Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Simplify life...

"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I have not lived...  I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life...  - Henry David Thoreau
I love this quote, although it's not likely that I will pack up my family and go live in the woods like Henry David Thoreau did.  I share his same desire to live deliberately.  Deliberate:  Done with or marked by full consciousness of the nature and effects; intentional.  Joseph and I have been researching for some time now about living a homesteading lifestyle.  We've made a plan and set goals for each phase of our homestead.  The homesteading lifestyle appeals to us because its a simple way of life; hard work maybe, but simple.  I enjoy living life because the sense of fulfillment I receive from accomplishing little things like finishing the laundry in record time, re-organizing my storage room so there is open space just to have open space, learning a new craft, writing essays, etc...  On a personal level I have made a goal to simplify my life by managing stress, time, positive and negative effects, motivations, goals, and priorities.  Before I can manage such things like stress and time I first have to be aware of them.  I have to choose to live deliberately.  I recently made myself aware of negative influences in my life and am slowly weeding out those influences.  For example I culled my Facebook friend list and literally "un-friended" people that left me feeling stressed or conflicted.  Joseph and I have found that music plays an interesting effect on the mind.  In the evenings we've been listening to piano music and classical music.  This may sound a bit old fashioned, but you have to try it!  I am amazed how focused I am in the evenings and how much we accomplish.  In an effort to simplify my life I've put together a list that helps me stay on track, I hope you find this list helpful and implement a few in your own lives:

  1. Keep a positive outlook.  I find when I am happy I am much more motivated during the day. 
  2. Prioritize.  You can't  begin to simplify your life until you know what is truly important to you.  Make a list of the top four or five things that are important to you and plan your life around your priorities.   
  3. Schedule.  Keep reminders of appointments or tasks on post-its, your calendars, or Smart Phones.  I often set appointments in my calender to serve as reminders of different tasks I'd like to accomplish that day.  
  4. Write lists!  I was never a list writer in my personal life until recently.  I write lists at work and love the feeling of making that check mark next to a task when I've finished.  I thought to myself, "I love making those check marks so much at work, why not carry that over into my personal life?"  I start a grocery list at the beginning of the week and add to it as things come up.  I also write a list in my calendar of things I want to accomplish during that week.
  5. Organize your living space.  De-clutter and organize your home.  When my house gets messy I can feel myself losing control and losing focus.  Stay on top of your daily chores such as; dishes, laundry, taking out the garbage, sweeping the floors.  
  6. Schedule down time.  Give yourself a guilt free break once in a while.  Life is busy and demands a lot from us.  Even if you only schedule a couple of hours during the week for yourself, take it!
  7. Buy an iPhone!  Living a simple life doesn't mean you can't appreciate technology.  Not to mention one iPhone replaces 12 or more devices that you would otherwise use, to name a few:  GPS unit, kitchen timer, compass, radio, stereo that can play your entire music collection if you want, recipe book, map book, note pads, calendar, address book, digital camera, remote control, and many others.
 My quest to simplify life and live deliberately continues!  Wish me luck!  



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