Two Ways to Fight for Simplicity

"..(it) is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warn us of. It leads not to unification but to fragmentation. It does not bring grace; it destroys the soul."Anne Morrow Lindbergh

There is a direct correlation between the complexity of my week and my attitude. When I simplify, when I have room to breathe, when I slow my pace even slightly, the benefits multiply beyond my wildest expectations.

  • I'm calmer, more confident, and funnier (or at least I FEEL funnier!).
  • I make better decisions, am more innovative, and am more productive.
  • I am less tense, I sleep better, and my commute bugs me less.

I could make lists for pages, and nothing on the list would be negative; so then, why do I so often choose a life of "multiplicity"?  Why do I run past simple and decide to make ANY day more complex? If you're like me, maybe you too lose sight of simplicity's benefits. Or maybe you forget HOW to win the battle.

I've been thinking through what works best for me - WHEN I actually strive for less, not more.  Surprisingly, the battle is waged in two simple, not easy, ways.

1. Put boundaries on your time.

So many days I act as though the calendar is the boss of me. I fill slots as though I'm completing a crossword puzzle, determined to get the satisfaction of having every slot filled. When this happens, it's more difficult for me to avoid saying "I'm busy" and more likely that a long running meeting, a traffic jam, or a line at Starbucks will throw off my day.

Just because I have the opportunity to schedule something doesn't mean it's a good idea. Simplicity starts with boundaries on where I INVEST my time.

2. Say "no" without apology.

Simplicity is always, always,  ALWAYS an act of editing.  In life, editing means purging some activities or, better still, beginning with a "no."  I don't like missing things, so I say "yes" with enthusiasm and exclamation points!!! However, there's an art to the gentle, but firm "no."  Even better is when the "no" doesn't have to be explained.

If you want to simplify your week, where do you need stronger boundaries? To what do you need to say no?

Start today, before you're ready.