20170917

9 Things You Can Do To Simplify Your Life

We long to simplify — not just with our stuff but also in our schedules, and in doing so, create space for us to grow in our faith. Simplifying allows us to focus our attention on God and what He says matters rather than with all that needs doing, or whatever catches our eye.

Here are 9 simple ways to simplify your life.

1. Make time for spiritual disciplines 
We can’t expect a more simplified life if we’re not turning to the God who promised us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Schedule time to pray and read your Bible, even if it’s for just a few minutes a day. Put an alarm on your phone to create new habits. Create daily, weekly, and monthly habits (like going to church, praying with others, giving, fasting, feasting, practicing service and hospitality) that will bring you closer to God, his people, and the world around you.

2. Create space 
Pick one room or space that you can go to as a haven when life gets busy. You might have a special reading spot or want your bedroom to feel orderly and clean. Work at decluttering this space. This will give you one spot where you can meet with God and it will be a happy incentive to work on other places. If chaotic surroundings make us feel chaotic, calm spaces can promote peace.

3. Use one organizational system for everything. 
Whatever organizational system will work for you as long as you use it. For me, I’ve found keeping my calendar, meal plans, schedules, goals, and random notes in one place (rather than a different notebook or file for everything) helps keep me simplified. I use the bullet journal method.

4. Commit to the things that bring you life. 
Commit to show up at church, small groups, daily bible reading and prayer, and other activities that bring you life. Make a list of things that are life-giving (like time in nature, reading, one-on-one time with a friend, etc.). They’ll provide fuel when your schedule threatens to get packed.

5. Get moving and drink water. 
When you go on regular walks and drink enough water (about 11 cups a day for women, 13 for men), you feel more energetic. It not only allows you to build endurance, gives you endorphins and promotes healthy skin, but it enables you to pay attention to the world around you and find what really matters.

6. Streamline transitional moments 
Usually I get overwhelmed when I need to pack up my four kids and get everyone out the door. When I have a spot for my keys, all our shoes are by the door in a shoe bin, I can grab my bullet journal and water bottle, we’re all a little less stressed and more kind as we head out. Brainstorm what transitional moments make you crazy and how to simplify them — whether that’s a plan how to involve kids while cooking, who’s going to do the dishes, or what’s needed for your big meeting — think ahead about how to make it more streamlined.

7. Create a capsule wardrobe 
We usually wear the same outfits that we love the most, while other stuff sits unused in our closets. To cut down on clothes clutter, you could get rid of everything that doesn’t fit, doesn’t bring you joy, or is no longer useful to you. Find a few outfits that you love, that make you feel confident, and pass on the rest to someone else.

8. Get off social media 
We often spend our down time filling up with Internet noise. Plan a social media fast, or even schedule when (and how long) you’ll be online so you don’t get sucked into scrolling and neglecting the people and things that are around you.

9. Periodically evaluate your schedule and your goals 
As you look through your commitments each month, consider one question: Does this event further my or my family’s mission?” If it doesn’t, both be open to how God is calling you, and feel free to say “no” to commitments that add chaos rather than allow you to rest in God’s plan.

God calls us to love God and love our neighbor. Determine what allows you to love well and work in small steps to simplify the rest.

[written by Ashley Hales