Author Don Norman often discusses “The Paradox of Design” in his works. The Paradox of design is the idea that our lives often become more complicated as we introduce devices intended to make them simpler or easier. Sometimes to simplify our lives we need to ask ourselves whether the ways in which we try to make it simpler are really making it more difficult. As you mull that over, here are five other ways that you might be able to make your life a little simpler.
1. Don't Just Cut Extras, Add More Of What's Working
Dr. Gregory Jantz, writing for Psychology Today, opens his article with the interesting idea that simplifying your life means cutting out unnecessary distractions, but also adding more of those things that are working for us. We tend to think that to simplify we need to reduce, but this isn't always the case. When you look to simplifying your life, don't only think about those things that aren't working for you, think about those things that are working for you and where you can incorporate those things in more aspects of your life.
2. Focus On Important Decisions By Eliminating Smaller Ones
Have you ever felt tired without physically doing very much? Thinking and making decisions takes brain power and using brain power can contribute to the tiredness feeling. Forbes Magazine points out that successful people like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs wear (or wore) a very similar outfit each day because it cuts down on the number of choices in a day. That's not to say that you need to wear a black turtleneck sweater every day of your life to lead a simple life, but how many neckties do you own? Or how many pairs of shoes? Maybe the first step to simplifying your life is simplifying your wardrobe. Three ties or three pairs of shoes are really all you need and think of how much time you'll save picking one out in the morning.
3. Make Those Big Decisions Early
Simplifying your life doesn't mean that you won't need to make decisions and it certainly doesn't mean that you should put decisions off. A 2016 article published in The Independent tells us that decisions often become larger and more stressful when we try to put them off for later. When a decision comes your way, it's often best to come up with a course of action to resolve it as soon as possible. This doesn't mean making snap decisions, it means taking as much time as you need to make a decision but taking that time as soon as possible rather than continually putting it off.
4. Write A Budget
Sometimes making our lives simpler in the long-run means making it a little more complicated first. Just like spending too much time making simple decisions is a bad idea, taking too little time making big decisions can be a bad idea. This is most true of financial decisions. Things like credit card debt can make our lives very complicated but, according to Inc., making a budget and sticking to it can help to limit that complication. Making a budget can be complicated itself but it also helps to remove other complications from your life.
5. Set Your Own Standards
A 2015 article of The Huffington Post reminds us that success is a term that each of us can define for ourselves. Too often, most of us try to live up to other peoples' expectations for us. If we decide what we really want rather than trying to keep up with the status quo or what advertisements on TV tell us we should want, it often allows us to calm down a bit and focus on the things that truly matter. It can also help us to limit our material possessions. According to the same article, decluttering the physical space that we live in can also help us to clear our heads and simplify our lives.