Five Ways to Simplify Your Life!

I had to chuckle to myself even as I wrote the title of this post. Wow, if it were only as easy as saying "Simplify your life!"

I have a way of getting bogged down in the details of the day, often doing what is urgent rather than important and before I know it, I have lost my way.

Today, I am going to share what I am currently working on to simplify my life. The key words in that sentence are “working on”…

This has never been as important as it is currently in my life. I am aware of all the things that are outside my control that I seem to want to change. All of my wishing that things could be different doesn’t change the way things are. Situations that involve other people and their decisions are never under my control.

Every day, I get to consciously let go of the things that are not mine, so I am only dealing with my own energy and not that of others. It can be challenging, especially when the world at large is so chaotic. I am realizing that if I don’t protect my own energy, no one else will. That is my job so I can function at my highest level. I can’t be in joy when I am mired in the messiness of the world.

That is not to say I am disengaging. On the contrary. I am aware that I need to take care of my own emotional needs so I can show up my best for others. Breathe, rest, and continue. Let go. Don’t quit.

I am really good at looking at my list of to dos, and thinking I need to get through all of them in a day! Ha! Ha! As we all know, a to do list is never finished. (It is a lot like laundry- even when you think you are finished, there are dirty clothes at the end of the day! That is why it is my least favorite household chore! )

Often I get caught up in doing all the urgent things (like administrative stuff) and I don’t get to the important things like making art. As a soloprenuer, I wear many hats, and often I get bogged down in all the stuff and not the art.

Did you know that the word priority was never meant to be plural? That didn’t happen until the beginning of the 20th century. This means that there can only be ONE thing that is a priority for this time, not 5!

When I choose where to focus my time, I want it to be focused on the priority of making me my best self so I can continue to be joy for others. That really means I absolutely must prioritize art. Yes, it is my livelihood. But it is also my emotional processing tool.

My goal is to create dedicated art time, again! (I think that also means giving up on the idea that my office is clean and not spilling over with art projects and supplies!)

Having all my supplies accessible makes creating art less of a chore and more of a letting go and exploring time.

Then, after I have renewed my energy, I can choose what urgent thing needs to be done today. I will have more energy to complete the task at hand.

How can you simplify your to do list?

One of the best things about having our daughter live with us again while her condo was being renovated was watching her work habits. I have been out of an office setting for decades, and it is easy to forget about the down time that happens during a work day.

Watching our daughter reminded me of the meetings I had with my boss when we would talk for two hours. One of those was work related and one was not.

Working at home alone, I have lost sight of the rhythm that goes into a normal day. While I can’t say I keep a regular business schedule, I can surely allow myself time during the day to eat lunch outside, or while paging through a magazine. I don’t have to be working every minute of every day.

What kind of self-care break can you take today?

I was socializing last night with one of the largest groups of people I have been with since COVID started in 2020. I was aware how much energy that took for me to be present to those around me, who wanted to share experiences, ask questions, compliment my art, etc. While it was lovely and fun, alone time is what I need to fill my cup.

At the same time, those connections were very important. As I told one person, I am alone most of the time, and I cannot create in a vacuum. I must have people contact because connection feeds my soul, and it is what I am all about. If I am about creating encouraging art, then I have to feel myself in the midst of people. It is easier to remember that I matter and that I belong when I am with others.

I create from the needs I see and feel from the people around me. I cannot create from an empty room. So being with others, in appropriate measures, matters to me. I can’t get so caught up in my stuff that I don’t take time for others. And conversely, I must have appropriate boundaries so I take care of my own self.

Knowing what matters simplifies my life because I can give my energy to it in a way that nurtures not only me, but those around me.

What matters the most to you? How are you creating that in your life?

No post would be complete without the reminder to be kind to yourself.

My critical voice is alive and well. And while I don’t think I feed it, it is sneakily quiet. What I mean by that is it takes me awhile to realize how conniving it is, until I am in a full spin of messiness. Like a frog in water that is slowly brought to a boil, my critical voice traps me sometimes. I have to literally break free by breathing, putting my hand over my heart, and reminding myself that I am ok. I am enough. Everyone struggles. I will often look in the mirror and pull up as much self-compassion as I can. I whisper “I love you” and allow my body to soften into a space of healing.

I know I am not alone. We tend to be our own worst critics. I would never say aloud to anyone the things I say to myself.

Perhaps a simpler way to avoid the critical voice is to start with the affirmation, ‘Today, I am doing my best and that is enough.”

I am reminding you and me that it is a strategy worth trying.

I hope you are willing to give one of these strategies a go. Let me know which one works for you in the comments, or share another strategy you have for simplifying your life!

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