Calgary Communities

Calgary Communities

Simplifying Your Life
January 19, 2011

By Celeste Robichaud

Doesn’t it seem like most people, when asked “How are you?” respond with, “I’m so busy.”

We have so many conveniences these days that it seems as though our lives should be less busy, complicated and stressful. It seems as though our lives have become just the opposite. Stress and stress related diseases are at an all time high and are affecting the population at a younger age. I’m going to offer you a few simple tips to reduce your stress and simplify your life. I will warn you that it won’t be easy. The trade off for a life of reduced stress will involve sacrificing some of your habits and activities that have become comfortable.

For starters, some of the major time wasters in a day are the following:


1)      Unproductive internet surfing (ie. looking up the latest Hollywood gossip or Television trivia)

2)      Watching TV

3)      Social Networking Sites (Facebook and Twitter)

That’s not to say to avoid the above activities all together but be aware of how much time that you’re engaging in doing them. Perhaps put a limit on how much internet or TV time that you have in a day or week and stick with it. You’ll be amazed at how much time you free up for other more productive activities.

Look at your calendar, to do list and list of commitments during a given day, week or month and examine them with the following factors in mind:


  • Importance / Urgency – some items may be important and / or urgent whether you want them in your life or not. This will include picking up a sick child, taking the car to the mechanic, grocery shopping, banking, etc. If items are neither important nor urgent, re-evaluate their presence in your life. If it’s an activity that you enjoy such as reading, knitting, scrapbooking, etc. then it should be left in your life as it is important to do things that you enjoy as they add value and relaxation to your life. If an item is none of the above than make every effort to cut the task or appointment out of your life.
  • Relationships – there are certain relationships that you can’t get away from like co-workers and family but if you have family members that consistently cause drama or make demands on you then limit your time with them as they are an energy drain. Re-evaluate friendships. Some friendships are meant to be seasonal. If it is no longer a relationship that is satisfying to you then re-evaluate the amount of time that you give the relationship. Spend your time with friends and family who can fill you up emotionally to charge you up and inspire you for another day or week.
  • Work – we live in a society where so many people work long and grueling hours. Assess the number of hours that you put in at work. Also, assess if you are someone that brings your work home with a cell phone and / or laptop. Assess if you can delegate work out to a colleague or subordinate. Also, consider leaving the laptop at the office or turning off the cell phone for one or two nights a week.
  • Recreation Time – People with busy schedules often cut out their recreation time first in favor of accomplishing more. This is actually more counter-productive than productive. The mind, body and soul need time to play (Yes, even as adults) in order to keep balance, sanity and perspective. Don’t discount recreation time in your weekly activities. Be sure to schedule one entire day or at least an evening for a recreational activity during your week. The most important part of this is to enjoy the activity and not feel guilty about it.

Quick and Easy Simplification Tips


1)      Get rid of (or at least reduce) commitments that you do out of obligation.

2)      Create a weekly meal plan.

3)      Automate your finances using automatic withdrawal on bill payments and automatic deposit for cheques.

4)      Purge as much unneeded clutter as possible from your home and office.  Declutter before organizing. Keep your home clean and organized. Have a place for everything.

5)      Keep your desk / office clean and organized. Simplify your filing system.

6)      Make your house minimalist. Find other ways to be minimalist.

7)      Learn to say no to things that you are unable or unwilling to do.

8)      Create an organizing system that works for you.

9)      Unsubscribe from emails, newsletters or RSS feeds that don’t provide value anymore.

10)   Let go of the self-imposed need to be perfect.

11)   Finish old tasks before taking on new ones.

12)   Focus on one thing at a time.

13)   Store new garbage bags at the bottom of your garbage can.

14)   Limit what you buy. The more items you have the more things that you need to maintain including boats, cars, electronics, etc.

15)   Exercise to reduce stress, increase health and productivity and help you sleep better.

16)   Try to do all your shopping in one stop, such as at a shopping supercenter. Make a list before you go and stick to it to reduce impulse purchases.

17)   Learn to delegate tasks to a family member, friend, co-worker, if possible.

18)   Live within your financial means to reduce stress and wasted time and energy trying to balance your budget.

19)   Simplify your wardrobe to reduce time spend on ironing, dry cleaning, and coordinating outfits.

20)   Try to downsize your house, car or other major items in your life.

21)   Make sleep a priority. Studies have shown that 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night is required in order for a person to be rested and productive as well as to maintain health and immunity.


The most important thing about simplifying your life is to enjoy the fruit of your efforts and to give you time to stop and be still; time to smell the roses both literally and figuratively. The goal behind simplification is finding the joy that each of us long for. Joy is not in the doing it’s in the journey. 


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