Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out? It’s likely related to your over-packed, busy schedule. Check out these 15 ways to live more simply and cut down on the unnecessary busyness.

Photo of clean, modern living room with sofa and coffee table

Do you feel like even though your schedule is jam-packed you still have more things to do? We’ve become a culture that glorifies busyness. We rush between home and work, priding ourselves on our packed schedules. We’re constantly tethered to our cell phones, always a text or Instagram post away. Our attention is pulled in a million different directions from the moment we wake until we close our eyes for the evening, and in all the hustle, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out.

I can totally relate. I’m a recovering workaholic, type A personality. I used to think that doing more things meant I was more productive. But what I found was that my packed scheduled and the constant busyness was leaving me overworked, cranky and stressed out.

When I started to embrace simplicity in my day-to-day routine I found that I finally had more time to do the things that I loved (like cooking and spending time with friends), enjoyed being with my family (no more cranky mom), and enjoyed the little moments (when my days used to be a blur).

Want more time in your day? Want to feel unburdened? Want to feel more joy for friends and family? Want to feel more peace and less stress? Keep reading… I’ve got 15 ways you can live more simply.

15 Ways To Simplify Your Life

1. Eliminate clutter.

To simplify your life, streamline the things you own. You don’t have to go overboard and get rid of all your belongings. Start by simply getting rid of some stuff that doesn’t serve any purpose. Clean up your desk or clear out your closet. If you plan to get rid of things that may serve someone else well, consider donating to a local charity.

Looking for more ways to declutter your home? Join my FREE 7-Day Decluttering Challenge! Learn how to declutter every room in your home, and how to deal with the emotions that often come up when you’re decluttering and simple strategies you can use to overcome them.

2. Make something from scratch.

The simple act of creating something and putting it out into the world can be incredibly grounding and gratifying. Bake a cake. Knit a sweater. Draw a picture or write a song. Build a table. If it’s been a while, you might be surprised how nice it feels to flex your creative muscles.

3. Cut down your to-do list.

Instead of trying to tackle twenty items on your to-do list, focus on the top three things you need to finish today. You’ll feel more accomplished in getting those things done rather than staring down a laundry list of to-do items that never seem to get done.

4. Stop multitasking.

Did you know that multitasking can actually lead to stress? Working on multiple things at once doesn’t make you more efficient… rather it makes you feel more stressed that you’re not getting things done. Stop multitasking and work on tasks one at a time. Do more creative tasks in the morning when you’re most productive. Then work on more mundane tasks later in the day. 5. Turn off the television.

It may be tempting to collapse on the couch and spend your weekend binging on Netflix, but you should consider doing something a little more engaging. Find a simple activity that brings you pleasure. When was the last time you read a book, taught yourself a new card game, or even picked up the hone to catch up with an old friend? You may be surprised to find far more value in these than in watching Friends reruns for the fourth time.

6. Limit social media.

Scrolling through your social feed for hours can be a big waste of time at best and downright toxic at worst. Feeling grateful for the things you have can be a challenge when you’re focused on ads for a new tech gadget or your friends’ perfectly styled photos. Instead, limit your time on social media and focus on the real connections. Comment and like on photos and posts for authentic and positive interaction rather than passively reading posts.

If you crave that social connection, call a friend or schedule time for a meet up to connect in person.

7. Turn off notifications.

We all get those notifications of a new message or post on Facebook, Instagram and other social media. But those notifications can be distracting, so turn them off or prioritize them so only those you really want to see (like from your family or kids) are the ones you see. You can check the others later when you have the time.

8. Stop answering emails and calls throughout the day.

Just like social media, answering emails, texts and phone calls throughout the day can be distracting. So designate time in your day to respond to those emails and messages. This will allow you to stay focused on what you need to get done, and get them done without the interruptions. You may have a short list of people you will respond to – like your spouse, parents or kids. But everyone else can wait.

9. Be grateful for the simple things.

How often have you taken things for granted? The air you breathe, the rain, the sunset. Go enjoy those things and be thankful for them. Get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Whether you stroll through a garden, go for a jog, or hang a hammock and take a nap, spending time outside is a great way to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

10. Spend time alone.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You can’t fill someone else’s cup when your cup is empty.” When you’re constantly tending to the needs of others – kids, spouse, work, school – you’ll feel drained. It’s important for you to take time for yourself so that you can recharge. That could be going for a walk, going to the gym, going out to lunch by yourself, or even going to a movie.

11. Be present.

It’s easy to run through your daily routine on autopilot… going through the motions while your mind is focused on other things. The next time you find yourself lost in thought about your next doctor appointment or tomorrow’s dinner plans, try to quiet your brain and guide your focus back to the present moment. If this is difficult, try to take a few slow, deep breaths to bring back your concentration. Challenge yourself to pause and be present at least a few times a day.

12. Say no.

Practice the art of saying no. That could mean saying no to overcommitment, to always being available, to staying late for work, to all the after-school sports and activities. Think about whether you really want to do something before you say yes. Scale back so that you can say no for a better yes.

13. Take a day off.

With email, social media and technology, it’s easy to stay plugged into work, school and commitments all day, everyday. Get unplugged once a week and enjoy time with your family or yourself Do nothing. Stay in your PJs all day. Resist the urge to do things and just rest. This is a great practice for your kids too. Let them see the benefit of an unhurried lifestyle. Busyness is glorified in our culture. Show them that rest is just as important as work.

14. Simplify your wardrobe.

Consider a capsule wardrobe – a collection of timeliness pieces that won’t go out of style and can be worn for different occasions. This can help to simplify your wardrobe and make it easy to get dressed. Just simply pick and choose items that mix and match well for everyday wear. In addition, it can help you to resist getting trendy pieces that go out of style in a season.

15. Think before you shop.

In a day, you’re likely to see a stream of ads from billboards to social media to magazines. While you don’t have to say no to every purchase, you can cut back on your shopping habits. Think about whether you really want the item you want to buy. Put it on hold for a week and learn to practice delayed gratification. If you really want it, you’ll get it. But if you don’t want it, you’ll be able to cut back on clutter and find more value in the things you already own. Here’s a great post about 5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Buy Something.