The Simple Living Overview

By Leo Babauta

In 2005, I decided my life was too complicated, too full of clutter, with not enough time for what was important to me.

So I began to simplify.

I started with commitments: by saying no to commitments like coaching or being in various organizations or projects, I could free up time for my health, my family, pursuing my dream.

I then created space in my day for those important things, and made sure they happened. I still do this today.

Next, I tackled clutter: mountains of it were removed from my house, with the help of my wife Eva and eventually our kids (when I got them on board!).

Finally, I started to examine the “needs” that I thought I had, and began to remove them if they were getting in the way of my life.

Simplifying my life didn’t happen in a day, or even a month. It happened over the course of years, a little at a time.

This Simple Living module won’t get you to an ideal simple life in a month either — and that ideal doesn’t exist. It’s a fantasy. What you’ll work on during this module is the mindfulness of examining your life and consciously deciding what should be in it, and what doesn’t need anymore.

That’s an important practice. Our lives get filled up with junk — both physical and mental — and the cleansing process of attempting to simplify helps clarify what we want out of life, how we want to live.

I still declutter to this day — it’s a neverending process. But my day and my home are much simpler, much emptier, and much more peaceful than that day I started out in 2005, and I’m so happy I’ve undergone the process.

If you’ve already done the Declutter Challenge in July, don’t fret: this Simple Living module is still for you. What we’ll tackle this month:

  1. Commitments. By simplifying your commitments, you can free up time for what’s important, and decide how you want to spend your day.
  2. Clutter. Even if you’ve already decluttered in July, there’s always more clutter you can tackle. This is a good opportunity to find the areas you didn’t get to before.
  3. Single-tasking and distraction-free zones. Create zones in your day where you free yourself from distractions and do one important task at a time.
  4. Needs. What needs are not true needs that you can remove to simplify your life?

This means we’ll take on each of these areas one week at a time. I only ask for 10-15 minutes of your day, ideally at the same time each day.

Ready to get started? Let’s take a look at the plan.