5 Ways to Simplify Your Life Right Now

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5 Ways to Simplify Your Life Right Now | Life Management | Ways To Simplify Your Life | Stress Free Life | Time Management

I’m good at hectic.  I can DO crazy. I do it well, and I do it often.  If I’m being honest, I’d say chaos tends to be my default mode, trying to get too many things done at once, and often dropping many balls.

But several weeks ago, at the end of my rope, I made a very conscious decision to pare down the craziness and simplify my life by committing to make one small change each day.  Already I feel like my life has changed.  As I look around my house, I can see the tangible results of my effort, but the biggest change, I think, is the intangible one: the deep sense of inner peace that has settled over me

In a word, I feel renewed.

It isn’t so much that I’ve managed to do one thing each day, as that I took the time to write out my goals and priorities.  I refer back to that list almost daily and it keeps me focused on the things that matter most.


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I still have such a long way to go on this journey, but I am totally okay that.  It is a process.  In fact, I’ll probably never be done.  However, in just a few weeks’ time, this is what I’ve experienced:

  • Less Mess

After bringing 3 full carloads to Goodwill and selling a few other things on Craigslist, there is a lot less STUFF in our life to look after.  Organized closets and cupboards in (almost) every room mean that the things we kept now all have a home, which makes keeping things neat and tidy so much easier.   

  • More Time

I have begun to make a conscious shift in the way I spend my time, eliminating non-essential tasks and putting restraints on time-suckers like Facebook, Skype, email, & television.  I still get distracted by those things, but definitely not as much.  Even more importantly, the more I stay away, the more I want to stay away.   I’ve also made a conscious decision to say no to things I don’t want to do or make time for.  

  • Improved Relationships

As I cut out those distractions and become more mindful and engaged, I suddenly have so much more time and energy to devote to the important relationships in my life: with God, my family, & my friends.   

  • Less Stress

Obviously having fewer messes to clean up, more free time to spend doing the things that are important to me, and better relationships with my friends and family all contribute to a feeling of less stress.  But even more than that, I think actively visualizing the kind of life I want to lead and focusing each day on taking one step, however small, towards that life, has lifted a burden off my shoulders that I didn’t even know I was carrying.  Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, I am happy to focus on simply being. 

Life is hard sometimes.  There is all to often too much to do and not enough time to do it in, and we become so crazy trying to accomplish it all and manage “The American Dream” that we forget about what matters.

If you are wanting to start simplifying your life as well, but don’t know where to start, here are 5 things you can start doing right away.

5 Ways to Simplify Your Life Right Now | Life Management | Ways To Simplify Your Life | Stress Free Life | Time Management

1. Decide what you want your life to look like.

What are your goals?  What are your priorities?  What things are weighing you down or holding you back?  Write it all down, then refer back to that list daily.  Let it guide your decisions so that you can live your life proactively, not reactively.

Not sure where to start with goal setting?  Get our free Goal Setting Workbook to walk you through the process!

5 Ways to Simplify Your Life Right Now | Life Management | Ways To Simplify Your Life | Stress Free Life | Time Management

2. Start saying no

Put limits on the number of activities you will participate in.  There is no rule that says you MUST do something, just because you were asked.  Set aside time in your calendar that is just family time–perhaps start with an afternoon, then a day, then a weekend–and then protect that time at all costs.  If something comes up, simply say, “I’m sorry, we already have plans.”  Likewise, if you are already feeling like your plate is full, don’t add more.

Of course knowing we should say no and actually saying it are two different things!  These 5 effective ways to say no can help give you the courage to start guarding your time.

5 Ways to Simplify Your Life Right Now | Life Management | Ways To Simplify Your Life | Stress Free Life | Time Management

3. Start each morning well

Take 15-30 minutes each morning to just be quiet, get centered, collect your thoughts, focus your priorities, make a to-do list, and to meditate or put it all out there before God in prayer.  If your mornings are normally rushed, try getting up 15 minutes earlier, but don’t miss the opportunity to start the day with purpose.

If you struggle getting the rest of the family moving in the morning, creating a morning routine may make all the difference.

5 Ways to Simplify Your Life Right Now | Life Management | Ways To Simplify Your Life | Stress Free Life | Time Management

4. Cancel your cable

If that’s too severe for you, perhaps just make a conscious effort to not watch television for the next few weeks.  You’d be surprised how little you miss it!  Likewise, make a choice to limit the other mindless distractions in your life–facebook, texting, video games, etc.

5 Ways to Simplify Your Life Right Now | Life Management | Ways To Simplify Your Life | Stress Free Life | Time Management

5. Stop spending for 31 days

Challenge yourself and your family to spend $0 on non-essential items for 30 days.  Eat from your pantry & freezer, wear, use, and entertain yourself with only that which you have on hand.  No eating out, no Starbucks, no gifts, no “special purchases,” no nothing.

Over the past four years, thousands of LWSL readers have taken our 31 Days of Living Well & Spending Zero challenge, with life changing results!  Give it a try–you never know what a difference a month of no spending can make!

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I’m not saying you should do all of these things all at once; rather, they are just some concrete ideas for making a change in your life right now–as in TODAY–if you are feeling stuck.  I would love to have you join me on this journey!

5 Ways to Simplify Your Life Right Now | Life Management | Ways To Simplify Your Life | Stress Free Life | Time Management


  1. Tonya
    January 18 at 01:36PM

    Ruth~ Thank you for this. These are things that I need to do, and this is a great help for me 🙂 I love the makeover blog too 🙂 Have a wonderful day!!

    • Ruth
      January 19 at 12:56PM

      You’re welcome, and thanks 🙂

  2. Shanelle
    January 18 at 02:24PM

    Hey! I jsut recently started following you. Don’t even know how I can across your blog, but anyhow, it has really confirmed in my mind and helped me put together things that I have been wanting to do, just haven’t had the second word, as you would, to go for what I want to do. So thankyou for taking that extra time to share your ideas and feelings with us all.

    • Ruth
      January 19 at 12:57PM

      You’re welcome Shanelle. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment–it really means a lot! 🙂

  3. Carol
    January 18 at 02:25PM

    I second that, THANK YOU!
    My husband and I have recently started concentrating on our relationship with God, and wow how life got so much more enjoyable! I know for me, not only is God at the top of my list, but I have also been devoting time to try and be a better wife, mother, and person.
    Cutting the cable (I cut ours back and got rid of the DVR) has helped dramatically! I also highly recommend it! But yours and other blogs are helping me so much to try and organize my life, and like you said… you just feel like a better person as a whole. So… I thank you for the time that you take out of your life to let us in on your life. Whether you do little things, or big things… they are an inspiration and motivation to many of us. Thank you 🙂

    • Ruth
      January 19 at 12:58PM

      You’re welcome Carol. It sounds like you are making some awesome changes too! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! 🙂

  4. Malinda
    January 18 at 02:27PM

    I like it! Very fresh and simple.

    • Ruth
      January 19 at 12:58PM

      Thanks Malinda!

  5. Suzana
    January 18 at 07:21PM

    i LOVE the new design :]

    • Ruth
      January 19 at 01:01PM

      Thanks Suzana! 🙂

  6. Angie Matthiessen
    January 18 at 07:23PM

    Love it and love you friend!! You challenge me to be a better person, not for you, but for my God, for my family and for me. Thanks!!

    • Ruth
      January 19 at 01:01PM

      Aw, thanks Angie. Your support and encouragement means so much to me! 🙂

  7. Angie Matthiessen
    January 18 at 07:24PM

    And I like sharing with you how your words impact me because they do…..

  8. January 19 at 08:06AM

    I already forgot about Project Simplify. That proves how well I’m doing!

    I made myself start using an actual planner this year. It’s already saved my hide once. It has pages for notes in the back…I need to start my list of things to accomplish there.

    Thanks for the reminder and the update of what you’re doing!

    • Ruth
      January 19 at 01:02PM

      Planners are definitely a lifesaver! 🙂

  9. January 19 at 01:39PM

    Great job. I took a look back my week off between Christmas and New Years to reflect on what I need to do as a mom. I have a great stockpile now, thanks to you teaching me how to do it. I am now cutting back on the time I spend couponing, and focusing on the reason why I wanted to be a stay at home mom, to spend more time with my kids. Part of that is being organized. Now I have a little extra cash flow, since I have saved so much. I am planning on redoing several parts of the house to create more storage to put everything up or behind a door.

    I like the new look.

    • Ruth
      January 23 at 03:59AM

      It sounds like you are doing great! It can be so hard to balance it all sometimes, but I think being mindful of the changes you want to make is definitely the first step. 🙂

  10. January 19 at 03:54PM

    Love the colors and the archives! Looks nice.. The ad up top I gotta get used too.. but I do like the coloring! I’m sorry but I love to go back through your older posts, so I’m excited to start at the beginning, it gives me so many ideas and suggestions.. Especially when you were just starting out 🙂 Thanks! 😛

    • Ruth
      January 23 at 04:00AM

      Thanks Debbie! I’m not a really a fan of the ads either but a girl’s gotta pay the bills somehow! 😉

  11. Joanna
    January 19 at 09:37PM

    I love the new design. The fact that you can now navigate easily between all of your sites by using the links at the top is fantastic! Keep up the great work! 🙂

    • Ruth
      January 23 at 04:01AM

      Thanks Joanna! I’m so glad you like that feature! That was one of my main reasons for wanting to change the design. 🙂

  12. January 20 at 07:20AM

    love this post, ruth… and can’t wait to see you again! linked to you today!

    • Ruth
      January 23 at 04:01AM

      Thanks Patty. Me too–only a month to go! xoxo

  13. Claire
    January 20 at 08:48PM

    Looks beautiful! LOVE this post!! 🙂

    • Ruth
      January 23 at 04:02AM

      Thanks Claire! 🙂

  14. January 21 at 04:33PM

    I love this! My husband was recently laid off so some of these tips (namely don’t spend anything on non essentials for 30 days) will probably be implemented very soon. Great post!

    • Ruth
      January 23 at 04:03AM

      Emily, I am so sorry to hear about your husband. That is so tough! We are facing some uncertainty with Husband’s job right now, so I can definitely feel for you. I think we will be taking that 30 day challenge soon too! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. 🙂

  15. Julie
    January 21 at 06:12PM

    Hey Ruth! I actually stopped by here to ask the best way to combine simplicity and organization with couponing and stockpiles. This helped me! It is motivating me to start cleaning out all my closets and donate things I’m just not using. I’m reading a book called The Happiness Project and it reminds me of you. If you haven’t read it, I suggest it. It’s about a lady who takes a year and sets goal to, well, not make herself happier but to appreciate and find all the happiness there is already in her life. I love your blog and the new design caught me by surprise but I like it! Same with SavingWell, very pretty and even more organized! I love it!

    • Ruth
      January 23 at 04:06AM

      I have not read the Happiness Project but it definitely sounds like it would be right up my alley! I am adding it to my reading list–thank you so much for the suggestion. It can be so hard to find the right balance between couponing (and stockpiling) and simplifying. Sometimes they almost seem in direct contrast with each other. For myself I am finding that focusing my stockpile on the things we are actually using and not just getting things because they are cheap or free (unless to donate right away) is helping.

  16. January 25 at 12:11PM

    Thanks for the great post, Ruth! Although my changes are not as drastic as yours, I have also resolved to simply my life more this year. While many of the things that complicate our lives (strange work schedules, grad school) are not negotiable right now, I am making a point to be more organized at home. Good luck as you continue on this new journey! Keep up the good work!

  17. elizabeth
    September 26 at 02:52PM

    i love the planner/calendar pictured in a photo above. i alsways like the ones with lines to neatly write in tasks for the day. who is it made by? thanks.

  18. Jennifer Pierce
    March 11 at 12:31AM

    I just found your blog and I have totally fallen in love. Thank-you!
    I have done all of the above steps recently. This is Our first year homeschooling. I have been on a mission to simplify our lives one step at a time. When I reached #5, I thought I was going to break. I love shopping. And not in a selfish way, as I bought things for my kids, husband, and house. I have now gone FOUR whole months without spending frivolously. Boy was that hard. It has been FREEING. I have given the extra money to our debt. and we have almost paid it off!

  19. Melinda
    January 9 at 11:45PM

    I don’t know how I managed to stumble upon your web-site but I am all the same” grateful”. A lot of my thoughts all sorted out, put into a great, goal oriented way. These things weigh heavier and heavier on your mind when you know inside it’s time for change. I love this and will definitely be following along. Thank you! Can’t wait to get started!

  20. Fred
    December 15 at 08:02AM

    Why is it that all the responses to Ruth’s post are from females. Doesn’t this also apply to males?

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