint on the earth. (Ways i HAVE achieved this... as of late: 

  • Eat Out Less: I've begun cooking instead of spending 20$-30$ every time i eat.
  • Packing a lunch
  • Stop Shopping  - Don't even go anywhere near clothing boutiques OR home decor
  • By books online for your Kindle, which cuts the price almost in half
  • WALK
  • Sell or Pawn things you don't wear/ have already read/ never use
  • Stay Home
  • DIY Projects! I've started making jewelry! )
19. Learn what “enough” is. Our materialistic society today is about getting more and more, with no end in sight. Sure, you can get the latest gadget, and more clothes and shoes. More stuff. But when will you have enough? Most people don’t know, and thus they keep buying more. It’s a neverending cycle. Get off the cycle by figuring out how much is enough. And then stop when you get there. 
20. Create a simple weekly dinner menu. Decide on a week’s worth of simple dinners, set a specific dinner for each night of the week, go grocery shopping for the ingredients. Now you know what’s for dinner each night, and you have all the ingredients necessary. 
21. Eat healthy. It might not be obvious how eating healthy relates to simplicity, but think about the opposite: if you eat fatty, greasy, salty, sugary, fried foods all the time, you are sure to have higher medical needs over the long term. We could be talking years from now, but imagine frequent doctor visits, going to the pharmacist, getting therapy, having surgery, taking insulin shots etc. Being unhealthy is complicated. Eating healthy simplifies all of that greatly, over the long term. 
22. Declutter before organizing. Many people make the mistake of taking a cluttered desk or filing cabinet or closet or drawer, and trying to organize it. Unfortunately, that’s not only hard to do, it keeps things complicated. Simplify the process by getting rid of as much of the junk as possible, and then organizing. 
23. Have a place for everything
24. Find inner simplicity. Spending a little time with your inner self creates a peaceful simplicity rather than a chaotic confusion. This could be time praying or communing with God, or time spent meditating or journaling or getting to know yourself, or time spent in nature. However you do it, working on your inner self is worth the time.
25. Learn to decompress from stress. Every life is filled with stress — no matter how much you simplify your life, you’ll still have stress (except in the case of the ultimate simplifier, death). Way's to decompress: Deep breathing, exercise, be outdoors, have sex, take a day off, meditate, read, turn your phone off, take a nap.
26. Find a creative outlet for self-expression.  We have a need for self-expression, and finding a way to do that makes your life much more fulfilling. 
27. Develop equanimity. If every little thing that happens to you sends you into anger or stress, your life might never be simple. Learn to detach yourself, and be more at peace. "This is not a hill to die on" - David's Dad.
28. Live life more deliberately. Do every task slowly, with ease, paying full attention to what you’re doing. 
29. Make a Most Important Tasks (MITs) list each day. Set just 3 very important things you want to accomplish each day. Don’t start with a long list of things you probably won’t get done by the end of the day. A simple list of 3 things, ones that would make you feel like you accomplished something. S
30. Create morning and evening routines. A great way to simplify your life is to create routines at the start and end of your day. 
31. Go for quality, not quantity. Try not to have a ton of stuff in your life … instead, have just a few possessions, but ones that you really love, and that will last for a long time.
32. Fill your day with simple pleasures. Make a list of your favorite simple pleasures, and sprinkle them throughout your day. (My Simple Pleasures: fresh fruit, calm music, long showers, coffee, a good book, an old movie, popcorn, yoga, napping, good wine, white chocolate, walking into a clean house, cooking, rock climbing, time spent with friends, walking my dog & swimming)
33. Carry less stuff. Do you really need 4 types of lip gloss in your purse? Or more than one book at a time?
 Always ask: Will this simplify my life? 
If the answer is no, reconsider.

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