The Why and How of Simplifying Life

Posted by Donald Latumahina

If you want to live an effective life, one important thing you should focus on is simplifying your life. It’s not easy though; I’m still learning myself. I’m a person with many ideas on what to do and often got distracted here and there.

I was able to see this when reviewing my life map. There were times when I did things that turned out to be unnecessary. Worse, I could spend months on them. Of course, that didn’t help me progress in the right direction.

I slowly learned how to simplify my life, and here I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned on the why and how of simplifying life.

The Why

Why do you need to simplify your life? Well, there are two reasons that come to my mind.

1. It helps you live a stress-free life.

If you feel stressed right now, it might be a sign that you need to simplify your life. As I wrote in How to Avoid Stress, it’s possible to be productive without being stressed. How? By having a margin in your life. The margin here is the difference between your capacity and your responsibilities.

Simplifying your life helps you create margin because you won’t have too many things on your plate. That way you will have the mental space necessary to handle unfortunate events.

2. It helps you build momentum.

The second reason for simplifying life is that it can help you build momentum. The nice thing about having momentum on your side is that you will get more for the effort you put in. You will have the wind at your back.

How do you build momentum? Dave Ramsey gave us a great formula in EntreLeadership (summary): focused intensity over time multiplied by God.

The first part of the formula is focused. It means that you shouldn’t be all over the place; you should have only a few things on your plate. Simplifying your life helps you achieve this. Simplifying your life can build momentum because it helps you focus.

The How

Having looked at the why, let’s now look at the how. How can you simplify your life? Here are two tips.

1. Have the willingness to let go.

If you are like me, you might have a lot of things that you want to do. But guess what? You can’t do them all, at least not if you want to have the focus necessary to build momentum.

So what’s the solution? You must be willing to let go. You must be willing to accept that you can’t do everything.

If this is difficult for you, look at the why above. Do you want be stress-free and build momentum? If so, then be willing to let go.

2. Apply the 80/20 rule.

The 80/20 rule is well-known for a good reason: it works. It’s the rule that you need to apply to simplify your life.

The rule states that roughly 80% of the effects come from just 20% of the causes. Your job, then, is to identify those top 20% causes and eliminate the rest.

Though he didn’t mention it, Steve Jobs actually applied the rule when he came back to Apple in 1997. At that time, Apple had many products, but they were mediocre. So what did he do? He eliminated most of them and left only four.

Similarly, you may need to eliminate things from your life. Use the 80/20 rule to choose the few things that give you the most results and eliminate the rest.

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Simplifying life is not easy, but it’s essential. It can help you live stress-free and with momentum. But you must be willing to let go and eliminate things from your life.

How do you simplify your life? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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Categories: Time management, Working

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Sylvester says:

    Thank you for these nice and life changing recipe.