Out With The Old: 5 Ways to Simplify Your Life

If there is one thing I want to do this new year, it is to simplify my life. After the high-voltage-roller-coaster-ride of the holiday season, I feel like I want to escape to a cabin in the woods where only my "In Case of Emergency" contact can find me.

However, sometimes even the act of simplifying can become overwhelming. Case in point: I just read an article entitled, "73 Ways to Simplify Your Life!" Wow. There has to be an easier way, right?

In the spirit of keeping it short and sweet, here are five quick suggestions for simplifying your life:

1. When deciding whether or not to do something (or buy something) if the answer is not "Absofrickinglutely!" then let the answer be a definitive, "No." I read this recently in Derek Sivers' book, "Anything You Want," and it has been life-changing. Do you want to volunteer for the school annual fund this year? Well, I guess I should, but....STOP! The answer is no. Do you want to help the first grade bake cookies for Valentine's Day? Absofrickinlutely! You get the idea?

2. Purge, Purge, Purge. I think there are at least one zillion sayings that roughly translate to the less you own, the less that owns you. Grab a bag and purge. A bag a day for 30 days? Sure. And when you are tempted to buy something new, see #1 (Do you absofrickinlutely have to have it?)

3. Set limits to your availability and access to technology. My personal rule is that I log off at 7:30pm every night. No texts, no emails, no internet after that point. That way, I can relax without interruption and spend time with my family. Set limits to checking your email, too. A couple times a day (or a few more depending on your needs.) Otherwise, you can seriously spend your entire day checking your email and sending texts. I also recommend a technology fast every once in awhile. (Talk about feeling healthy and refreshed!)

4. Outsource, delegate, repeat. No one can do it all. (Unless of course, you can, in which case, can you call me so that I can delegate some tasks to you?) Hire a neighbor's cash-thirsty teenager to help with some household chores. Try to find room in your budget to outsource the most time-consuming things on your list.

5. Set your sights on new experiences, not new things. Experiences, more than material things, are what make humans the happiest. Perhaps rather than creating a wish list that includes new "things" (which will require packaging, un-packaging, using, storing, cleaning, upkeep, etc.) think about setting your heart's desire on new experiences. A backpacking trip. A new yoga class. A massage. A night with the TV turned off, cell phones on mute, laptops closed, playing backgammon with loved ones. Simply sublime.

Image: Barking Up the Wrong Tree

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