Post written by Sherri Kruger. Follow me on Twitter.
This post was originally published in October last year. Please enjoy again or for the first time.
Ask anyone if they are busy, stressed or overworked and the answer will likely be an emphatic YES!
If you feel you are sinking, finding it tough to keep your head above water or make time for things that are really important to you, you are not alone. The good news? It’s largely your own doing. I hear you asking “But how is that good news?” It’s good news because it means you have the power to change it. You hold the key to making your life as serene as you want it to be. Simplifying and prioritizing. Eliminating and reducing. There is no need to wait, no need to call on someone else to do it for you. It’s all about YOU.
So here are my top 10 tips for simplifying and getting some serenity back in your life.
1. Get real. You aren’t doing yourself any favors by pretending you can do it all. There are many people who feel they need to say yes to everyone, every request, every favor, every time. There are only so many hours in a day, days in a week, and weeks in a year. Get real about what you can comfortably commit to. Do your current commitments fit effortlessly into your life? Do they add value and make you happy? If not, it is time to re-evaluate and stop doing those things that don’t fulfill you.
2. Tell the truth. Lying takes a lot of energy. Lying requires you to have a fantastic memory in order to keep your stories straight. While it’s not always easy to come clean and admit to our mistakes, misunderstandings or fabulous blunders, it is always the path to less stress and simplicity. Being honest, even when it’s not particularly easy, will gain you more respect in the long run and will never bring your integrity into question.
3. Eliminate non-essentials. Clutter equals complexity. Living in a cluttered space can really affect your mood. You may feel closed in, cramped, anxious, stressed or generally unhappy. When your space is clutter free (and I don’t mean minimalist, necessarily) you can relax, spaces flow and things just work. When you have fewer things there is automatically less to clean, less to push aside and tidy when you’re having company and less to keep track of.
4. Do less. If you’re anything like me you love your lists. Everything you can think of that needs to get done is on a list. While all of these items need to get done eventually, it’s very unlikely that they need to be completed today. Consider keeping two lists, a master list where you capture to dos as they come up and another for things that need to be done today. If nothing needs to be done, choose one or two things on your list and tackle those.
5. Mind your own business. Some people love drama. They thrive on it. Making things more complex than they need to be, getting caught up in gossip or competing for status and attention. I have found by indulging in drama, other people’s or my own, my life becomes a lot more complex and there is no value being added. It’s tough keeping up with what’s going on and keeping track of what everyone else is doing. I have a hard enough time keeping up with my own life.
6. Become low-maintenance. I used to envy people who could get up in the morning and be out the door in half an hour. Now I’m one of them. Look at your current routine and see if there is anything you can do to make it simpler. Try an new hairstyle that is easy to do, pare down your wardrobe to a few classic items that can be mixed and matched, and simplify meals. The less you require – time, energy and things – the simpler your life will be.
7. Delegate. Delegating isn’t a sign of weakness, in fact I see it as a sign of true genius. Getting someone else, someone who is perhaps better, more efficient or better equipped to do a task, frees you up to do other things that are a better fit for you in that moment. Delegating is an art and there is a fine line between doing it effectively and bossing people around.
8. Reduce the noise. There is chatter everywhere. TV and radio we are bombarded with advertising and news. On the computer we have email, Facebook and twitter all with their urgent messages and something that needs to be addressed. Try limiting the amount of time you spend tuned into these mediums or eliminate them all together. Set a timer or make a mental note of how long you’ve been plugged in. Then make a point of unplugging. Talk with real people get interested in what they have to say and what’s going on in their lives.
9. Have me time. Once you’ve unplugged take some time for yourself. Sit quietly with a book you’ve wanted to read, flip through a favorite magazine, take a warm bath, paint, do some yoga or meditate. Take time everyday to do whatever it is that makes you happy, calms you and that leaves you feeling recharged.
10. Let go. Let go of the need to be perfect, no one is. Let go of the need to be in control all of the time, no one is. Let go of the need to be efficient and organized all the time, no one is. Let go of the need to do it all, no one can. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself a break. It’s okay to let things slide from time to time. It’s okay to not always have it together. The more you’re able to let go and be accepting of the way things are the calmer and more serene your life will be.
There are no prizes for ticking off every item on your to do list everyday. No one is standing there waiting to give you a big gold star no matter how much of an over-achiever you may be. Slow down, take in the sights, sounds, and smells of where you are right now. Serenity is within your reach. It all starts with you.
Read more from Sherri at Serene Journey.