5 Mental Shifts to Simplify Your Life
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Want to lead a simpler, less stressful life? Here are 5 ways to shift your thinking and change your life.
Five years ago, I quit my corporate job because I wanted my life back. I was overwhelmed, overworked, and overweight. By Sunday afternoon I was dreading Monday morning. Every. Single. Week.
The stress and anxiety were too much, so I quit.
I committed to remaking my life into something simpler, happier, and more meaningful. That search led me to the concepts of simple living and minimalism.
Today, I’m happy to report that I’m content and at peace with my life. I’m happy. And that means a lot.
Changing jobs and moving on to work I enjoy was a start, but the biggest change was in my thinking.
I changed my ideas about what I needed to have or do to live a happy life.
The solution, as I saw it, was a simpler life.
My journey began by recognizing that I wanted to put more time into things that would improve the quality of my life.
That realization led me to make more intentional choices about how I lived my life.
And those changes worked for me. My life is less stressful and more fulfilling because I changed how I thought about certain aspects of my life, then followed up those changes with changes in how I lived my life.
Now, I want to share those changes with you.
5 Mental Shifts that Will Simplify Your Life
These five shifts in my thinking simplified my life:
1. White space on my schedule is necessary and beneficial.
White space is downtime, the time you spend doing nothing. It is an antidote to busyness. Adding white space into your day doesn’t mean you aren’t productive.
Far from it.
You’ll still get stuff done.
You’re just adding downtime as a buffer against overscheduling.
Adding white space to your day helps restore the mental and physical energy you need to deal with whatever comes next.
Key takeaway – Schedule white space into your day to prevent unnecessary busyness. The downtime will help you recharge during the day.
2. Doing one thing at a time is better than doing many things at a time.
Multitasking is like climbing a ladder that’s moving as you climb. You’re constantly shifting your balance to keep from falling.
You might climb up and back down again without falling, but the climb is stressful and challenging.
It's harder than it would have been if the ladder didn’t move.
Like climbing a moving ladder, multitasking is stressful and challenging. It's hard to stay focused because you keep switching between tasks.
Completing one task at a time improves your focus, allowing you to complete the tasks with less frustration and stress.
Key takeaway – Complete one task before moving on to the next one to lighten the mental load.
3. The time it takes to streamline a routine is worth it.
Everyone has certain routines they repeat regularly, like paying bills, cleaning the house, and buying groceries. Over time, these routine tasks become habits.
You don’t think about how you do them — the routine itself — you just do them.
Streamlining these routines is a good way to simplify your life.
Figure out an easier, faster, or less complicated way to carry out the routine:
For example, you can set up recurring payments for bills, dust one room each day instead of the whole house once a week, and order groceries online and pick them up after work.
Even small changes can have a big impact on your life over the days, weeks, and months ahead.
Key takeaway – Identify alternative ways of completing routines that allow you to complete the routine in less time and with less effort.
4. Perfectionism is over-rated and often unnecessary.
The effort required to achieve and sustain perfection is exhausting. It’s not realistic – at least over the long term.
Maybe you achieve perfection in the short term, but it’s nearly impossible to maintain that level of effort and focus forever.
The constant push for perfection isn’t healthy emotionally or physically either.
Depending on what you’re doing, perfection isn’t even necessary. If I drive into my garage without hitting anything on the way in, that’s good enough.
In many areas of life, good is often good enough.
Key takeaway – Accept that an outcome short of perfection is ok.
5. Screen time steals time you could be using in more rewarding ways.
Time is a limited resource. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. Instead of dribbling away your time mindlessly staring at a screen, spend time doing things that offer something meaningful in return.
Think about the last five years. How much of what you read or viewed seems very meaningful today? Now think about the experiences you’ve had in the last five years.
Which memories – online or offline – are the strongest and mean the most to you? Probably the offline experiences.
Clicking your way across the Internet, reading and responding to notifications, and binge-watching the latest series is entertaining, but it doesn't build meaningful and lasting memories.
Key takeaway – Spend more time creating memorable offline experiences, instead of viewing data streams on a device.
Five years after making deliberate changes in how I live my life, I know it’s possible to create a simpler life.
Not only am I happier today than I was then, but I’m also healthier and my life feels more balanced.
The changes I made helped me forward. I hope they help you too.
Get in Touch
I would love to hear from you. What are you doing to build a simpler life? What’s working? What’s not working? Please free to email me at anita (at) simplelife365.com.
NEXT: You might enjoy reading Three Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life.