Health + wellbeing

The Slow Movement: Simplify your life

- January 12, 2009 2 MIN READ

Why do so many of us work too hard, live too fast and feel as though there are never enough hours in the day? Making a change to a slower, quieter, less busy life is a choice, but one which is within reach of all of us.

Giving up a life of speed is a bit like quitting smoking – until you are ready to commit, your chances of success are low.

How do you go about slowing down and simplifying life?

Here are three strategies to simplify your life.

1. Recognise that less is more

Often, we think we need more help to save time (housekeepers, cooks, gardeners etc), when we actually need fewer problems. If you’ve never had an urge to clean out your stuff, you are missing out on one of the easiest and most effective ways to simplify your life.

Removing clutter works on a physical and mental level. Uncluttered surroundings do equal an uncluttered mind. Try tossing out those photos you’ve not looked at for 20 years, keeping only one or two. Try shaving half an hour off the start and end time of your day. You may be surprised to find you can get through the same amount of work without noticing.

2. Learn to say the Magic Word: No

Get comfortable saying no to things. This is a great way to feel in control of your life, so determine what your priorities are and say no to everything else.

Practice is the key. Here are a few things I’d say no to right off the bat: 

  • unrealistic client expectations; 
  • functions (family and work) you don’t want to go to; 
  • meetings; and 
  • volunteering on committees.

You get the picture. This doesn’t make you selfish, it means you are consciously choosing how to spend your time, not having others make that decision for you.

Want more articles like this? Check out the health-and-wellbeing section.

3. Streamline your possessions

DVD players, coffee grinders, multiple telephones, computers, digital cameras and so on are must have items these days. The trouble is, the more we have the more we want.

And the more we have, the harder we have to work to pay for our new toys. New gadgets also take up time – installing, troubleshooting, learning how to use them. None of us need things that take up more time!

Go through your house and look at everything you have that you haven’t used for 12 months or more. If it’s not sentimental and doesn’t add real value to your life, then simplify your life and get rid of it! You’re not using it anyway.

Follow these three tips and you’re on your way to a more simple life. You may find you’ve freed up some headspace and time for further thought – time away from the busyness and the business to get reacquainted with who you are and what’s important to you.