Just as location is the key driver to success in real estate, simplification is the key to success in life. No matter how much you want your life to change, it's impossible if there is no room for change.

We tend to fill our lives with activity and with 'stuff'. It's supposed to mean we're ...
Just as location is the key driver to success in real estate, simplification is the key to success in life. No matter how much you want your life to change, it's impossible if there is no room for change.

We tend to fill our lives with activity and with 'stuff'. It's supposed to mean we're successful, that we're fully living. The reality is that it usually just leaves us feeling overwhelmed, crowded and with a longing for a simpler, quieter life. By filling every minute of the day, we find ourselves with no time to be 'quiet', to go within, to find the inner peace that allows us to be creative, productive and free. By having too much stuff, we feel cramped, stifled and burdened. We feel restricted by "too much" of everything and this impedes our ability to do what's truly important to us.

It's not necessary to go down to the bare minimum, but it is essential that we give ourselves room to grow and time to be reflective. And there is a pervasive effect. Simplifying your life in any area gives you more 'space' in all areas. Try it!

You get to choose the pace: 'Fast & Furious' or 'Slow & Easy'. The important thing is to keep working on simplifying your life and finding ways to keep it simple. Let yourself have fun and be creative with this. To get you started, here are a few ideas to simplify your life. Get prepared for a burst of energy from doing each one of these.

Throw or give away what you no longer wear. [Recently read a great tip for this. Take 10 minutes to re-arrange all the hangers in your closets back-wards, with the hook facing the front. Once you've washed or cleaned something, hang it up with the hangar facing the usual way. After a time you've set (3 to 6 months, after a 'season') get rid of all the clothes whose hangars are still facing the front. This is an easy and almost painless way of cleaning out the closet!]

Delete as much as possible as soon as you've read it. Use a simple folder system to file the rest. Use large groupings such as chronological time (January through December, rolling year). Filing by topic, unless it is a large project, seldom works. [How often have you found 4 folders on the same project, all called something different?]. Use the tools available in your mailbox to auto-filter email. Choose a primary email reader and have all others auto-forwarded to that email box. Most email readers allow you to automatically delete or file mail from specific individuals.

If you live by a calendar, schedule one hour a day to allow some breathing space. Use this to time to go through email, do call-backs, read important mail. Or use it go outside and get some air. Take a quick walk around the block. Five minutes away from your work area (even, or especially, if you work at home) can have a dramatic effect on your productivity.

You leave most meetings with something to do, right? Give yourself time to work on these things by scheduling work-time in your calendar. Otherwise, it will be 6pm and you get to start "working".

Divide your desk or room into sections. Pick one section and start de-cluttering. Try to touch things only once while going through this process. Use 3 boxes or bags. ,marking them as follows: 'Keep', 'Give Away'; and 'Toss'. If it's paper, ask yourself 'If I lost it, could I find it elsewhere?' If the answer is yes, throw it away. Where ever possible, come up with a system that will allow you to maintain the de-cluttered space. [Another tip: if you find yourself having trouble parting with some items, put them in a box, label the box with a date 6 months from now, store in garage or closet. If you haven't gone into the box by the time the date rolls around, throw it away without opening it.]

Stop trying to do everything yourself. Ask yourself "Where is it important that I spend my time? How do I want to spend my time?" Get rid of everything else. This includes things like getting someone to clean the house, using automatic bill-paying systems, etc. If you are delegating to a work associate or family member, be sure to delegate the whole thing (how to do it as well as what to do.) If it can only be done 'your way', then you will be the only one who can do it.

If you have to do anything on a regular schedule, develop a system that is easily repeatable. Use the tools that make the most sense for the job. This ranges from using templates for written documents to cleaning the house in a specific pattern. Find out what works for you and then make it better (and faster!).

Buy 6-month supplies of things you use on a daily basis. And to simplify even more, order them through the web and have them delivered to your house! We spend an inordinate amount of time running 'errands'. Keeping large supplies on hand is a great way to pick up some extra time.

Sometimes we find ourselves doing things or hanging on to goals that were right at one point in our life, but no longer fit who we are now. Stop to think about every thing you're doing or working towards. Does it still fit your life today? If not, stop doing it or get rid of it as a goal.

"There is no greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness, and truth." Leo Tolstoy

"When your life is full, you miss out on life." Thomas Leonard

(c)2000 Louise Morganti Kaelin

Author's Bio: 

This article was originally published in "The 3-Minute Coach", a bi-weekly newsletter offering tools and strategies to support you in living the life you truly want.

Louise Morganti Kaelin is a Life Success Coach who partners with others to help them turn their dreams into reality. She has a passion for helping others find their inner wisdom, truth and power.