Simplifying Your Existence ... In Search of the Good Life

Written by Edward B. Toupin

I hear many people distress about their need to simplify their lives and "move torepparttar mountains." Their desire is to eliminate all ofrepparttar 102000 things that cause them stress and move into a less hectic, and more gentle, lifestyle. They wantrepparttar 102001 dream of solitude and calm with easy living. However, simplifying your life does not necessarily mean selling everything and moving to a mountain cabin. I've done it, and it's not that easy. It's expensive, alienating, and difficult. Human beings are not meant to live alone; however, sometimes it seems as if that isrepparttar 102002 only way to survive.

When I speak with such individuals, I first ask them what it is that they find hectic and stressful. In most cases, it is not their way of life that is causingrepparttar 102003 problem, but it is how they managerepparttar 102004 many facets of their life. "Moving torepparttar 102005 mountains" is merely running away fromrepparttar 102006 problems that are making life difficult. The most haunting aspect of running is thatrepparttar 102007 problems will follow you regardless of how far "back inrepparttar 102008 woods" you decide to move. The many facets or our lives can been seen as either stressful or as a learning experience and it is important, and beneficial, to resolve and manage them instead of running from them.

--- Why is it so hard? ---

On one extreme, there are people that say that life is beautiful, but they are bitter and unfulfilled. Onrepparttar 102009 other, there are those that despise life as horrid and painful, yet they are content to remain in their situation.

If indeed life were an absolute, everyone would see itrepparttar 102010 same way. However, life is a series of events that occur on a given timeline. We all mask and filter these events, or realities, because of our experiences. Sometimes we're blinded by these filters and cannot move; however, it is how you are able to adjust your view and manage your life that makesrepparttar 102011 difference.

You can either let life run you, or you can run it. It's just that simple. You haverepparttar 102012 power to determinerepparttar 102013 events andrepparttar 102014 opportunity to decide when these events occur. But, to do this, you have to not only figure out what is in your life, but also where you want your life to go. This isrepparttar 102015 first step in simplifying your life.

--- But, if I just dump it all, it all goes away. ---

Yes, if you simplify by eliminating everything in your life then, indeed, all of "those" problems will disappear. However, you will end up with ... nothing ... and an entirely new set of problems to handle. But, inrepparttar 102016 process, what is it that you are getting rid of? Your furniture? A car? Some tools? Your family? No, you are getting rid of "stuff." Stuff consists of things in your life that, at one time or another, meant something to you or represented something. For some reason, now they don't.

Look around at your stuff and determine what it meant to you and why. Then, figure out what changed over your life such thatrepparttar 102017 stuff no longer means anything to you. As you considerrepparttar 102018 changes, think about whether these changes were forrepparttar 102019 good orrepparttar 102020 bad. Did you outgrow these things forrepparttar 102021 better or forrepparttar 102022 worse?

As you ponder, realize thatrepparttar 102023 stuff is not causingrepparttar 102024 problems, but it is your view of your "life" and what "it" means to you. These things are merely representations of something that once was, but no longer is, and now you feelrepparttar 102025 tug of what these items represent. This "tug" usually happens when you have no current direction in your life and are searching for something more, or better, within yourself.

--- But, there's just so much coming at me. ---

Overwhelming sensations are expected in today's world; however, you haverepparttar 102026 ability to control everything that comes at you. The only thing that prevents your control is your ability to comprehendrepparttar 102027 various levels of control you can exert on any given facet of your life.

You have to examine every facet of your life, not justrepparttar 102028 ones that appear to be causing problems. You might find thatrepparttar 102029 ones that appear to be causingrepparttar 102030 greatest problems are not problems at all, but are instead irritated by other gnawing aspects of your life.

Write downrepparttar 102031 single, overwhelming, feeling that you have --- confused, lost, angry, misdirected, intimidated, etc. Then, write down every element of your life that affects you directly and indirectly --- work, marriage, neighbor, expectations, disappointments, successes, past, future, desires, hobbies, kids, friends, etc. For each of those items, write down how you feel about each one listed --- angry, alienated, confused, overwhelmed, etc.

Go through your list several times then sleep on it for a few days. You are slowly definingrepparttar 102032 things that are creatingrepparttar 102033 overall feeling you originally noted. Let it all settle in so that you can think clearerrepparttar 102034 next time that you examinerepparttar 102035 list. Then, as you go throughrepparttar 102036 feelings you defined for each item in your life, determine if there is a common thread that is causing that feeling.

In most situations I've seen, there is one underlying issue that provokes a problem in everything you do. It is not necessarilyrepparttar 102037 various issues, but it is something that you have within yourself that is blocking you or causing several external problems.

To Do or NOT to Do…That is the Question!

Written by Kathy Paauw

A colleague of mine recently shared that she enjoys procrastination so much that she has decided to give herself permission to do it daily. So, once a day she sits down and plans, schemes, and lists anything that comes to mind -- particularly things she knows she "should" do. She said that "it feels delicious constructing those plans with full awareness that I'll probably not carry them out! Who cares? The fun is inrepparttar planning!" She reported that since she started allowing this frivolity, she gets it out of her system in one sitting, and she no longer feelsrepparttar 101999 desire to procrastinate. She has cut in halfrepparttar 102000 amount of time she "wastes" in this manner, which has freed her to fillrepparttar 102001 time more productively. She says, "Since it's going to happen anyway, why not be at choice?"

A few hours after I read my colleague's e-mail about how she plans to procrastinate, Oprah was on TV interviewing life coach Martha Beck about how to de-stress your life. During her interview with Oprah, Martha suggested that instead of making a To Do list, we make a NOT To Do list.

That same week, I came torepparttar 102002 realization that I had over committed myself when I agreed to be part of a weekly teleconference meeting overrepparttar 102003 next eight weeks. As I thought aboutrepparttar 102004 topic ofrepparttar 102005 teleconference, I had to laugh. The Teleconference topic -- Balancing Between Work and Life - hit a nerve. I realized I was getting out of balance myself!

How often do you commit to something that you later regret, and then say to yourself, "Well, I HAVE TO DO IT because I gave my word!" Then you go on your way, grumbling about how over committed and stressed out you are. That's what I used to do, and I am getting better at recognizing when it's in my best interest to renegotiate commitments I have made. In this case, I renegotiated my participation inrepparttar 102006 teleconference, and by doing so I have freed up several hours a week of my time overrepparttar 102007 next eight weeks.

I think it is more than coincidence that I was bombarded with similar messages from several different sources, all withinrepparttar 102008 same week. Perhapsrepparttar 102009 universe was telling me something that I needed to hear…and just in time for March Forth Day and National Procrastination Week, which coincide with each otherrepparttar 102010 first week in March.

Last year at this time I wrote an article titled March 4th…Time to March Forth! located at andrepparttar 102011 year before that my March article was titled Fear Not! - The Perfectionist's Credo -- an article about procrastination found at To do or not to do -- to march forth or to procrastinate -- that isrepparttar 102012 question. Or IS thatrepparttar 102013 question?

It occurred to me that perhapsrepparttar 102014 best way to march forth in my life is to NOT do some things, to just say NO! I think that's why my colleague enjoys her procrastination exercise so much, and why Martha Beck has helped so many of her clients reclaim their lives by creating a NOT To Do list. We're all too busy being busy! Meanwhile, life is passing us by.

Several years ago I made a poster that says, "Every time I say YES to someone or something, I am saying NO to someone or something else." (Remember, I'm a recovering workaholic!) This poster has helped me make better decisions about what I say YES and NO to. Given that procrastination means not doing something, perhaps one ofrepparttar 102015 reasons that many of us procrastinate is because our lives are so full of things that deserve to be on our NOT To Do lists. Of course, there are also many other reasons for procrastinating. What is possible once you de-clutter your life of activities and commitments that are not top priority to you? What does your NOT To Do list contain?

Just Say NO! "It's easy to say 'no!' when there's a deeper 'yes!' burning inside." --Stephen Covey As an organizing consultant, I get calls every week from individuals who suffer from stress, disharmony, and sometimes dysfunction. People call me asking for assistance getting organized. I often ask, "What will getting organized do for you?" These are some ofrepparttar 102016 replies I hear: "If I didn't waste so much time looking for things, I could focus on things that are really important that I just don't have time for now," or "I'd have more time to relax and do things I enjoy."

Although a good storage or filing system and tickler file will help my clients find things quickly and remember important follow-up, there is no organizational system inrepparttar 102017 world that will fully addressrepparttar 102018 most common concern that I hear from nearly every person who calls me-not enough time. Visit to read more about a remarkable filing system that can help you find ANYTHING in 5 seconds or less. Visit ickler_file.html to read more about how to set up a tickler file and to view a photo ofrepparttar 102019 accordion part ofrepparttar 102020 customized tickler file system.

We all have 168 hours a week. You say that's not enough? What if you could wave a magic time wand and add an extra day to each week -- for a total of 192 hours a week. Would that be enough? I'll bet not! It'srepparttar 102021 buffet syndrome! Whether we get a smaller plate or a larger plate, most of us will fill it torepparttar 102022 rim at an all-you-can-eat buffet!

I frequently tell my clients that organizing their time and environment without first clarifying their priorities is like rearranging deck chairs onrepparttar 102023 Titanic. Since more time will not solverepparttar 102024 problem,repparttar 102025 other alternative is to have less stuff you "gotta do." The NOT To Do List "With so many options and choices nowadays, you will have to start saying no to some ofrepparttar 102026 good things in order to accommodaterepparttar 102027 best things." --Harold Taylor

How do you determine what goes on your NOT To Do list? Here are some suggestions: FIRST, get clear onrepparttar 102028 big picture. What is most important to you?

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