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'Tis a Gift to be Simple

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

'Tis a gift to be simple

'Tis a gift to be free

'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be.

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

It will be in the valley of Love and Delight!

The Short List

  1. Identify what's most important to you

  2. Eliminate everything else.

The Long List

1. Make a list of your top 4 - 5 important things. What's most important to you? What do you value the most? What 4 - 5 things do you most want in your life? Simplifying starts with identifying your priorities, so you can make room in your life and have more time for things that matter most.

2. Evaluate your commitments. Look at everything you're doing in your life - work, home, church, civic, kids' stuff, activities, hobbies, side interests or businesses, other projects. Think about which of these really means something to you, what you really find value in. Which of these are consistent with the 4 - 5 most important things you listed above? Drop those that aren't.

3. Evaluate your time. How do you spend your day? What things do you do from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, evaluate whether they're consistent with your priorities. If not, have the courage and strength to eliminate these things. Focus on what's important. Redesign your day.

As our days go, so go our lives. One author put it this way: “A day is like a whole life. You start out doing one thing, but end up doing something else, plan to run an errand, but never get there. … And at the end of your life, your whole existence has that same haphazard quality, too. Your whole life has the same shape as a single day.”12
Do you want to change the shape of your life?
Change the shape of your day.
Do you want to change your day?
Change this hour.
Change what you think, feel, and do at this very moment.
A small rudder can steer a large ship.13
Small bricks can become magnificent mansions.
Small seeds can become towering sequoias.
Minutes and hours well spent are the building blocks of a life well lived.

12: Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park (2015), 190.

13: “Take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go” (James 3:4, New International Version).

4. Simplify work tasks. Our work day is made up of an endless list of work tasks. If you simply try to knock off all the tasks on your to do list, you'll never get everything done, and worse yet, you'll never get the important stuff done. Focus on the essential tasks and eliminate the rest.

5. Simplify home tasks. In that vein, think about all the stuff you do at home. Sometimes our home task list is just as long as our work list. And we'll never get that done either. So focus on the most important, and try to find ways to eliminate the other tasks (automate, eliminate, delegate or hire help).

6. Learn to say No. This is actually one of the key habits for those trying to simplify their lives. If you can't say No, you will take on too much.

7. Limit your communications. Our lives are filled with a vast flow of communications: email, IM, cell phone, paper mail, Zoom, instagram, twitter, forums, and more. It can take up your whole day if you allow it. Instead, put a limit on your communications. Only do email at certain times of the day, for a certain number of minutes, for example. Limit phone calls. Do the same with other communications. Figure out what works best for you. Set a schedule and stick to it.

8. Limit your media consumption. However you consume media ie. TV, radio, internet, magazines, etc. remember it can dominate our lives. Simplify your life and your information consumption by limiting it. Try a media fast.

9. Purge your stuff. If you can devote a weekend to purging the stuff you don't want, it feels seriously terrific! Get boxes and trash bags for the stuff you want to donate or toss.

10. Dump the big items (extra cars, boats, summer homes, etc.) There's a ton of clutter in our lives, but it you start with big items, you'll simplify your life quickly and in a big way.

11. Edit your rooms. One room at a time, go around the room and eliminate the unnecessary. Act like a newspaper editor, trying to have only the minimum and deleting everything else. Then edit closets and drawers. Once you've gone through the main part of your rooms, tackle the closets and drawers, one drawer or shelf at a time.

12. Simplify your wardrobe. Is your closet bursting full? Are your drawers so stuffed they can't close? Simplify your wardrobe by getting rid of anything you don't actually wear. Try creating a minimal wardrobe by focusing on simple styles and a few solid colors that all match each other. Remember, you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time - get rid of the 80% you rarely wear.

13. Limit your purchasing habits. If you are a slave to materialism and consumerism, there are ways to escape it.

14. Learn to live frugally. Living frugally means buying less, wanting less, and leaving less of a footprint on the earth. It's directly related to simplicity. Learn what "enough" is. Our materialistic society is about getting more and more stuff, with no end in sight. You can always buy more gadgets, more clothes, more shoes, etc. but when will you have enough? Most people don't know so they keep buying more. It's a never ending cycle. Get off the cycle by learning how much is enough and then stop when you get there. One fast way to learn this is by eliminating outside influences i.e. commercials, ads, etc. who work hard to convince you that you NEED these things or else you are a NOBODY! They feed you lots of lies.

15. Accumulate simple, meaningful EXPERIENCES in nature rather than purchasing costly trips or things. I had a friend many years ago who worked long hard hours so she could save enough money to take her family on an extravagant annual trip to Disney Land or Disney World, every year. In contrast, I didn't earn nearly the money she did but I looked forward to taking family and friends on a beautiful hike three times a week for about 3 - 4 hours/hike. These local hikes were always so beautiful and inspiring that I felt like I had been transported to the Swiss Alps. I was able to experience this three times every week!

I loved and continue to love my weekly adventure trips while my friend has one trip to anticipate each year. Obviously whatever works for each person but it helped me realize how much I LOVE spending less money on experiences and more time in nature with those I love. I'm not fond of working so hard for a single annual trip as much as simple, basic experiences on a beach, in a park, on a mountain, etc.

16. Create a simple weekly dinner menu. If figuring out what's for dinner is a nightly stress for you or your family, consider creating a weekly menu. Decide on a week's worth of simple dinners, set a specific dinner for each night of the week, go grocery shopping for the ingredients. Now you know what's for dinner each night, and you have all the ingredients necessary. No need for difficult recipes - find ones that can be done in 10 - 15 minutes or less.

17. Eat healthy. It might not be obvious how eating healthy relates to simplicity, but think about the opposite; if you eat fatty, greasy, salty, sugary, fried foods all the time, you are sure to have higher medical needs over the long term. We could be talking years from now, but imagine frequent doctor visits, hospitalization, going to the pharmacist, getting therapy, having surgery, taking insulin get the idea. Being unhealthy has plenty of complications. Eating healthy simplifies your entire life in a big way - especially the long term benefits.

18. Exercise. This goes along the same lines as eating healthy, as it simplifies your life. It will help you get back to the basics, eliminate stress, increase happiness in your mood, etc. I could spend all day talking in detail about the daily benefits of regular, daily exercise (even 30 minutes a day) in ALL areas of your life - socially, financially, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

19. Declutter before organizing. Many people make the mistake of taking a cluttered desk, filing cabinet, closet or drawer and trying to organize it. Unfortunately, that's not only hard to do, it keeps things complicated. Simplify the process by getting rid of as much of the junk as possible, and then organizing it. If you declutter enough, you won't need to organize at all.

20. Create a place for everything. Age-old advice, but it's the best advice on keeping things organized but ONLY after you declutter.

21. Single-task. Multi-tasking is more complicated, more stressful, and generally less productive. Instead, do one task at a time. (My personal secret since my mind wanders a million directions all at once - if possible, play some uplifting, inspiring, soft music to focus on while doing a task. For me this keeps me present and in the moment. Discover what works for you so you can be mindful and live in and enjoy the moment and NOT always living in the past or the future.

22. Simplify your filing system. There are many high-tech options of doing this now. In the past I would use pieces of scrap paper with thoughts and notes about everything I was thinking about. I am super grateful for technology. On my smart phone I have my calendar, schedule, notes, photos, thoughts, contacts, and so much more. Being able to eliminate stacks of papers with all of these things on them is a HUGE blessing for me! It doesn't need to be complicated. Create a simple system that works for you.

23. Make a Most Important Tasks (MITs)list each day. Set just 3 very important things you want to accomplish each day. Don't start with a long list of things you probably won't get done by the end of the day. A simple list of 3 things, ones that would make you feel like you accomplished something.

24. Create morning and evening routines. A great way to simplify your life is to create routines at the start and end of your day.

25. Go for quality, not quantity. Try not to have a ton of stuff in your life... instead, have just a few possessions, but ones that you really love, and that will last for a long time.

26. Fill your day with simple pleasures. Make a list of your favorite simple pleasures, and sprinkle them throughout your day.

27. Fill your life with a variety of friends who value things that you value. This is my secret weapon to my success.. This is the key to my success in all that I have wanted to excel in. If you are surrounded by supportive, encouraging friends you will SUCCEED! I'm speaking from experience. That's what has happened to me. You only need ONE thing in common with each other so don't expect to find everything you want in ONE single person. Because this system has been so successful for me for many years, I am on a mission to help others experience this same thing - connect with others who want the same kind of success as I've had. For example, I have skiing friends, hiking friends, game night friends, biking friends, playing the piano friends, guitar friends, adventure travel friends, ping pong friends, Bible study/scripture friends, declutter friends, real estate friends, cleaning friends, garden friends, attorney friends, car repair friends, alternative medical friends, walking friends, farm friends, frugal friends, healthy eating friends, etc. My list of friends is very long. My life is RICH because of this.

It's not hard to acquire lots of friends.

First: you must be a good friend yourself.

Second: you must know what kind of friends are you looking for. Visit my website to see the type of people I am most attracted to. If you can relate, then come often to my outings, classes, trips and events and start meeting the most amazing people also!

28. ASK!!! I have learned a lot from watching how my son and daughter in law have taught their two daughters how to ask for what they want. They may not get it but they'll for sure not get it if they don't ask. For example, my two granddaughters love dogs but they can't get one of their own because they rent a condo that doesn't allow dogs. However, they have learned to ask the dog owner, for example, if they may pet their dog when they are in a park. The answer may be no, but they realize that in advance and don't cry about it. They simply think about what it is they want and then ask for it. I am a very good resource. Ask me if there is something you want. I have a lot of resources and connections.

29. Learn to use your Smart Phone to keep track of all your resources/contacts. Watch for upcoming online classes about how to do this. Text or email me if you have an interest in this class and I may post it sooner than later. On my Adventure Trips I host, I teach clients how to use this powerful tool.


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