Living an intentional value-driven life is my utmost priority in life. Our values will be different person to person and even as we move season to season in life. One thing I always have in the forefront in the decision making hallways of my brain is this –simplicity. Keeping things simple is so important to me. I am a very ambitious person who tends to lean toward over-achieving yet I crave simplicity. Traveling to different countries and learning about different cultures has influenced my perspective on this. In the US, I feel like it is so easy to get wrapped up in material possessions, ideas, commitments and more that just DON’T matter. Adding all of this “extra” to our lives pushes out the benefits of simplicity. Now I am not saying that in order to seek and strive for simplicity that we have to forsake and forego all aspirations, dreams and desires of living an abundant life for a life of scarcity –simplicity is NOT scarcity…
Simplicity is the state or quality of being simple. The definition of simple is “easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty”. Scarcity is the state of being scarce or in short supply. The definition of scarce is “occurring in small numbers or quantities; rare”. When it comes to a scarcity mindset, we can begin to focus on how there is NOT ENOUGH and we seek to overcompensate. Don’t get me wrong, a scarcity mindset can overtake a simplicity mindset and bring us to a place of over-accumulation and over-consumption simply because we believe there is NOT ENOUGH. Simplicity on the other hand reminds us that there IS ENOUGH and that there will ALWAYS BE enough. It is in direct agreement with abundance. Simplicity is a way to trust that we can create a life that presents few difficulties based on decisions WE make for ourselves in order to create more EASE.
Here are 5 Ways to Live More Simply + Intentionally:
- Plan – Planning is not something we do to add complexity and rigor to our lives. It is a way that we can empty our thoughts in front of us and put them into particular action steps that help us to manage them outside of our heads. Planning is key to for me to live a more simple life because I can ensure that I am making the time for the things that genuinely matter to me. I understand that some people prefer NOT to plan. That is ok too. Planning helps us identify our goals. It allows us to prepare for our future and consider the impact we want to have while allowing our thoughts to be on the same page with our actions working toward a common goal and a shared purpose — yes, with ourselves.
- Batchtask – This is a way to accomplish specific tasks with intense focus and less distraction. Batchtasking is a way to be more mindful of the things that we have to do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. It is a way to ultimately be more productive and enjoy doing the very things we set out to do. We hear so much about “multi-tasking” and as popular as it is, multitasking reduces our efficiency and performance because our brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When we try to do two things at once, our brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully. Batchtasking allows us to increase our efficiency and performance because the brain is only meant to focus on one thing at a time. It allows us to get things done and get them done well — with intention.
- Limit social media – Social media can be used for good and there are many positives. The connection aspect is super important to many of us including me. However, we should not be using social media as a main way to “improve our life”. Research is showing that limiting social media (to less than 30 minutes a day) may lead to significant improvements in well-being. When we are not busy going down a social media rabbit hole, we are actually able to spend more time on things that not only make us feel better about our OWN lives but what actually MATTERS in our lives. Real life, real people and real things matter. If social media inspires you to be better and do better thenn you are hitting two birds with one stone, but caution is always required in this realm.
- Prioritize who and what is important – Making room for what matters most is summed up very well in the words of Maharishi Mahes Yogi, “Whatever we put our attention on will grow faster in life”. To me our attention is like the sunlight. It is there and shining down on the plants and nature. We may not see its affects immediately, but eventually a lack of or enough of it will create or wilt any signs of growth. We are the sun in our own life and what we prioritize as “important” makes a huge difference in our daily actions. Many people think our actions dictate what is important and yes this is generally true, but I would argue that our daily attention to certain aspects of our life and our routine habits manage our actions. Making room for what matters most starts within and our intentional decisions should dictate our energy, effort and actions in order to prioritize what is truly important in our lives.
- Set goals and action steps – Seekers of simplicity don’t have goals? NO not true! Now they may not be conventional goals or goals that others deem important, but that is not the same as NOT having goals. As a seeker of simplicity I am cutting out the noise that distracts me from creating my OWN goals and pushing aside what society, social media, tradition and influential people TELL me should be my goals. It is about ME writing my own story and forging my own path. It is about being a leader and not a follower. It is about creating a life that has purpose and makes impact. Despite craving a more simple life, I still have goals as they push me towards and keep me on track to a path of what truly matters. Setting goals helps to trigger new behaviors and helps guides our focus in order to sustain momentum in life — and momentum isn’t speed. It is about create space but also a pace that works for us in order to make the change and impact we desire. We do not have to go at another’s pace or speed. Setting these goals also help align our focus and promote a sense of self-mastery, because in the end we can’t improve upon what we don’t measure or properly manage. Simple living is full of creating space for JUST that…space to learn, grow and get better.
Intentional living is the foundation of simple living. Intentional living is the driver of decisions that we make in order to forge a path of ease. When we are intentional with decisions we make in our daily lives that align to our values we create a path of focus that forces us to swerve away from the things that we do not value the most. I choose to live more simply and intentionally each day and for me it is full of daily decisions that ultimately make my life more meaningful and purposeful.