A complicated life creates stress.
I try to take on too much. I worry about unnecessary things. I spread myself too thin wanting to do more and more and more.
I lack the focus, time and energy for those things that matter the most to me.
Simplicity has always been the solution.
The best way I have found to get from complexity to simplicity is through asking focusing questions.
Everything starts with one thing. Narrowing down on what matters and what can be done to address an issue.
Often we don’t take the steps we need to take because it seems like such a monumental task.
So, ask these questions to create the clarity you need to get started on one thing.
One thing at a time…
Think about what is currently causing you continual stress or bother. What are you losing sleep over? What about the way you live right now do you know is holding you back, even if you don’t want to admit it?
Make a list of all of them.
Here are my main ones:
I’m not selling enough of my books.
I’m not stretching my social skills.
I haven’t sold my expensive printer.
I have a highly sensitive tooth.
You will find that just by listing out those issues, you will already feel your stress decreasing. You have clarity, and you might be surprised at how few things need addressing in reality.
Then narrow down on one thing.
Just one. Not three or six.
The more it continually bugs you, the more of a priority it should be.
Yeah, that thing. You know exactly what I’m talking about.
Call it out. Verbalise what it is in detail. Write it down.
Here’s the question to address the above:
Q1) What is one thing you can you do to either eliminate or improve this problem that matters more than anything?*
*It might be that the problem was never a problem in the first place and that what you needed was to give yourself a break and be more compassionate for who you are.
In other cases — and your gut will tell you — they need to be confronted.
Do that thing right away.
Devote time to doing this. Make it a priority.
Life is about dealing with problems that we have control over. Simplicity is about dealing with not only physical clutter but mental clutter.
Do not allow things to nag and niggle at you continually.
It’s time to call that issue out by name and (fucking) deal with it!
Your joy is counting on it.
Q2) What is one object I own that I can sell or get rid of that would make me feel at least 1% better?
Put it on the market for sale, arrange to give it away, or throw it away. Do this today.
I’m serious. Do this right now.
Q3) What is a subscription, expense, bill or regular payment to which I am tied that I do not need that I could cut?
Most of us don’t want to confront these things because it is complicated.
Just find one.
Do it now or get someone else to do it. One at a time.
Q4) What is one active project, job, venture, side-hustle, to-do list item, errand — were I to cut it out completely — would make life easier?
Choose one and cut it now. If you already addressed this in a previous question, do it with the next thing.
Do this knowing that you will have more time and energy to focus on the things that matter more at this phase in your life.
No one said this would be easy.
End it. You can pick it up later if you absolutely must.
Q5) What is one relationship you have with someone that is hurting you that you need to address?
If people are causing you continual stress, lack of confidence, drained energy, and you are in a position to do so, cut them out of your life.
You need courage for this, but it’s easier when you remind yourself that life is short, and you cannot allow someone else to make you feel worse for more time than is necessary.
View bad people like bad habits. Some — if there is absolutely nothing that can be done for remedying the situation and working on an issue — need to be dropped, and, rather than hopping on the next bad habit/person, replaced with a habit or person that is better for you.
Sometimes, just by focusing on better people, those who never mattered will fade into the background anyway.
The other option is to improve your relationship with people:
It could be that what is bothering you is that a relationship needs an injection of care. You need to do a better job of keeping in touch: call or check in with someone, or just work on a rift that can be remedied.
Learn to love yourself and to see the good in people. A lot of our issues with other people stem from our negative self-judgement.
Confront the issue with them gently, reasonably, verbally. Arrange a time to speak with them and come to an agreement that benefits both of you.
Get training on dealing with the relationship (or future relationships) better, like parental guidance. We are all capable of change.
The exact same thing applies to bad habits.
It could be something you do that gives you short term pleasure, but — overall — makes you feel worse, like watching the news, smoking, drinking too much, gambling, etc.
In all cases, these are relationships you have with people, activities and things, and if they are harmful, dealing with them will simplify your life.
Pick a person or a habit and come up with a clear strategy on improving that situation today.
Your energy and happiness is counting on this decision.
Many of these questions can be asked repeatedly, but the power lies in their narrowing down on single issues that can be addressed one step at a time.
Now go and tidy your home and workspace. Marie Kondo needs you, and you need her.
Many are saying how much my Book of Lift planner simplifies their daily life and makes them feel more in control.
If you have 10.9 seconds, I’d love to hear what you think, in the comments below.
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