When your home life is disorganized, your whole life is disorganized. Did you know studies show that clutter around your house raises your stress level?
The stuff you never use, and don’t even like, but have shoved into your closet, might seem benign, are actually contributing to your stress. This doesn’t even take into account cluttered schedules and relationships. It’s time to simplify your life.
As much as it sounds like a cliche, Minimalism is everywhere. I’m not talking about selling everything you own and moving into a one bedroom apartment.
I’m talking about small changes (or big ones where they’re necessary) that will have a tremendous impact on your overall happiness and satisfaction with your life. I’m talking about clearing out the clutter, simplifying your schedule and having an intentional plan for your relationships.
Simplifying at Home
Think for a minute about what you want your life at home to look and feel like. Close your eyes and look around your house. How do you wish it looked?
Think about your schedule. Do you race around all day, running from one task to the others, so at the end of it all, you don’t even remember what you did? Is that approach getting you the results you want? If not, let’s think of a new way we can approach it so you life feels more streamlined and meaningful.
One approach I’ve used to simplify my life is this: if I haven’t used something in more than a year, I get rid of it. The concept of tidying up has worked well for me. I just go through my closets, garage and storage units 3-4 times each year and ask myself, “do I really need this?” If I haven’t even thought about it since the last time I looked at it, it goes to Goodwill.
As a result, if you walked into my house today, you’d notice that there’s not a lot of clutter. It’s actually pretty easy to keep clean.
We just don’t keep anything we don’t actually use and need. We don’t keep things we don’t have space for. We don’t keep a lot of things out on our counters or on the floor that don’t serve some sort of function.
It’s crazy to think this actually lowers your stress level, but we feel it. And research supports our experience.
Simplifying Your Schedule
In a world where we wear “busy” as a badge of honor, it’s hard to even think about what it would look like to have a simple schedule.
There is a myth in our culture about busyness and it goes like this: the harder and faster you work, the more quickly you’ll make progress in your personal and professional life.
But it’s absolutely vital to your physical and emotional health. For those who don’t simplify their own schedules, life has a way of doing it for them.
I remember a time before I had taken initiative to simplify my schedule and life was crazy, all the time. I had a hard time sleeping and just felt like I couldn’t even be present with my friends or my family. One day, at a partner meeting for my company, I had a mental breakdown.
In case you were wondering, a partner meeting is the very worst place to completely melt down. A time when you’re supposed to be making objective, rational, thoughtful decisions for things that will either make you or cost you millions of dollars is not a fantastic time to totally lose your mind.
Thankfully, I have partners who suggested I do what often works for me when I’m not thinking straight — go for a run. So I did.
And as I disappeared into the Colorado mountains, everything began to become clear again. I realized I was trying to do too much. I was holding onto things that didn’t matter. I needed to let some stuff go.
Removing the Clutter
Here is the thing with clutter and stress. If we don’t take control of it when we have the chance, it will take control of us.
If you’re trying to lose weight, change your whole diet. If you want to take your family on a vacation, stay at the office for 80 hours per week until you’ve achieved your desired financial goal.
Now, this myth is tricky because it’s part true. If you work hard and fast, you will make progress more quickly — at least in the beginning.
But like with anything in life, this connection has a point of diminishing returns. There’s a point in which your hard work will actually start to work against you. This is why you’ve heard the phrase: work smarter, not harder.
A Simpler Life
I did eventually learn to work smarter for the things I really wanted in life, and thanks to that decision so many years ago, has led to the life I live now, where I work hard but I don’t have to overextend myself or live a stressed and frazzled life all the time.
I get to watch my son play baseball and spend quality time with my wife. We go on vacations and spend most evenings and weekends hanging out together. It’s great — so much better than the “crazy busy” life I used to think was the only way.
The reason I care about a No Sidebar life at home is because I dream of a world where we can truly enjoy our lives instead of cramming as much activity in as possible, without realizing how fast the weeks and years are passing us by.
When you talk to someone at the end of their life, they don’t say, “I wish I would have worked harder and faster and longer hours.” They say, “I wish I would have spent more time with my friends and family.”
This is the No Sidebar kind of life.
If you want to pursue a simple life, we have created a 30-day email course that will inspire + encourage you.