How to Live a Simpler Life: 3 Things to Stop Right Now

I’m always trying to find ways to simplify my life, just like you are. But since my days are so full, a lot of times the very thought of doing something to simplify, felt like one more thing I had to cram into my already full to-do list. But one day, in the middle of my frustration, a light bulb went off. What if, instead of DOING one more thing to simplify, I simply STOPPED doing certain things? 

Suddenly, it was easy to see where my life was getting complicated, and then I could also see where I needed to stop doing certain things. Here are three examples, and they have made a huge difference.

1. Allowing distractions to distract. We all have those things that pull us off track and before we know it, we’re way behind. In my work and in my personal life, I have found that a big key for how to live a simpler life is minimizing and fighting distractions. Here are three ways I do this:

  • I turn off my email at work when I need to focus on a project.
  • I leave work at work when I come home in order to focus on spending time with my husband.
  • On the day I designate as my house cleaning day, I move from room to room to clean, instead of start-stopping all over.


2. Grocery shopping without a plan. I’ve mentioned my weekly meal planning and shopping habits before, and I cannot stress how big an impact this has made on simplifying my life. By planning meals once each week, and then making only one shopping trip, I have saved an incredible amount of time. Here’s how:

  • There’s reduced time spent in trips to and from the store.
  • No more wandering around the store trying to decide what to buy to eat because I follow a list.
  • No more returning to the store to pick up something I forgot in my wanderings.
  • We have minimal waste because when we have meals that are planned, we eat them! 


3. Buying overpriced coffee drinks. I have had the rare perk of being able to walk to work every day, and while that’s a temporary luxury (we will be moving our office soon), it’s one I constantly appreciate. When I first started working at our business, my routine included a stop at a cozy French bakery for my daily nonfat caramel latte. After about a year, it occurred to me how wasteful that was.

  • I was spending about $5 per day on a drink that was not only bad for me (all of that extra sugar), but it was eating a significant chunk out of our finances. $5 a day for 5 days = $25/week or approximately $100 a month. 
  • A pretty good bag of coffee beans cost around $12, and makes dozens of cups. 
  • Having a coffee at home before I leave in the morning gives me an opportunity to relax and think a little, before jumping into the day. 
  • Now I only order that latte as a treat when visiting with a friend – so it’s a lot more special.

I’d love to hear about the small (and big) things you’ve done that have helped you simplify your life. Tell me about your new routines, or about the things you’ve stopped doing, that have made your life sweeter and simpler. Please share them in the comments area below.

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