The 10 Most Important Things to Simplify in Your Life


The 10 Most Important Things to Simplify in Your Life

by joshua becker

"Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature." – Thomas Kempis

Simplicity brings balance, freedom, and joy. When we begin to live simply and experience these benefits, we begin to ask the next question, "Where else in my life can i remove distraction and simply focus on the essential?"

Based on our personal journey, our conversations, and our observations, here is a list of the 10 most important things to simplify in your life today to begin living a more balanced, joyful lifestyle:

  1. Your Possessions - Too many material possessions complicate our lives to a greater degree than we ever give them credit. They drain our bank account, our energy, and our attention. They keep us from the ones we love and from living a life based on our values. If you will invest the time to remove nonessential possessions from your life, you will never regret it. For further reading on this, consider Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life.
  2. Your Time Commitments – Most of us have filled our days full from beginning to end with time commitments: work, home, kid's activities, community events, religious endeavors, hobbies… the list goes on. When possible, release yourself from the time commitments that are not in line with your greatest values.
  3. Your Goals – Reduce the number of goals you are intentionally striving for in your life to one or two. By reducing the number of goals that you are striving to accomplish, you will improve your focus and your success rate. Make a list of the things that you want to accomplish in your life and choose the two most important. When you finish one, add another from your list.
  4. Your Negative Thoughts – Most negative emotions are completely useless. Resentment, bitterness, hate, and jealousy have never improved the quality of life for a single human being. Take responsibility for your mind. Forgive past hurts and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
  5. Your Debt – If debt is holding you captive, reduce it. Start today. Do what you've got to do to get out from under its weight. Find the help that you need. Sacrifice luxury today to enjoy freedom tomorrow.
  6. Your Words – Use fewer words. Keep your speech plain and honest. Mean what you say. Avoid gossip.
  7. Your Artificial Ingredients – Avoid trans fats, refined grain (white bread), high-fructose corn syrup, and too much sodium. Minimizing these ingredients will improve your energy level in the short-term and your health in the long-term. Also, as much as possible, reduce your consumption of over-the-counter medicine – allow your body to heal itself naturally as opposed to building a dependency on substances.
  8. Your Screen Time – Focusing your attention on television, movies, video games, and technology affects your life more than you think. Media rearranges your values. It begins to dominate your life. And it has a profound impact on your attitude and outlook. Unfortunately, when you live in that world on a consistent basis, you don't even notice how it is impacting you. The only way to fully appreciate its influence in your life is to turn them off.
  9. Your Connections to the World - Relationships with others are good, but constant streams of distraction are bad. Learn when to power off the blackberry, log off facebook, or not read a text. Focus on the important, not the urgent. A steady flow of distractions from other people may make us feel important, needed, or wanted, but feeling important and accomplishing importance are completely different things.
  10. Your Multi-Tasking - Research indicates that multi-tasking increases stress and lowers productivity. while single-tasking is becoming a lost art, learn it. Handle one task at a time. Do it well. And when it is complete, move to the next.

{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

Manjinder Singh Khosa May 4, 2012 at 1:34 am

Well written.

I guess life was always meant to be simple but this modernisation and the passion to become rich/famous/successful has made this aspect to take a back seat.

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Kubicko May 4, 2012 at 6:02 am

Totally true. ;)

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scarlybarly! May 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm

helelleleoo meeloooooo have a good dY!

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Sean Brant May 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Really liked the article. Thank you.

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asad khan May 10, 2012 at 3:31 am

yes the life is very beutiful so many things depends in the life

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Liz Weatherby May 11, 2012 at 12:26 am

Great thoughts, suggestions the best part has to be doing them. I don't just want to read it and feel how good it sounds. I want to practise it and then see how good I feel :-)

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Peter Andersen May 12, 2012 at 1:19 am

What kind of ethics is that: to transfer your crap to others and even making money out of it. To reduce the amount of crap, scrap it instead.

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Nate May 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm

You bought all of your crap in the first place, why not get a little something back for it? If someone wants to buy it let 'em.

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Katie Brewis May 17, 2012 at 2:29 am

It is amazing how what one views as crap can be anothers treasure…at an amazing price too.

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Peter Andersen May 17, 2012 at 6:50 am

Is minimalism about aesthetics and/or ethics? The aesthetic aspect seems to deal with the crap in your life and to possess only what is essential. If you think all others should dump their crap the aesthetics of minimalism becomes normative.
But what is the ethics of minimalism? At least one aspect must – it seems to me – be altruism. To make a community work there must be altruism – even reciprocal altruism. Is money important to a minimalist – if not, then give away your crap or even destroy it. It is nothing worth to you and it is unethical to trap others with your crap even if they pay for it.
But maybe I am wrong. Maybe minimalism is anarchic!

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scarlybarly! May 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm

the world is a beautiful place if you beliiieevevevev ! but that probs wont happen x

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AdrianX August 21, 2012 at 4:05 am

the value come from perception. let's say my ipod / watch / stereo system is crap for me right now but for another person it may worth something because they need it to improve something in their lives with that thing. Maybe by decluttering your place by selling things you can also get some money to afford a vacation and enjoy their depart with much more pleasure. After all, there are money you spent when they meant something but you should not just toss that away.

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Linda Pinda August 4, 2012 at 8:10 am

Seems like you're not reading the words being written here. He is making it clear the minimalism has to be personalized for each different home. It is supposed to focus on what is important to you. So, if my DVD collection of disney movies is no longer needed because my children are grown, it makes sense to get rid of it. It also makes sense to give or sell it to a family with small children who will enjoy the time they spend together on Friday night movie nights, as we did when ours were little. It's only "crap" to own things you do not use. If someone else can use it, it is valuable. That's the whole point.

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Frank|Modern Monkey Mind May 18, 2012 at 10:05 am

Love this Joshua! Thank you for all the great writing you do.

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Robbie May 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Great article, time to refocus for the judgetribe.

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Erik Johnson May 29, 2012 at 10:25 am

Great general guidelines to follow. Thank you!

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Scott June 5, 2012 at 10:18 am

That's a very good article! Thanks for writing and sharing it!

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Bonnie Jo June 9, 2012 at 7:36 am

Thank you – I enjoyed this very much and have bookmarked it as a reminder to myself. Funny that I am using screen time to minimize and I need to minimize my screen time. :)

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unnikrishnan .a June 12, 2012 at 9:38 pm

simplicity , as mentioned is very important aspect to be happy in life. unwanted complications and material aquisitions are not as we percieved in the beginning. it will
work as a clutter and spoil the beauty of life. Also it leads to defocussing the real life.

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Frank|Modern Monkey Mind June 20, 2012 at 10:00 am

Josh, I've been reading through your archives the last day or two and really enjoying it. Thank you for all your great work!

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Raj July 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

Always great to learn such valued things in life !! Good Job.

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sri July 12, 2012 at 8:35 am

Absolutely true ! I loved it..Goes to my fav's :-)

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starling July 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm

This article puts into words what I've been thinking on for months – maybe years! – now. But all this time I've been struggling to find balance and I'm beginning to realize that there is no real way to achieve this – at least for me. There is only the necessity to rid my mind (and household, of course) of some very burdensome things – like too many goals. The hardest part is letting those goals, sometimes called dreams, die. Sometimes these are the things one knows perfectly well are only getting in the way of living happily IN THE MOMENT, and fully appreciating the gifts this life has already given us. How to do this is painfully difficult.
Whether these dreams/goals can one day be resurrected is always a possibility. But – at least for me – I have to believe that these possibilities or gone, or I'll never move on.
Anyway, This is a great starter list and shows that minimalism is so much more than just getting rid of excess knick-knacks. Its a way of life that I look forward to achieving.
Cheers.

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Kumo88 July 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Strange or not i have always thought like this , this morning i decided to search this just for fun . In reality i dislike TV , only good programs are Discovery Channel , NG and CNN and i watch from time to time . I dont watch movies , new ones from last years are boring , last movie i watched was Thor in 2011 . I love fruites . Dislike geting to atatchet to objects and ppl . I enjoy walking in the park . Have only the main things that i like . I dont colect stuff .

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AdrianX August 21, 2012 at 4:12 am

you should give this a thought : maybe it's good to attach to people, not in a possession meaning of course . It's nice to feel good between other people and beauty of nature. After all we are all connected at a quantum level but at some point in time we lost the way to sense it. We just glimpse the sensation to be whole with the world sometimes but maybe with practice this can be a permanent sense.

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Biken Shrestha July 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Awesome Article .

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antu halder sbmc August 1, 2012 at 1:32 am

facebook

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deepak August 6, 2012 at 3:16 am

hats off wordings

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Joshua Tilghman August 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I have personally seen number one on the list ruin the end of a family member's life. Great list, thanks!

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AdrianX August 21, 2012 at 4:13 am

great, that's all to say. thanks

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surfer August 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm

You are absolutely right. I guess people in America or in any other affluent nation has especially better listen to your teaching. The pursuit of materialism is actually killing us all eventaully.

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Jason Harvey August 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

It is so true what you wrote about Multi-Tasking; it is refreshing to see another anti multi-tasking! I can not count how my job adds continue to request that candidates are excellent multi-taskers. They should be looking for candidates that can focus and prioritize what tasks are most import instead of just wanting them to try to do everything at once.

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subrata debnath August 28, 2012 at 12:37 pm

well said…wish i could bring these changes in me as soon as possible.

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Ramesh Chowdary September 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm

cleen mind and beautiful thinks are grow life

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sachin kawachale September 9, 2012 at 4:04 am

Life is nothing but only changes either it may good or worse !

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Mengie September 20, 2012 at 10:48 am

Now I understand why people always say "I wish I would be like my kids, they seem no stress and always happy, even if they are upset this moment, the next minute I will see them smile and laugh again!!"

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