Life is stressful enough.
We are supposed to work, constantly learn new things, take care of our health, and deal with all kinds of people. From time to time, we may even have to deal with mental health issues, financial problems, or unexpected negative events.
This is why you should do everything you can to simplify your life. As your existence becomes easier, you’ll have more time and energy, and you’ll be able to focus on the things that truly matter to you.
As I’ve explained in this article, many people feel the need to constantly do and have more (mainly because of society’s ideals), and the thought of a simple life doesn’t appeal to them.
Unfortunately, some of these people end up doing too much and being too busy, without even being clear on what they want. This leads to more work, but less productivity and efficiency.
So even if you are ambitious, and have big goals, it’s crucial that you simplify your life.
Today we’re going to have a look at sixteen tips to make life easier. Some of these could be applied immediately, while others may require more time. At the end of this article you’ll find a downloadable summary of all the tips, so you can re-read them whenever you want.
1. Own almost nothing
I don’t recommend you get rid of everything you own and live like some kind of monk. But I do know the benefits of minimalism, and I encourage you to stop chasing things.
The true cost of an item isn’t its price tag: it’s the time spent buying the item, cleaning it, looking at it, thinking about it, or doing maintenance. It’s the visual noise, and the space it occupies.
If it’s something like a house or a car, then maintenance could end up costing more than the thing itself. Again, I don’t suggest you get rid of your car, if you have one — I just want you to be aware of how expensive and time consuming some of your possessions could be.
When you own less material things, you have more money and more freedom, which means less stress, which means better mental health, which means happiness.
So from this day forward, try to identify what items are actually useful to you. Identify which of your possessions make your life easier, and which make it harder. Always focus on quality, not quantity.
2. Eat less frequently
Digesting food requires a lot of energy. Many people notice this when they go through a two or three day water fast: while their physical energy may not be as high, their mental clarity improves drastically, and they are able to concentrate for longer periods of time.
Depending on your daily routine, you may want to try intermittent fasting (not eating anything during the first part of the day), or eating snacks that are very easy to digest, such as fruit, raw juices, eggs, or soup. You won’t feel sleepy and you’ll be able to accomplish your tasks faster.
Also: learn to cook healthy meals that are easy to prepare, and don’t require too much time. Most people like to eat out regardless of how great the food tastes — they enjoy not having to spend time cooking and doing the dishes.
So learn two or three quick recipes (YouTube and blogs make it really easy), buy all the ingredients in advance, and you’ll be good to go. The more you cook, the easier it will be, and the more time you will save.
3. Learn to manage your money
You’ll never have peace of mind as long as you worry about money 24/7. So it’s important that you live below your means, and learn to manage your finances.
While your physical and mental health always comes first, and should never be sacrificed for anything else, it’s also directly linked to your financial situation. So by saving or making more money, it will be easier to take care of your overall health.
Everyone’s situation is different, but there are some general tips you can follow, such as stop wasting money on things you don’t need (as explained earlier), avoid getting into debt, plan your expenses, have more than one source of income or at least have a plan B — you never know what’s going to happen with the economy.
Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it does make things easier: learn to spend it and invest it the right way, and you’ll have a much easier life.
4. Ignore other people’s opinion
Honestly, how many things have you done in your life just to please others? It’s a trap we all fall into at some point or another.
Obviously by “others” I am not referring to those who love and support you. I am referring to society in general; strangers; friends of friends, people who don’t even know your name.
I believe there’s two main things you can do to ignore others’ opinions: increase your self esteem and be 100% certain that your lifestyle aligns to your values.
When you have a poor self-image, or a low self-esteem, you need other people’s approval to feel better. Unfortunately, this puts you in the condition where you constantly do things you don’t enjoy doing, so your life becomes difficult. Become a stronger, more confident person and the need to please others will gradually disappear.
As for your values, it’s quite simple: when you believe your way of living is the right one for you, nobody will be able to convince you you should do/have more things.
For example, I’m perfectly okay with owning almost nothing and I am certain it benefits my mental health, so there’s no way someone could make me change this (I am open-minded and I love hearing different opinions, but I’m also aware of what’s right for me).
5. Be comfortable being alone
This could be related to the previous tip, but it also refers to how you feel when you’re not surrounded by others.
Humans are social beings, so when we are alone we may feel a little sad. This is particularly true for extroverts, but it does apply to all personality types — being around people is a basic need after all.
While I encourage you to surround yourself with the people you love, you must learn to be happy and calm without them. In other words, you have to be okay with being alone from time to time, otherwise you will always rely on others to feel a certain way.
For me, this is easy: I am predominantly an introvert, and I grew up as an only child. I enjoy being on my own and working on my projects. For instance, I really enjoy creating new content for this blog.
Being alone may not be easy for you, so if that’s the case I encourage you to learn to be happy without others. Being social and spending time with the right people can only be a good thing, but don’t rely on that all the time.
6. Learn to adapt
Life is totally unpredictable, so being too strict and having too many rules probably won’t make you happy.
Now, when thinking of unexpected events, most people think of negative ones: a financial crisis, losing your job, a breakup, or anything in your life that goes wrong.
However unexpected events could also be a blessing, and open up new opportunities in any area of your life — for example, your relationships, your career, or your spirituality.
So stop being a control freak and learn to adapt: life changes often, and that’s okay. That’s just the way it is. By being too strict, you’ll make everything harder and miss out on those new opportunities the Universe wants to give you. Plus, it’s literally impossible to control everything anyway.
7. Be lazy
As I’ve explained in this article, being lazy could be a good thing; essentially, what i mean by “lazy” is someone who is aware their time and energy are limited, so they don’t waste them on anything that isn’t interesting.
As a lazy person, you don’t do anything unnecessary. You do things slowly, so you get better results and make less mistakes. You also find it easier to take care of your health.
If those around you have a distorted idea of what happiness looks like; if they believe sleeping eight hours a day or more is a waste of time; if they think success means being busy for the sake of being busy, then these people may call you lazy. So you have to be okay with that.
If you have a dream that requires working fourteen hours a day, then it’s sensible to work fourteen hours a day. But in general, working more or more hours won’t make you happier.
Twenty, thirty, forty years from now you’ll be glad you didn’t interact with too many toxic people, or that you didn’t spend one more hour at the office every day.
Life is about what you do but also what you don’t do. Understand what matters to you; don’t waste your time, and don’t waste your energy.
8. Invest money in great products
You get what you pay for, so whenever you get a new product, don’t base your decision solely on the price tag.
For example, ask yourself: how long will this product last? Is this product useful? Safe? If I get the cheapest product, I’ll save money now, but what about the long term?
The problem with buying the cheapest stuff is you end up owning products that are ugly and not very useful, so what’s the point? It’s true some products are overpriced, but usually there’s a reason some items are more expensive than others.
Plus, when you take into account things like maintenance, easy of use, durability, design, and safety, getting the cheapest version of something will seem ridiculous.
As I mentioned, quality is more important than quantity. Whether you are an extreme minimalist, or own a thousand different objects, don’t buy garbage, and invest your money in great products. It will make your life so much easier.
9. Plan short term
Long term goals (for example, goals that require you to have a certain lifestyle for over ten years) can easily make you feel trapped. Does it automatically mean they are bad? Of course not.
However if you’d like to simplify your life and avoid unnecessary headaches, I encourage you to focus on short term goals.
The great thing about planning something that’s going to happen, say, one year from now, is you’ll be very motivated. Your mind will be able to visualize your goal and perceive it as real, so you’ll feel excited.
Here’s another problem with planning something long term: what if something goes wrong, and you’ve invested all your time, energy, or money into a dream that’s just not going to happen? As I wrote earlier, life is unpredictable, whether we like it or not.
In some cases it may be okay to dedicate five or ten years of your life to a certain goal or project, but if you want an easier life, try and think one or two years from now.
10. Don’t identify with your job
Doing what you love as a career can only be a good thing. However make sure your profession doesn’t become your identity.
You must know that you are talented, smart, passionate, motivated, etc. regardless of what you do for a living. If your self worth is based on your job, then any time you make a mistake, or don’t perform the way you would like to, you’re going to feel miserable.
If you notice your self image is directly related to your career (or anything else), then you need to understand whether that’s a good thing or not.
If you had to stop working tomorrow, how would you feel? Forget about paying the bills for now — this is just an exercise, and it’s not about money, it’s about your identity and self worth.
In general, perfectionists and ambitious people tend to become really good at something and, again, this is great. However if it gets to the point where your whole life depends on what you do, it may be time to change your mindset.
11. Move somewhere with better weather
Do you suffer from seasonal affective disorder? Do you feel sad when it’s cold, dark, or rainy?
Climate and weather definitely affect our mood, so if you have the opportunity to move somewhere warmer (or with better climate in general), do it.
When it’s cold and I have to wear a jacket to go out, I find it depressing. I lose motivation and everything’s harder. When it’s nice and sunny, I naturally feel happy. It may seem crazy, but that’s just the way most people’s mind works.
If you prefer cold weather, you may experience the opposite. Whatever the case, moving to a place with the kind of climate you enjoy will make things easier, whether it’s work, social life, or even taking care of your health.
12. Move somewhere cheaper
This totally depends on your situation — in some cases, this could make life harder: for example, you may be living in a very expensive city at the moment, but also earn a good salary and know a lot of wonderful people.
However if you are more flexible, and you do remote work (or have no problem finding work in a different city or country), this could make your life a hundred times easier.
Depending on where you choose to move, your housing costs could be much lower than they are now. I once spoke to someone who had just moved to Southeast Asia, and he told me that while his lifestyle and income were the same, he was paying roughly a tenth of what he would pay in the US.
Again, you need to use common sense. Not everyone can or want to do this. It just depends on your priorities and what you do for a living.
13. Learn to say no
I’ve written an entire article on this, so feel free to check it out here.
In short, when you learn to say no, you decide what to do with your time, not someone else. There will always be people trying to use you in some way, or people who think your time isn’t valuable, so you need to be assertive.
The more you say no, the easier it will be, so don’t worry if it feels a bit awkward in the beginning. Be okay with putting yourself first, and don’t automatically assume you need to help everyone.
Also, don’t just say no to people, but also to anything that’s not for you. I don’t care how cool a certain lifestyle is; say not to that lifestyle if it’s not for you. If job A pays more than job B, but doesn’t align to your dreams and vision, then say no to job A. It’s that simple.
Learn to say no, don’t follow other people’s goals, and do what’s right for you. I guarantee it will make your life easier.
14. Don’t trust your memory
Seriously, don’t trust your memory, it’s probably a bad idea.
Use to-do lists to plan your most important tasks, and write things down whenever you need to. Smartphone apps make this even easier, but I always prefer pen and paper (I may forget to look at my phone, or turn it off temporarily; this can’t happen with an actual sheet of paper).
Whether it’s writing down notes at a conference, your tasks, your short term or long term goals, your thoughts, or your ideas, that’s going to help you remember everything.
You may have a good memory, but there’s only so many things you can keep in mind at once. Plus, you may get distracted, or you may be tired. Whenever you think of something important, just pretend you’re at school, and note it down.
15. Take care of your physical and mental health
Your health is the foundation of anything you do, so you must take care of it. Don’t be cheap, because any money spent on your health will be the best investment ever.
When your health is optimal, you will:
- Have more energy and vitality
- Perform better at your job (or any other activity)
- Look better
- Avoid things like caffeine or stimulants
- Be happier
- Be focused and determined even if things don’t go your way
If, for any reason, you are struggling, then don’t be afraid to get help, which leads me to the last and final tip.
16. Ask for help
This doesn’t just apply to mental health. It could be delegating a task, asking for advice, consulting someone who’s smarter or more experienced than you, or anything you need help with.
If you genuinely need someone else’s time or attention, then ask them.
Sometimes our ego gets in the way. We feel proud, and think we can do everything ourselves. But it doesn’t work that way. Even the smartest, most disciplined individuals will need other people’s knowledge at some point. This is why there’s so many jobs out there.
Because of what we were taught in school, or the way we grew up, we may feel embarrassed to ask for help, but in reality it only shows we are growing as a person. Whether it’s a therapist, or a relative, or someone who’s more experienced than you, don’t be afraid to reach out, and do it as soon as possible.
Thank you for reading this article! You can download a short summary of everything I’ve gone through by clicking on this button: