Lesson 18 of 21
In Progress

How To Simplify Everything

Christopher April 4, 2023

Clearing the Clutter 

Imagine working on a cluttered desk, in an untidy room, while fielding busy phones, social network and email notifications popping up, someone contacting you on IM, and other people calling your attention. Would you still be able to effectively get on with work?  You might not, amidst all this clutter. That’s why you need to clear your desk, your desktop wall without any icons, and minimal decorations on the walls. It helps to listen to ambient music to drown out distractions. 

You can get started by making small steps, such as the following: 

  • Tidy up your desk. Choose only five of the most important items to be placed on your desk. It could be your computer, a photo frame, water bottle, and paperwork. Wipe your desk free of dust. Put the other items away or on the floor. Sort through the papers on the desk and file them later. 
  • Deactivate computer notifications. Familiarize yourself with the settings of your email, IM, mobile device, social networks, and calendar to turn off notifications that might interrupt your work. Unplug your phone or use the Do Not Disturb Mode to focus. 
  • Listen to soothing music and use headphones. Buy a CD or go to iTunes to build your collection of relaxing music that will put you in a peaceful mood. Headphones will also drown the surrounding noise. 
  • Don’t put too many icons on your desktop. Remove all application shortcuts and use a launcher program instead that will only require you to type the name of the program, folder or file that you want to open after a few keystroke combinations. Store all your files into My Documents and hide the rest of the icons. 
  • Declutter your walls and floors. Sort through all the things on the floor and keep those things that you need out of sight. Do the same thing to your walls, while keeping only valued family photos or artwork on them. 

Do these things one small step at a time and you’ll eventually see a major change. 


Take It Slow

Living a past-faced life seems to be everyone’s game. It’s common for people to multitask and switch between tasks. But doing this might be counterproductive.  If you want to create great things, you need to slow down. Rushing everything will only make more room for errors. Move slow and accomplish the right things.  Slowing down will also benefit you by being able to focus better and deeper, which will lead you to appreciate things, time, and people. When you learn to appreciate, you’ll know how to enjoy life. All in all, life will be less stressful and more peaceful. The first step towards slowing down is to change your mindset. You have to understand and get a taste of what it feels like to live life slowly and to savor every moment. Admit to yourself just how much better life gets if you learn to take it slow. 

To pursue life slowly, you need to do these things: 

  • Reduce your to-do list to the most essential tasks, about one to three of them. Do them first before doing routine tasks. 
  • Schedule fewer meetings and focus longer amounts of time on the important things instead of being shuttled from one meeting to the next. 
  • Disconnect at times. Start disconnecting for short periods of time, until you can do it for a day and indulge in your creativity. 
  • Practice not rushing to get to appointments. Give yourself enough time to prepare for and travel to appointments instead of cramming things to your schedule. 
  • Savor being lazy at times. Feel comfortable and enjoy doing nothing, until you get used to it. 
  • Know that failing to get things done is alright. You don’t have to be frustrated and disappointed every time you have unfinished business. 
  • Get rid of the fluff. Eliminate, automate or delegate them to others. 
  • Be conscious of what you do, who you meet, what your surroundings look like, and more. 
  • Don’t overcommit. Choose four to five essential commitments and let go of the rest. 

You will feel happier and more satisfied if you don’t rush everything in life. 


Go with the Flow

No matter how much you plan your life, there are things that are simply out of your control. But don’t get angry or disappointed because it will only stress you out and ruin your day. Instead, learn to embrace these things and go with the flow. Then, focus on your dynamic environment. It helps to do these things: 

  • Admit that you can’t do everything. 
  • Be conscious to warrant change. 
  • Take a deep breath every time you feel frustrated, angry or stressed. 
  • Get perspective to learn to let go of things that you can’t control. 
  • Practice going with the flow, until you excel at it.
  • Laugh it off, even if it doesn’t seem funny. 
  • Know that you can’t control other people. 
  • Acknowledge imperfection and change. 
  • See life as a dynamic machine. 

Life is ever changing. Don’t fight it. 


Doing Things Effortlessly 

To achieve the power of focus, you need to learn how to do things effortlessly. It’s not always right to address your difficulties at work by giving into your distractions just to avoid dealing with the former. Instead, flow like the water, effortless in its movement. It follows gravity and the contours of the landscape that it passes through. It doesn’t force things, yet it’s powerful and graceful. 

Learn how to be effortless by keeping these tips in mind: 

  • Do something out of passion. 
  • When you’re about to do something you don’t like change course and find something that you do like, while still getting to the same destination. 
  • Don’t force your control over uncontrollable things. 
  • Feel the moment. 
  • Keep an eye open to all the possibilities, consider them all instead of fearing all the choices, and follow your intuition. 
  • Be flexible. 
  • Find the sweet spot to maximize effectiveness and minimize effort. 
  • Do less and do them with less effort.
  • Confront the difficult and deal with the easy things now. 


Sorting Through Priorities

For many people, it’s hard to find focus because there are too many things that they are trying to accomplish all at once. That’s why you need to learn to prioritize things. Start with reducing your tasks. Choose the 5 most important tasks in your to-do list and deal with them first. Devote a block of your day to doing the rest of the routine tasks. Among the most essential tasks, start with the one that excites you the most and the one that will have the biggest impact on your life. Settle with a single task at a time. Eliminate all distractions. Start working on it for a whole of 10 minutes. Take a break, then focus on it for 10 minutes or longer, until you get the momentum of things. 

Breaking Free from Goals

When you eliminate less important tasks, this also means that you have to let go of certain goals. You need to do that due to the following reasons: 

  • They are forcing you to work, not because you love it, but because you need to follow your goals. 
  • They might constrain and stop you from achieving other things outside of your goals. 
  • They might pressure to get all your goals done. 
  • They might discourage you if you fail to get them done. 
  • They might stop you from living the moment, as you keep looking forward to the future.

Instead of ticking off goals one by one from your list, you can do things that excite you. You can live in the present without worrying about where you’ll be a few months or years from now. You can have the luxury of doing what’s natural, not what’s forced upon you by your goals. And the biggest benefit of breaking free from the need to always set goals is to focus on the present and savor it. Simplify your life by clearing the clutter, taking it slow, going with the flow, doing things effortlessly, prioritizing things, and letting go of your goals.