Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ten Ways to Simplify Your Life

It's a little out of character for me to do a list like this. But I've looked at many, many versions of this list in my recent journeys. And so it happened naturally that I came up with my own.

Here are Esther's ten tips for simplification. These can serve you (and me) whether we're working on the carbon footprint, or the monthly budget, or creating space for more spiritual pursuits.

1. Let Yourself Run Out of Things.
The day that you run out of ziplocs is the day that you figure out how to reuse the bread bags. And, on the day that you are running out of dish soap, you may find that you use only half as much.

2. Write it Down. Say it Out Loud. Hear Yourself Saying It.
"Purchased hot beverage...four dollars, seventy-five cents."
"Purchased hot non-recyclable paper cup."
"Purchased hot beverage...9 minutes driving, 6 minutes in store = 15 minutes."

3. Do the Math.
Cost/Hourly Wage = Value in Work Hours

4. Use Your Imagination.
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. "My life without this object/habit/distraction looks like..."

5. Share.
Kim and Rick share their car. Elaine shares her house. It's generosity and simplicity at the same time. Or, you could say, free storage for your things when you aren't using them.

6. Take the Challenge.
Some people do crossword puzzles. Some people do Sudoku. Some people come up with creative ways to simplify their lives.

7. Make Tiny Changes.
Failure isn't fun. Don't set yourself up.

8. Keep the Chaos, Lose the Container.
Every kind of chaos can be the appropriate container. If your stuff won't stay where you put it, you might need to change where you put it. If you can't get yourself on time, you might need to change the schedule. If you keep the container the same and try to change the chaos instead? You might make yourself very tired.

9. Don't Have Stuff You Can't See.
If you can't see it, you don't use it. And if it isn't a part of your life, why is it a part of your life? See Item #4. Are you going to need it later? See Item #5. But you really, really, love it? Then bring it out and let it make you happy.

10. Keep a List of Things You Don't Want To Do, But Are Going to Do Anyway.
Avoidance wastes resources. Admit that you don't feel like doing it. Pout for as long as you need to. And then get it off the list.

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