Keep. Things. Simple.
2019. We live in an ever-increasing world of complexities, from the moment we wake up, throughout the day, till the time we lay down to sleep – we are bombarded with complex choices to make. For instance, when you wake up, what should you do first? Different pieces of research are giving us different options… should you pray, meditate, set goals, reflect, exercise, drink water, drink coffee, have breakfast, rush to get ready or check your phone? If you check your phone do you check WhatsApp messages, SMS messages, voice messages, emails, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or Twitter feeds etc? We live in a time of mass customisation, leading to a multitude of options, each option comes at the cost of losing the opportunity of an alternative. Wouldn’t it be great to just follow some divine rules? Wouldn’t it be just great to keep it simple…
“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci
The benefits of living a simple life?
Here are 9 major benefits a simplistic attitude could bring to your life.
1. Clarity of mind.
We don’t think of our physical possessions being linked to mental and emotional health, but the connection between the two is readily apparent.
Studies show when we clear out our closets, it has a massive impact on our mental clarity and peace of mind. Think about it…
When was the last time you took the time to go through your files, shed or extra bedroom and sort through all of the things you forgot were hiding in there? It may have been a while, but how did you feel when you finally did it?
My guess is it felt like a relief. Even though you probably spent very little energy on a day-to-day basis thinking about those things, something about clearing them out calmed your mind.
That good feeling you get when you take a load of clothes to goodwill or finally go through that junk drawer in your kitchen is backed by research. If you don’t need it, love it or use it, get rid of it.
2. Better physical and mental health.
You might feel hesitant to consider that getting rid of a few physical possession might change your health but consider this: what about clearing the things from your schedule that are unnecessary or unimportant?
Too many of us are overcommitted in our lives and if we really begin to ask ourselves why we haven’t scaled back already, we’ll find the answer is we’re afraid of disappointing someone—a terrible reason to overload our schedules.
What would it look like to cut back? Would you be able to rest more? Take better care of yourself and your family?
Minimalism takes many forms and whether you’re clearing things from your closet, your calendar, or your commitments, your body and mind will thank you.
3. More freedom.
If you really spent some time thinking about it, I bet you would be shocked to think of how many physical possession you own, desire to own, or work hard to own what you don’t even want—all to impress someone else.
Dave Ramsey, financial advisor and New York Times bestselling author says:
“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
Imagine the freedom you would experience if you could let go of that pressure and just do what you want to do. You’d have more freedom to travel, take a day off, work for yourself, or, hey, find a job doing work you actually like.
4. Less stress.
Imagine a world where you didn’t have to come home to a cluttered house, didn’t have to wake up early on a Saturday morning for something you didn’t really want to do in the first place, and didn’t have to show up at the office every day for a job that made you feel like your soul was dying.
You can feel it already. Less stress?
5. More time.
In a world where opportunities are coming at us faster than the speed of light, it can be hard to say “no” for a plethora of reasons.
One of them is the fear of missing out. We’re afraid if we say no, we’ll miss an opportunity to be a part of something really great. The second is the fear of being bored. What will we do? Just sit around and watch Netflix all night?
Try this for one week: clear your calendar at night. Work during the day but don’t make any commitments in the evenings. Then, with that extra time, prepare dinners with the people you love, go for walks, read books, attend your local mosque or place of worship.
Amazing opportunities will always be there. They’ll never run out. And I promise you’ll find a way to fill your extra time.
You may think you need to have the latest and greatest style of clothes or that brand new model of a luxury vehicle to feel good about yourself. But imagine how freeing it would be to feel good about yourself without those things. This is an unexpected benefit of living with less. You start to feel good about yourself, not because of what you own but just because of who you are.
7. Greater purpose.
When you clear out the unnecessary activities and items from your life, something unexpected happens. A clear sense of purpose returns. You feel motivated to do what you’ve set out to do because your direction is clear and there is no confusion. When you only have a few commitments, you can take them seriously.
8. Extra money.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that buying less and doing less would mean having a little extra cash on hand. Fewer birthday parties to attend, meals out because you’re “too tired to cook,” fewer impulse purchases, etc. Then, when you find something you really do want, you have the money to buy it. But here is the main benefit, once you decide to simplify your work or business, and eliminate all the unwanted noises, your ability to focus on your tasks will increase, which will then result to make you more productive and effective, and in turn, earn you more income!
9. Better relationships.
Ultimately, when you can stop competing with your friends and your family to have the nicest car or biggest house; when you can stop trying to impress people and just begin to connect with them; when you can give up your people-pleasing and just be yourself, it shouldn’t surprise you that your relationships will improve. Great relationships are not built on guilt or competition. They’re built on shared experiences and great memories from loyalty and self-sacrifice.
Top tips for simplifying
Golden Rule: Keep. Things. Simple
Work on asking yourself the following two important but simple questions:
What one thing can I do to reduce complexity in my life?
What one thing can I do to increase simplicity in my life?
- Outsource or delegate everything that can be outsourced or delegated.
- Increase my thinking and writing time to simply the things I am good at and enjoy doing – allowing a crystallised focus on my simple goals.
Here are some handy tips to simplify your life in a simple list form:
- Simplify everything on paper – no matter how complex your issues are, get them written down, break them down into simple steps. Moving thinking to paper clears the mind from clutter into structured and simple steps.
- Get a basic phone – my friend who is a senior consultant recently did this, he has doubled his earnings within 3 months.
- Decluttering your home – did you know out all the items you have, you only use 20% of them?
- Start tracking your expenses – as ridiculous as it sounds, it will help you become aware of what exactly you do and don’t need.
- Track your time – pay attention to how much time you are spending doing things. Look for ways to cut down on the time you think is being wasted on unnecessary things.
- Create a morning and daily routine – make your AM and PM routines simplified and predictable.
- Stop doing emails – there are different levels of simplifying this, starting from checking emails twice a day, to once a day and then getting to the level of training an assistant to deal with your inbox 25%, 50%, 75% up until 100%. It is doable but requires trial and error and persistence.
- Turn your phone off/flight mode – when you need to focus on your most important task, turn the phone on flight mode and set yourself a time deadline.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Babrul Matin, is also known as Zubair.
Babrul is known as the ‘Islamic Investor’, he is best known for Real Estate development in the UK market. Babrul’s mission is to showcase the combination of ethical performance with profitability and drive shariah compliant investment and business practices in real markets across the Globe. Babrul has written for, or been covered by, The BBC, The British Council, The Red Money Group, The Office for Standards in Education, The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, Islamic Finance News, as well as various councils and local newspapers.