3 Simple Concepts to Simplify Your Life

posted by Andrea | 09/25/2015
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simplify your life

The following is a re-post from a couple years ago that I’ve updated where necessary. I feel it’s a good post to re-share this time of year.

Everyone is extra busy with all the new programs, meetings, and events starting up for the new school year, and the holiday season will be here before we know it. 


In real life, I tend to be somewhat of  a chatter box (Dave will eagerly attest to this). However, on the blog, I try to keep my message short and sweet… as simple, as direct, as clear, and as straightforward as possible.

Sometimes I think the message might be overly simple — duh, we all know that already. So I’m always surprised by how many emails and comments I get on those overly-simple posts, saying things like

“I needed to hear that again today.”

“Thanks for the reminder.”

“I’ve heard this before, but it never made sense until today.”

Well, today is another one of those overly-simple messages that I KNOW you already know. You’ve heard it 100 times before, but maybe today will be the day you take action. Maybe today will be the day it makes sense. Maybe today, this message will be just the reminder you need to start simplifying your life.

If not, you’ll no doubt hear it from me again at some point — so there’s always next time, right? 🙂

These are 3 things I personally try to practice every day. They most definitely help to simplify my life, and I have a feeling they’ll help you too!

1. Plan Ahead

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that I’m a huge advocate for planning ahead — even more so now that I’m a mom.

Menu planning, top-5 to-do lists, cleaning, blogging, family vacations, holidays, etc. — they are all simpler when I plan ahead.

There are so many things we can NOT plan for or predict, so anything you can do in the present to make the future less stressful will ALWAYS help to simplify your life.

2. Do It Now

A.K.A. don’t procrastinate!

None of us will “do it now” 100% of the time, but I’ve been trying really hard to give myself deadlines and to do whatever I can do NOW so I don’t have to do it later.

Plus, by doing it now, I don’t have to THINK about it anymore. It’s out of my brain and off my to-do list. Win-win!

3. Don’t Worry about Perfect

I am not a perfectionist — not even close. I do like things to be done correctly, but I’m the type of person who wants to get things done as fast as I can and I’m almost always satisfied with “good enough”. I’m not saying this is the best, or the right, or the only way — but it does help me continually push forward, eliminate stress, and simplify my life.

In my years of working with different organizing clients, I found that MANY of my clients had strong perfectionist tendencies which prevented them from getting started. They were so worried about getting it “perfect” that they never started.

Perfectionism can be hard to push past, but just keep working on it! Remind yourself that “progress” not “perfection” is your ultimate goal. Remind yourself that all those “EST words” aren’t achievable.

You’re life will be so much simpler without the pressure of “perfect”.

So like I said, today’s message is ultra simple. I know you’ve heard this message before… but maybe today is the day you take action!

Do you have any other simple concepts that help you to simplify your life? 

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30 comments

  1. Catherine

    09/26/2015

    Thank you. This is just what I needed to read! And I love the other readers tips too.

    [Reply]

  2. Links Over a Long Weekend

    05/25/2013

    […] at the newly rebranded AndreaDekker.com, shared 3 Simple Concepts to Simply Your Life. I agree with and try to practice all of these steps. Plan ahead. Do it now. Don’t worry […]

  3. Patty@homemakersdaily

    05/07/2013

    Keep it simple! I’m not a perfectionist but sometimes I still make things harder than they need to be.

    [Reply]

  4. Melissa

    05/07/2013

    My addition to your list of great advice is:

    If it’s a big project, break it down into baby steps!

    About 3 weeks ago I was looking at a huge 10 shelf bookcase that I have that was overflowing with clutter, things that didn’t belong on it, etc and thought…oh man…that will take FOREVER. And so I kept avoiding it. I came to my senses after a little thought and decided the only way to fit it in to my schedule was to clear two shelves at a time every morning before work and dump it all on my bed. Doing it that way took all week to complete the job at 20-45 minutes an evening, but guess what? It got done. Had I waited for a big chunk of time and energy til I could do the whole thing at once it would still be sitting there waiting for my attention.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yay for finishing your huge job Melissa!
    I totally agree about breaking things down into baby steps — I guess I would just consider that a combination of “do it now” and “don’t worry about perfect”. For example, you were procrastinating because you wanted the whole project done at one time. Instead, I would say “do it now — and just do as much as you can” (which is what you ended up doing!) Don’t worry about completing the entire project (or achieving perfectly organized bookshelves in one day), just make as much progress as you can NOW and then do the same thing tomorrow.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    Jennifer Reply:

    I was thinking of adding the baby steps, too, so ditto that one. In fact, I’m looking at two floor to ceiling bookcases that need purging and straightening, just like Melissa’s above. What a good idea to unload one shelf every morning and tackle the stuff each evening. I thought of that before, but thought how funny it would look to company with some shelves neat and some messy. Well, hello, right now they’re looking at a whole mass of clutter! Duh!

    Just did the bottom two shelves of each bookcase. Aaaaahhh. Moving on up soon.

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    Thanks Andrea! 🙂 I didn’t think of baby steps as a combo of “do it now” and “don’t worry about perfect” but you are right. It is.

    Now that the monster bookcase has been dealt with I’ve moved on to a much smaller bookcase, which sounds like it should be easier, right? Lol. That one is a thousand times worse because it houses a whole lot of folders with a whole lot of paperwork that has to be gone through one sheet at a time. I have been working on it though a little at a time. I’m still on the first shelf, after probably 3 hours of work, but that one shelf is doing a bit better. Again, if I didn’t break this chore up, it would never get done at all (as evidenced by the 10 year old pay stubs I found on that shelf) lol.

    [Reply]

  5. Janice

    05/06/2013

    I love reading everything you have posted and daily look forward to your new thoughts. I am now a retired high school teacher and wish someone like you and blogging had been around when I first started housekeeping and teaching back in the 1970s. You are my favorite blogger! Your site is so easy to follow. Blessings on you.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Janice! I really appreciate your kind words!

    [Reply]

  6. Rhonda

    05/06/2013

    Great advice! I am good at the planning ahead…but I definitely need to work on the “do it now” part. I need to just jump in and try things. I have been trying some of your going green ideas. Using baby oil on my stainless steal worked great. Next, I am going to try the sunflower oil facial cleanser. Great ideas! Thanks.

    [Reply]

  7. Debbie

    05/06/2013

    Praying for your husbands school. We too lost a friend in a tragic accident this past week.
    She tripped and fell into the road while walking. The person who accidently hit her knew her as well. ugh So horrible! We all need to plan ahead and the bible even speaks of being prepared and working hard many times. We never know what our future holds. God is good and we are blessed. He knows the even bigger picture! Thanks for helping us all by your encouraging words of wisdom. People really need to simplify life and enjoy every moment, but be wise and take care of our personal business too so our loved ones don’t have too.

    On a lighter note a friend made fun of my old fashion calender at a church meeting. I told them don’t laugh as I showed them all that I accomplished and scratched off. 😉

    [Reply]

  8. Organize 365

    05/06/2013

    So perfect 🙂

    1. I put WAY too many things on my to do list today and was just thinking, “OK, what top 5 things HAVE to get done.”

    2. I called to replace our TV remote today – SO easy! Why did I wait 6 months?

    3. Done is better than perfect is my motto. Always has been.

    Great post!

    🙂
    Lisa

    [Reply]

  9. Suzanne

    05/06/2013

    I love your post today! One of the struggles I have most now, is that as a full-time working mom, I am finding that I always have a list of things I need to do. I’m also a do-it-now kind of person, so I find that once I get a task done, I’m on to a new one, and as busy as my schedule is already, I’m not left with time for myself or time to just relax. I end up filling any extra time getting more things done. I also love making plans for my son or with friends on the weekends, and then when it comes, I’m left feeling stressed because I already have so many regular chores that need to be done that by taking time for myself or family, I’m then left with things I need to do.

    No easy answer, is there?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Suzanne — one thing you could do is actually SCHEDULE time for yourself as one of your to-dos. I know this might sound odd, but I do this sometimes and it works really well. Even if it’s just “read for 15 minutes” or “fold laundry while watching ______ on TV”. By having it written on your list, you’ll probably be more likely to actually do it!

    [Reply]

    Organize 365 Reply:

    Andrea-

    That would be a great post. What do YOU do just for you? It’s even more important now that you are a mom!

    🙂
    Lisa

    [Reply]

    Candis Reply:

    O 365, I think that is a great idea. Even though I am not a mama, as a single, I still find that I struggle with taking time for myself!!!!

    And I subscribe to your blog 🙂 love it!!!

    [Reply]

    Patty@homemakersdaily Reply:

    When my kids were little, I did exactly that. I scheduled time to read a chapter or read for 15 minutes or work on a craft. I needed a break from the chores! It kept me sane.

    [Reply]

  10. Kjrsten

    05/06/2013

    Scientists say that SOMETIMES procrastination is good for us, helps us to make wiser decisions and will also improve critical thinking skills. So, rather than admitting procrastination, I’ll just say I’m biding my time hoping to make a wiser decision. (haha) I was so good at this, I taught my eldest son. Our bad habits influence more people than we care to realize. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront on occasion. These simple steps make a huge impact.

    [Reply]

    Organize 365 Reply:

    Kjrsten-

    I am so stealing that one!

    🙂
    Lisa

    [Reply]

  11. Lauren @ Rustic Honey

    05/06/2013

    I love the simplified advice! “Do it now” is the one on the list that I need to incorporate more in my life. Instead of adding a small task to my already overwhelming list, I need to “just do it now!” I have found that having get-togethers at our house is a great motivator when it comes to finishing little home projects. When I have company over I want my house super clean and organized. By making these plans, I get more motivated to clean deeper and look at my home with a fresh set of eyes. That is what motivates me to get things done.

    [Reply]

  12. Jo

    05/06/2013

    Thanks for sharing this article, Andrea! I feel I can never have too many reminders, especially as I go through different stages and events in my life!

    [Reply]

  13. Georgia Gal

    05/06/2013

    Great concepts Andrea! I would add the following to your great list of concepts:

    * Don’t Compare- Everyone is different and in their own unique situations. When we compare, we can tear down ourselves and others, damaging our self esteem, and how we esteem others.

    * Know Your Limits- With each person and situation being different, we must know what we can and can’t do. There are seasons in life where we will have roadblocks in our productivity. Example: Pregnant, injured, sickly, finances, etc, all play a big part in what we can and can’t do. Know our limitations and learn to thrive in them, not just survive.

    * Don’t Force It- Often times we can live our lives by forcing what we “think” we need or want. Sit down and make a list of what you (your family) want and need in your daily lives. Everyone’s list will be different. Some families, couples, etc need a date night every week, while others maybe once a month. For some a super clean home is better than home cooked meals and etc. Find out what works best for yourself and family and then go from there. Don’t focus on what works for your neighbors, extended family, etc. It’s great to get ideas and tips, but if it doesn’t work for you, don’t force it.

    ~Hope these help & everyone has a wonderful day~

    [Reply]

    Jo Reply:

    Love your advice about ‘don’t force it’!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    These are great tips — thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]

    Maria Reply:

    Thanks for sharing your awesome advice. I really needed to hear this today! Especially, the one about “know your limits”.

    [Reply]

    Candis Reply:

    Awesome tips GG, thank you 🙂

    [Reply]

    Barb Reply:

    “Don’t Compare”…such a big stumbling block in our culture now. Great tips!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Barb — and YES!!

    [Reply]

  14. Stephanie

    05/06/2013

    Hi Andrea,
    I read your post this morning after learning a friend lost her husband over the weekend in an accident. The Plan Ahead portion seems especially significant with that perspective. Having legal documents in order, organized and accessible in a critical time can reduce stress significantly. I am so thankful for your blog, to help me stay focused on organizing and simplifying my home and life.
    Stephanie

    [Reply]

    Ree Klein Reply:

    Stephanie, your comment connects with me. My partner lost his wife just over four years ago. It was devastating and because they were in their 40’s, they never expected something tragic and sudden to happen so they weren’t prepared…

    It’s never too early to plan for the worst to ensure the best for those left behind.

    [Reply]