Tim Ferriss got me hooked on the idea of simplifying your life. The last few years have been a little on the chaotic side. I worked a lot, experimented and tried a lot different things, overcommitted a lot, and learned a lot.
That’s what your 20s are for, right? We’re supposed to go wild, have fun, see where we fit in in the adult world, learn from others, make mistakes, and do what we can to make our mark on the world.
But right now, I need to simplify my life – Tim Ferriss style. He is the king of lifestyle design. If you haven’t read his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, I highly recommend that you do. You definitely don’t have to simplify and optimise your life to the point where you only need to work 4 hours a week, but it really makes you think.
Some of my favourite lessons from The 4-Hour Workweek that are currently helping me simplify my life are:
Outsource where you can, so you’ll have fewer things on your to-do list and more time available for the important stuff.
Selective ignorance is key. I only have 24 hours a day and definitely don’t have time to consume all the information out there. I can’t read all the books and know all the things. You need to be selective about what information you do consume and what you are happy to ignore.
Focus on the 20% of things that bring you 80% of the results. This is based on Pareto’s 80/20 distribution law. If you look at your productive efforts, and you can identify what tasks are taking up 80% of your time but only bringing you 20% of the results, then you can start to shift your focus to the 20% that bring you 80% of your results and eliminate or delegate the tasks that were wasting your valuable time.
How Can You Simplify Your Life?
Chaos can manifest itself in many ways. There are many areas of your life that you can simplify. Here are some great ways I suggest:
Clean Up and Simplify Your Schedule
A cluttered and over full schedule can make you anxious and end up paralysing you and making you procrastinate, or you can do everything on your packed to-do list like the superhuman you are and end up burning out. You can simplify your schedule and limit the number of tasks you can put on it to 3 or 5.
Examine Your Skincare Routine
You don’t need a 25-step skincare routine. I used to try every beauty treatment possible and had a lot of steps in my skincare routine. This made me skip it many nights because I was too lazy, and at times, it ended up making my skin worse because it was irritated. Lately, I’ve been into gentle skincare and only have a 3-step skincare routine.
Simplify Your Wardrobe
If you’re wasting time every day trying to pick what to wear because you have too many options, why not simplify your wardrobe? You can just get rid of as many clothing items as possible, so you have fewer posts to choose from, even to the point where you basically wear the same thing every day like minimalist, Matt D’Avella. You don’t have to be that extreme. You can set up some rules for getting dressed you want to follow. Anna Wintour likes to follow a simple rule. Every morning, when she gets ready for work, she just grabs one of her print dresses. A simple rule, but it makes choosing what to wear a lot easier. I like to play a game where I put on the first thing in my closet that catches my eye. I don’t want to spend more than 30 seconds choosing what to wear.
Simplify Your Goals
If you’re like me and tend to set too many goals for yourself at once, you can simplify your life by limiting the number of goals you set at a time. It’s something I’m still working on. I tend to get a little over ambitious, but we’ll get there.
I think 3 to 5 goals at a time should be the limit, at least for me.
Don’t Overcomplicate Your Diet
You don’t need to follow some complicated diet that requires you to take a lot of supplements and remember a lot of information. Just stick to nutrient-dense whole foods and cut out any processed foods and plant foods that don’t agree with you. If you want a really simple, nutrient-dense diet, you can even try the carnivore diet or just an animal-based diet.
You might think that your ability to multitask is a superpower, but it just complicates things and makes it hard to focus on one thing.
This will be hard if you’re a compulsive multitasker, like me, but over time, you can train yourself to multitask less. I started by trying to just do one or two things a day without multitasking. Quitting cold turkey is not going to work for me.
For example, for the first week, you can try to stop multitasking while you have your breakfast. The second week, you could try to not multitask while cooking. You get the idea.
Simplify Your Relationships
One of the most impactful ways you can simplify your life is by looking at your relationships. Complicated relationships with partners, family members, friends, and colleagues can clutter your mind and add unnecessary stress and chaos to your life. Perhaps you need to have some tough conversations with someone, maybe you have to move on from a relationship or friendship, or maybe you just need to spend more time with people that support and uplift you, and make you feel valuable.
You can definitely try to simplify your relationships, which, in my opinion, could have the biggest impact on your health, happiness, and overall quality of life.
Go More Minimalist
Do you have too much clutter? (link) Do you need to clean and organise your space? I don’t know if you’ve seen the minimalism documentaries on Netflix by Ryan Nicodemus, Joshua Fields Millburn, and Matt D’Avella.
For me, discovering minimalism has been life changing. I am in awe of how these guys have simplified their lives. If you don’t buy as much stuff, you’ll have more money for really important things, and you will own less stuff that can make your space look chaotic.
Less clutter and a clean space can reduce anxiety, make you feel better about yourself, and make you feel proud of your space.
You don’t have to go full minimalist, but adopting some of the principles of minimalism will not only help you simplify your life now, but help you maintain a simpler life for years to come.
Practice Digital Minimalism
One could argue that social media has complicated our lives quite a bit. For years, I tried to post regularly and social media became a big part of my life. But it was a big distraction and I realised that it took me away from the things that mattered the most to me. I wasn’t writing blog posts as often as I wanted to. I didn’t have time.
I stopped posting on social media recently.
Do you have any idea how many blog posts I’ve written ever since? Do you know how much time I suddenly had available to do what I love? Not only was trying to come up with content and posting time consuming, but looking at what other people are doing took a lot of my time too. I never felt good enough.
But I decided to stop and focus on my biggest goal, which is to become the best health writer I possibly can. And the only way I can do that is if I simplify my life enough, so that I can focus on my most important goal.
This brings me to my next point.
Try to Limit Chaos to a Few Areas of Your Life
There will always be some sort of chaos in life, but I like the idea of trying to simplify as many areas of your life as possible, so that you have the mental and emotional capacity to handle more chaos in your work or your workouts and to take on whatever you’re working on that’s hard.
When I was younger, I thought that if I settled down early, it would hold me back from having a successful career. But the opposite happened. I always dreamt that I would study after school, travel the world, meet someone in my late 20s, and get married around 30. That’s what high school version of me expected.
But then I met my husband, Jonathan, just before my 21st birthday. It’s safe to say his arrival forced me to change my life plan. I ended up getting married at 24.
Before Jonathan, I would spend evenings talking to eligible bachelors and spent many a weekend going on dates that ended badly. Now I spend weekends working on my side projects or just having fun with friends and family. At night, while Jonathan is working on one of his projects, I get to work on my own.
I’m able to spend more mental energy on trying to move forward in my career just because I’m not caught up in the chaos of the dating world.
But it doesn’t really matter if you’re married or single, the point is that I saw the power of simplifying one area of my life. There are a lot of things we can simplify in life to allow us to work harder on our most important goals.
If you sort out your finances and pay off your debt, you won’t spend as much time worrying about financial stuff.
If you do a social audit, you might find that there are some people you spend a lot of time with that are actually draining your energy. Maybe you can spend less time with them and rather spend that time with people that energise and uplift you.
These were just a few suggestions on how you can simplify your life. I’m sure there are 1000 more, but trying them all would be too complicated, and for the sake of simplicity, I recommend you focus on simplifying one thing at a time.