15 Ways to Simplify Your Life

If you’re trying to launch a life that matters, you have to focus your time and energy on activities that matter.

Activities that will develop you as a professional, and activities that will develop you as a person.

A great way to find this focus, is to simplify your life. Less complexity means less distractions and more growth.

Here are 15 practical tips for simplifying your life:

1. Say no. Instead of saying yes to every opportunity or request that comes your way, carefully pick what you want to commit to, and say no to the rest.

2. Ditch knick knacks. You know, the little memorabilia that clutter your space. If they have significance, take a photo and store the photo of that item online.

3. Have ONE physical inbox for paper items. Put all of your incoming paper mail here, as well as any other papers that need processing. You won’t have paper cluttering up your space and you’ll know where to find what you’re looking for.

4. Walk or bike to work. You can get some exercise and not have to stress out about driving. If this isn’t feasible, look for other times during the week that you can replace driving with walking or biking.

5. Get Zipcar. If you live in a city, consider using it in place of having your own car. You don’t have to worry about insurance, gas, or car registration. You just get in and drive.

6. Try Evernote. Instead of having your digital notes strewn about your computer, keep them in one place. Only create a document to be stored in a folder when necessary.

7. Use Dropbox. This service allows you to store all of your digital documents (and photos) online. They won’t clog up your hard drive or clutter up your desktop. You can also give others access to folders.

8. Use Google Docs. You can create your documents online, store them there, and then easily share them with friends. That’s simple.

9. Unsubscribe from junk mail. If it’s paper junk mail, try PaperKarma. If it’s digital junk mail, make a habit of scrolling to the bottom of the email and clicking unsubscribe.

10. Use keyboard shortcuts for Gmail. You’ll be able to filter through email much quicker.

11. Bank online. I like e-Tade for checking, ING for Savings, and Vanguard for investments. I never have to go into the bank, and my ATM fees get reimbursed.

12. Designate specific times for email and social media. If you’re always connected to your email and your social media outlets, you can kiss your day goodbye. You’ll do nothing but react to all the information coming your way.

13. Take email off your phone. I haven’t committed to this one yet, but I’m about to give it a go. It feels efficient to handle my email while I am on the go, but it’s rude if I’m with others and I doubt that it really saves me time.

14. Cut out cable. You’ll save money, and won’t waste as much time on TV. You can always rent or stream shows and movies from Netflix and Hulu. Plus you get a lot of sports on basic TV channels. :)

15. Eat whole foods. The closer to its original state, the less preparation needed and usually the healthier it is.

Question: What did I miss? What are some simplicity hacks that you use?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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12 thoughts on “15 Ways to Simplify Your Life

  1. Building off of item #12, I have been using software called Cold Turkey to help block out the temptation to check email and social media for extended blocks during my work day. I believe it is only for windows, but i know that there are Mac and Linux alternatives.

  2. It’s a little obvious and maybe out of scope but I would put Mint on the list of applications along with Dropbox and Evernote. Also, I’d throw in Basecamp if you run a small business or operate with a team.

  3. =) Great tips, another one that simplified my life was taking a break from facebook. I’ve been able to make decisions quicker and get a little mental space to produce better work.

  4. Got almost all done. But taking off email from your phone? What I just implemented is having certain times when I check my mail at my desktop.
    What could be a first step is to turn of the tone when getting a new mail.

  5. I was waiting for the point called ‘Don’t have a baby or a husband’ ;)

    Lovely collection of points, well done.

    d