5 ways to achieve simplicity

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” ~Hans Hofmann

Simplicity does not equal boring, or plain.  Simplicity can be beautiful.  A life of simplicity can be rich and full of meaning.  Why simplify?  Read my article from a few weeks ago, '5 ways simplicity allows you to achieve more'.

Now for 5 great ways to achieve simplicity in your life:

1.  Create a map

Your plan to simplify starts with a map or plan, if you will.  If you just start hacking things out of your life then you might not be happy with the results when you're done.  You need to be sure that what you remove is not essential to who you are.  We need to identify what is important to us and essential to our well being to know what we are aiming for.  Spend some time defining who you are and what is important to you.

2.  Eliminate conflicts

After defining what our values are and who we want to be, the next obvious step is to eliminate the things that are in conflict or get in the way of what is important to us.  Does spending hours in front of a television conflict with your priority to spend time with family?  If so, reduce or eliminate it.

3.  Set up routines

Establishing routines and streamlining our household tasks can really save time and wasted energy.  In addition to time saved performing a task with a well designed routine, we spend less time deciding how and when to do something. 
  • When you cook, cook enough for at least two meals. 
  • Shop on the way home from work so that you won't waste time or fuel getting back to the market   on a day off.
  • Set aside specific times to check email and social networks so that you are not on the computer all day.

4.  Think long term

Buy things that will last.  Plant perennials in your flower garden.  Grow vegetables that keep producing for a long season.  Maximize the yield from your purchases and activities.

5.  Find your sweet spot

Find out what is 'just enough' for you.  Just enough is the sweet spot where you are happy but not burdened with extra responsibility.  Anything more than just enough costs more time, money, and effort to maintain.  Maybe going out to eat once a week is just enough.  Maybe playing one sport instead of three gives you the exercise and camaraderie that you need in your life.  You'll have to find your sweet spot for yourself.

Taking just these five steps can really help reduce the complexity of your life.  I hope you find your life more manageable and enjoyable.

Related articles:

8 thoughts about simplicity and money  on Happy Simple Living

A little support on Simple Living with Diane Balch

20 ways to simplify & save on Simplify Magazine

No news is good news - Disconnecting


Zen Presence - minimalism, simplicity, self improvement, simple living, Zen in modern life


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  2. Hi Dan,
    I couldn't agree more about how freeing routines can be. I have friends who, because they are "creative" types completely resist establishing routines. They see it as being so conformist...when in fact it really does leave you with more time to be creative.
    Thanks for including my support post.

  3. Love the idea of finding the sweet spot Dan - as an over enthusiastic being I've been know to take on much more than my little being can handle! Keeping it simple is my new motto. Thanks for the reminder.

    Love Elle

  4. Thanks for the comment Elle. Love your work.

    Everyone please visit Elle at


    Dan Garner

  5. Conflicts can be subtle - it can be very useful to try to identify them since they can use up so much of our energy.