For my husband’s graduate degree, we moved to the Midwest. After four years of college on the bench of the Rocky Mountains, we found ourselves surrounded by miles and miles of cornfields, not a hill in sight—much less a mountain.
It wasn’t long before we felt the pull.
The tug toward an elevated point of view. We’d gotten used to being able to hike or drive to amazing vista points. But now, the highest view we could find was from the tiny, awkwardly placed windows of the Notre Dame campus library. 😉
There’s just something about being higher than normal that makes you see your life with fresh eyes. Most of our big decisions as a couple had been made from that vantage point.
Should we get married? Where should we go to grad school? When should we have kids?
Get us to a mountain, and bam—decision made!
My husband and I recently went hiking north of the Golden Gate Bridge. We’ve come a long way since our newlywed days spent pining away for a decent view while surrounded by fields of endless white snow.
We held hands with our three children and argued about how to safely get our 3-year-old up the steepest section. 😉 But once we made it—once we were finally watching the sun melt into a fog-covered ocean—the feeling we got while taking in the view was just the same as it has always been.
Always and forever, getting a view will be one of the best ways I know of to simplify my life, because it helps me click my priorities back into place.
But of course, dashing up a mountain isn’t always an option. And sometimes the stress and busyness of life build until you know you need to do SOMEthing or lose your marbles once and for all.
For those times, here are 10 low-input, high-yield ways to simplify your life (and keep your sanity):
10 Low-Input, High-Yield Ways to Simplify Your Life
1. Know your values
Admittedly, this is more of an investment than anything else on this list. But I couldn’t not include it because of how essential it is to living a simplified life. When you know your values (your why), it is exponentially easier to let other good things fall to the side. If you’re not immediately clear on what you prioritize over everything else, I suggest writing a personal or family purpose statement.
2. Do a thought download
Write out everything bouncing around in your head. You don’t have to address all of the problems or correct your negative thought loops; you just need to get it all out. It’s a simple exercise to much clearer thoughts.
3. Practice the 1-minutes rule
Anything you can get done in one minute, do. Pick up the stray Lego you keep passing on the stairs, put a digital file into the right folder, etc.
4. Learn to prioritize quality over quantity
Both with belongings and experiences.
“Owning less is far more beneficial than organizing more.” Joshua Becker
5. Use things up and wear them out before buying a replacement
Not only is this mindful of earth’s resources and the pull consumerism has on us, it’s also a time saver. The more use you get out of something, the less time you’ll spend shopping for something new.
5. Make a designated place in your home for items to be donated
You might be surprised at what a difference this small trick makes.
6. Clean up your inbox and desktop
Why does this clear up so much room in my head?! I don’t know, but it works.
7. Set alarms on your phone for any positive habits you want to develop
Taking vitamins or medication, drinking water, stepping on the scale… A simple alarm lets you to keep things OUT of your mind until the reminder pops up.
8. Streamline your wardrobe.
Buy only what you love, keep only what you really wear, etc.
9. Believe that your worth isn’t based on your productivity
You don’t need to run as fast as the mom next-door. Productivity isn’t everything; your worth is inherent.
10. Get a view
“Everything seems simpler at a distance.” Gail Tsukiyama
I hope this list helps you live a little more like you would from the top of a mountain. (Even if you’re surrounded by cornfields or snow.)
For more, check out my 52 obtainable ways to simplify your life, which includes ideas under topics like mental clarity, health & food, home organization, technology, and more. (If you want to really go BIG, you could choose one item per week to focus on during 2017!)