Even if you are super-organized, you might not realize quite how many distractions demand your attention throughout your day.
The people around you, money worries, and feeling stuck all affect your energy levels, your creativity and most of all your focus.
Many new businesses fail before they even get off the ground because the entrepreneur becomes overwhelmed by what they have to do next. It’s not just a question of having a to-do list either – you need to eliminate whatever holds you back from achieving your goals.
More and more, I’ve started subtracting rather than adding things to my life. I’ve found this helps me stay on track and get things done.
If you are struggling to get started with your online business, you may be suffering from overwhelm. Here are 5 great ways to simplify your life – I can vouch for them because they have all been tried and tested by me!
5 Ways To Simply Your Life Today
1. Get Clear On Your Goals
What do you want out of life?
Instead of having a vague notion that you carry around in your head take time out to discover what you really want and be sure to write your goals down.
Sadly, most people never bother to write down their goals so they end up drifting through life, never really achieving anything and wondering why their life lacks purpose.
Of course you still have to do the work to make things happen.
But if you know what you are aiming for, you remove a lot of confusion and stop being distracted by other business opportunities.
You develop a laser-like focus that attracts whatever you need to make your dreams a reality and a simple path with clear steps opens up before you.
Have you ever done that exercise where you try to spot all the red cars in the road? As soon as you start looking for them, they show up.
The truth is they were always there but because you weren’t focusing on them, you never noticed them in your field of vision.
Your goals are a lot like that.
Once you gain clarity over what you want, your subconscious mind starts to home in on what’s relevant and discards what isn’t.
As a result, you start to attract what you need to move forward with your life.
Creating a vision board and keeping a journal have really helped me visualize my goals over the years. It always surprises me how quickly and easily my goals manifest so I wholeheartedly recommend you do this.
Your vision board can be a real poster board stuck on your wall and filled with images and affirmations of your dream life. Or it could be a PowerPoint presentation or even a Pinterest secret board.
The format isn’t that important, it just has to be something that you can connect with and that reminds you every day of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
2. Commit To One Course
When I stumbled into online marketing a few years ago, I wanted to make money online fast so I followed every big name “guru” out there.
I was inundated with get-rich quick schemes and information that was misleading or just plain wrong. I attended loads of free events that were pitch fests and ended up buying programs that I never used, and working with the wrong mentors because I was so confused.
As a result I lost a lot of money (around $10,000) and time.
This seems to be a typical path for many business opportunity seekers.
You think there’s a short-cut that will bring you instant riches so you waste a lot of energy looking for it only to come full circle.
The truth is there is no magic bullet. There is no shortcut to success.
You have to bring everything back to yourself and ask the hard questions you are trying to avoid in the first place, like what do I really want in life?
If you want to earn money online – ethically – then you have to start thinking like an entrepreneur and understand that building a business takes time.
Start by finding something that you’re passionate about and that people actually want. Commit to learning everything you can about your business.
Above all, follow one course until you are successful – or until you’ve tested it for long enough to know it won’t work before you move onto the next venture.
When I understood this, my life became a whole lot simpler and things began to shift.
3. Clear Out Your Inbox
Quite often one of the biggest stressors that stop you from living the simple life you crave is your inbox.
Emails are a huge distraction so it’s important to manage them and control what you allow into your inbox in the first place.
Not only does it take time to read emails and deal with each one, but even if you ignore them they end up sitting there, hogging space.
One of the best decisions I made was to get brutal with my inbox, here’s what I did:
- In order to simplify your life, I suggest you unsubscribe from anyone who is not in alignment with your values and your goals. You should unfollow these people on social media too so you don’t see their messages in your feed. I also turned off all email notifications from my social media accounts and removed social media apps from my phone to reduce the “noise”.
- Use a free service like unroll me to unsubscribe from all your newsletters with one click. Just keep the top 5 subscriptions that inspire, motivate or educate you about your dream of working for yourself.
- Keep up with industry news with a tool like Feedly to read, manage and share information instead of getting it delivered to your inbox.
- Have an inbox blitz. Sometimes we hang on to old emails long after we need to, which can block your stress-free, simpler life. You probably only need to keep hold of a few emails so schedule a clear-out session and delete any emails that you don’t need. Organize the rest into folders. Aim to keep emails to a minimum and delete them as you go along.
4. Start Saying No
One of my biggest breakthroughs was the understanding that I always have the power to say no.
As human beings we all crave love.
We quickly learn during childhood that the surest way to be liked is to say yes to everything and agree with everyone.
The trouble is that this can turn you into a people pleaser, a habit that often stays with you as an adult.
You stretch yourself thin to keep everyone else happy.
You go along with things just to keep the peace.
You neglect yourself and become disconnected from the real you and your own needs, wants and dreams.
Many women struggle with this, and if I’m honest I still find it hard to say no at times.
But if you want to build your dream life, you have to start being selfish in the true sense of the word. There are only so many hours in the day, and something’s got to give.
It’s important to realize that saying no doesn’t make you a mean or a bad person. Quite the opposite.
Saying no allows you to set boundaries with others, stay focused, practice self-care and most of all simplify your life.
You start to define yourself by your choices; what you will and won’t do; what you accept and what you won’t tolerate.
Take a look at everything that you have on your to-do list and ask yourself if you have the time and energy to add something else to it. If not then don’t let yourself be guilt-tripped into saying yes.
As Josh Billings said “Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying ‘yes’ too quickly and not saying no soon enough”.
5. Take Control Of Your Finances
No matter how much you want to simplify your life, you have to deal with your finances because you need money to survive and to invest in your business.
Many women don’t like dealing with the money side of things but if you are serious about your business you have to take responsibility.
It’s time to stop burying your head in the sand and get a reality check!
I recommend you take some time before you start your business to really look at your financial affairs.
Can you afford to start a business?
During the last recession many people overstretched themselves and found themselves in more debt than ever before. This is nothing to be ashamed of, what’s done is done. But you must take charge of your finances because money worries can weigh on your mind.
Financial difficulties put enormous pressure on your relationships as well as cloud your thinking and decision-making, which can be disastrous for your business.
It’s important to understand that money is simply energy so you must take the emotion out of it if you want to attract it to you and have it serve you.
Firstly, if you have credit card debts or loans set up automatic payments to leave your bank account every month on the same date. You can also do this for your everyday bills to simplify your life because it gets done without you even thinking about it.
However, if you have fallen behind with repayments and creditors are chasing you, then don’t avoid them.
Talk to them and try to negotiate an affordable debt repayment plan or enlist the support of a specialist debt advisor to do this for you.
Some charities and credit unions offer this service for free so there’s no need to pay a private debt management company.
Besides managing your debt, it’s also worth looking at how you’re spending your money right now.
The chances are everything is already accounted for so you need to think about where you can reasonably cut back to ensure you have the resources to invest in your business.
Although an online business doesn’t require huge start-up costs compared with other business models, you’ll still have some business expenses e.g. your website, marketing and probably business coaching to help you get your first clients or customers.
It could be several months or years before you earn any income so you must have a plan in place to manage your cashflow.
When I started out, I set up a separate bank account and started putting aside funds for my business expenses.
Instead of having a $5 latte every morning from the fancy Italian cafe near my office, I cut back to once or twice a week and started bringing in my own lunch to work. I also sold a ton of stuff, mainly formal office attire that I knew I wouldn’t be needing, on Ebay.
Simple changes like these soon add up. That extra $100-$300 dollars a month can go towards your hosting fees or paying a virtual assistant for a few hours each month to help you with research, producing web content or managing your social media.
This is a low-risk way of testing your business idea and helping you successfully transition from your day job to your dream business.
If you are striving for more in life you have to start subtracting and eliminating what isn’t serving you. This doesn’t mean you should go round hurting people you care about or denying yourself the things you love.
It’s about making decisions that help you simplify your life and remove the things that stress you out.
It’s about giving yourself room to breathe and practicing self-care.
It’s about taking control and creating space for your dream life to take shape.
Ultimately, building an online business is an exciting journey from employee to entrepreneur that teaches you to weed out the non-essential from the essential.
Have you tried any or all of these 5 ways to simplify your life? Did they work? What have I missed out? Please share your experiences below.