These are the steps I'm taking to simplify my life.
By Amy Crawford
Last year I spent many hours (and days) thinking about picking up my life and moving away; moving to a place with wide open skies, spanses of water or forest and only the sounds of nature to interrupt my highly treasured peace and quiet. I craved simplicity. Thoughts of this consumed me as I questioned how this might work, if it was even feasible to build a life and career on my own, with an online business in tow.
Of course, anything is feasible if we want it enough; it's whether we are prepared to face the risks and challenges such a move might bring. The timing too, needs to be right.
In any case, research was done. My 2015 vision board delivered as I predicted it might; a woman feeding chickens in her backyard with mountains in the distance, hauling baskets of organic produce from a garden laden with veggies. Another woman working from a laptop in a field, fortunate to be working from any location of her choosing.
Indeed it was the wonders of my Flinders Island visits that enabled these experiences and helped me reach my existing conclusion, which is that right now is not that time. For reasons both work and personal, I'm to stay put in my urban home for the time being.
Rather than running from an existing life to chase the simplicity that I crave, I'm instead going to simplify the one that I have.
Today I wanted to share with you the steps I'm taking to simplify my life. Perhaps they'll inspire you to further simplify your own.
1. Slow down. Life is not a race and I want to be present in every moment. The following words used to front the beginning of many a sentence: "I'll just quickly go brush my teeth/grab a coffee/grab some lunch/write a blog post/take the washing off the line". My foot is now off the pedal. I won't "quickly", I'll "calmly".
2. Spend less. How easy it is to accumulate stuff we don't really need. Consider replacing only when something wears out and be mindful of why you spend. Is it that the act of spending brings comfort or instant gratification?
3. Declutter. Physical and mental - if you don't need it or it isn't serving a positive purpose in your life, get rid of it. Here's a great read to assist with that process.
4. Prioritise connecting with loved ones. Get out a marking pen and make permanent fixtures in your diary to surround yourself with people who bring you joy, who inspire and motivate you.
5. Get out in nature, often. Go hug a tree if you need to and ground yourself. Find peace in nature's serenity.
6. Protect space in your diary. Learn to say no to invitations that don't serve your life or your goals, that don't add value to your life in some way.
7. Eat more simply. I have a pantry that overwhelms me every time I open the door. It's full to the brim with ingredients I barely use (in part of course because of recipe development). I'm working my way through all of this produce and simplifying my ingredients list full stop.
8. Clean as you go. Put stuff away as and when you're done with it. Nothing rattles me more than walking into rooms of my home when I'm busy and seeing stuff lying around, out of place. Trainers dropped on the kitchen floor, paperwork on the living room coffee table, newspapers strewn. No more!
9. Exercise in nature, for free. Why spend thousands on memberships when you've got your own body weight and nature at your doorstep. Get outside, move your body, use whatever is at your disposal. Save your hard earned dollars.
10. Disconnect, as often as you can. Whilst your head is buried in Facebook/instagram/Pinterest/snapchat/google/emails life is passing you by, every precious moment of it. Put your devices down, let go of the obsession. Be in the moment and allow your mind and energy to settle. Here's some tips to help you create technology boundaries.
11. Let go of those things that no longer serve you. Toxic relationships, work habits; you know them all too well. Why waste an ounce more of your precious energy?
13. Give back, more and often. Become conscious of that beautiful flow of inward and outward energy - as you give you receive. Keep it simple. A package on a doorstep, a postcard to a special friend, paying forward a coffee. Perhaps you'll take part in the THI kindness movement.
14. Live debt free. Pay off the credit cards, cut them up if you need. They hang like a noose around our necks, unnerving and unsettling us. Spend only what you can afford.
15. Get up early. Enjoy the stillness. Give yourself time in the morning to ease gently into your day. Find space to sit and enjoy your breakfast and a cuppa. Create time to take the more interesting route to work or to stop off in a cafe on the way.
What other steps might we add to this list to further simplify our lives? Please do share in the comments below, I'd love to hear your thoughts.