zen habits : breathe

5 Ways to Simplify Today

By Leo Babauta

Living a life of simplicity can be a beautiful thing. But simplifying itself can seem like an overwhelming process.

So I recommend simplicity in your simplifying.

Instead of trying to simplify your whole life, tossing out all your clutter and paring your schedule to just meditation and writing your novel … how about just simplifying one thing?

Simplifying one thing is doable. You don’t have to simplify everything today — you’ve got ages to do all of that.

Simplicity is the path.

You can pick one of the ideas below and implement it today. If it works well, continue it tomorrow. Or try one of the other ideas. And do it with a smile!

  1. Single-task. The next thing you choose to do … do only that. Close everything else, put your phone away, and just focus on that one task. If you’re reading this article, stay with it and do nothing else until you’re done reading. When you decide to check social media, check one at a time and do it fully and with mindfulness. When you go for a walk, have nothing to listen to or look at, other than the nature all around you. One thing at a time: wash one dish, just write, just eat. This is such a simple idea, and it’s doable right now.
  2. Use in-between spaces as mini-meditations. When you’re done with one thing, instead of rushing to the next, pause. Enjoy this in-between space. Notice how you’re feeling, what’s around you, what you just did, what your intention is for what you’re about to do. When you’re going somewhere else, whether it’s just another part of the office or another part of your city … just enjoy this time fully, as if it’s just as important as anything else you do, and don’t rush past it.
  3. Let go of one commitment. Our lives are so full because we say yes to so much, and our commitments pile up over time. You can greatly simplify your life by letting go of one commitment. What isn’t fulfilling you? What can you get out of today by telling them you just don’t have space for it? Practice saying no with confidence and love.
  4. Be fully present with someone. Pick someone today to be with fully. Put away your phone, let go of anything else you’re thinking about, and just be with them. Listen to them. Try to fully see them. Open your heart to them. Send them your love. If you do this with one person a day, which is such a simple thing to do, your life will become better through better relationships and connection.
  5. Clear one space. Find one little area in your work space or home, and declutter it. Just the amount of space that you can hug. For example, just a little space on your desk or kitchen counter. Let this be the blissful oasis of peace and simplicity that will ripple outward to the rest of your life!

These are five little things you can do no matter what you have going on today — don’t do all five things, but just pick one.

And enjoy the simplicity that comes with the doing.

Course: Living the Simple Life

If you’d like to go deeper and really simplify your life, I’m running a course in my Sea Change Program this month, called Living the Simple Life.

ere’s how it works:

  1. Every week this month I’ll publish two video lessons
  2. There’s a challenge to spend 5-10 minutes each day to simplify part of your life
  3. There are weekly check-in threads in the forum and discussion threads for each lesson
  4. I’ll hold a live video webinar on Simplifying & Letting Go on July 15
  5. I’ll also try to answer questions submitted on the forum

And here are the lessons in the Living the Simple Life course:

  1. Why Simplify, & What a Simple Life Looks Like
  2. Simplifying Possessions, a Little at a Time
  3. Simplifying Your Day
  4. Simplifying Finances
  5. Simplifying in a Simple Way
  6. Obstacles to Simplicity
  7. Simple Productivity
  8. 3 Keys to Living Life Simply

This is all included in my Sea Change Program, which you can sign up for today. You also get access to a huge library of other courses and content for changing your life, one step at a time. I hope you’ll join me, I’m really excited!


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