Between staying in touch with friends and family, trying to be a superstar at work, and keeping up with household chores, life can get pretty complicated.
Quora users agree, and recently discussed how to cut down life’s clutter on the thread: “How can I make my life simpler?“
Several users provided helpful suggestions on ways to streamline our day-to-day lives. Here are nine of our favourite ideas for how you can make every day a little bit simpler:
1. Just say no.
While it might not be easy, saying no to anything that adds clutter to your life leaves room for what’s most important to you. “You need to say no to everything that doesn’t matter,” says Oliver Emberton. “Practice saying no to everything by default, and making rare, precious exceptions.” Once you start, your priorities will become clearer.
2. Travel abroad.
Quora user Mark Pan suggests moving to another country for a couple of years. The transition will force you to let go of big complications such as an unfulfilling job or a messy relationship, as well as force you to pare down your belongings. “Once you come back, you’ll have much less baggage, both tangible and intangible, and be able to start fresh in many aspects,” he says.
3. Make up your mind.
Shrugging off decisions with a flip “I don’t know” will only make choosing harder in the long run. Radhika Devidas explains: “This ‘I don’t know’ feeling that you get from time to time only means that you have to ponder some more to arrive at something solid. When you leave things at this stage, they tend to become huge and often cancerous when they catch your attention the second time.”
4. Clean house.
Patricia Mineault recommends literally clearing out your house once a year. “Get rid of half your stuff,” she says. “Of course, you’ll buy more stuff during the year, but you’ll still have less stuff on average. You’d be surprised how little stuff you need.”
Quora user Autumn Knudson agrees, adding that you should focus on buying only the highest quality essentials. “Do this so that you don’t have to worry about repairing or replacing these things,” Knudson says. The less time spent replacing worn-out clothes and furniture, the more time you have to devote to more important tasks.
5. Decide what you truly need.
It’s easy to get caught up in something you want and decide that you can’t live without it. But the truth is, people only need a few basic items, such as food, water, and shelter. “The more stuff we own/pursue/desire, the less our lives become our own,” says Krystle Hannigan. “People end up being ‘owned’ by all their acquisitions.” Don’t let spacious homes, luxury cars, or designer clothing get in the way of more meaningful things, like finding your purpose and developing deeper relationships, Hannigan advises.
Use your bike for transportation.
6. Ride your bicycle.
Simplifying your transportation automatically streamlines several other aspects of your life. “You’ll save on gas, insurance, parking, and maintenance costs. Who needs a gym membership? You’re getting a work-out on the way to work!” says Ryan Killoran.
Killoran isn’t alone here. Mike Lince suggests selling your car altogether. “Put your transportation dollars into carpooling, public transportation, and taxis, and you will have money left over,” he writes. “Use transportation time to read or nap or work on puzzles for entertainment.”
7. Take a break from your phone.
Between checking email, answering texts, and beating the next level of Candy Crush, our phones eat up hours of valuable time and can cause unnecessary stress. It might not be feasible to ditch your phone for good, but leaving it behind during times when you know you won’t need it, as suggested by Mike Fishbein, can add cherished moments of simplicity to your life.
8. Get organised.
Keeping your workspace clear of clutter will help you keep your mind clear as well. Christopher Chen explains that “by organising and keeping neat, you’ll make finding a book, paper, or folder much easier, and this will save time. No matter how cliche this may sound, keeping a neat workspace will also remove the clutter that exists in your own mind, and make it easier to focus.”
Another way to eliminate extra clutter around your desk: Pay bills online and sign up for a paperless bank account. “You will then have very little ‘real’ mail. Just chuck the rest of the pile in the trash,” Steve Coffman says.
9. Enjoy the little things.
Take time to appreciate the little moments in life rather than hurrying from one activity to the next. Quora user Dan Alia has a few suggestions of where to start: “Watch a sunset, listen to children laugh, pay for the coffee of the person behind you, smile at a stranger, turn the music up, listen more, call your mum and tell her you love her, drink more water, really enjoy a bright, shiny, crisp, red delicious apple, and always leave everything better than you find it.”
Anything we forgot? Let us know in the comments.
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