“Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” — Henry David Thoreau
With the weight of our responsibilities, personal lives and relationships, life is rarely simple.
The more that we have going for us, the higher potential we have for something going wrong. Even the most organized, well-planed individual can find it difficult to cope with the stress that accompanies even the best opportunities. Sometimes, we find ourselves too ambitious, only being able to put an ounce of energy into many different things at once. We fear that life is too short, that we need to seize each and every day for its full potential. This is true, but it is also true that sometimes, we can accomplish more by taking on less.
Do less, but do it better.
There’s a reason why quality over quantity is an expression we all know. When our energy is divided among too many things, it’s inevitable that our performance suffers. There’s nothing wrong with having lots of goals and striving to accomplish many things- but there’s also something extremely honorable about minimizing one’s priorities in order to do a better job.
Yes, we must seize the day, but there is also honor in taking the slower route as well.
Apply the same philosophy to your physical space.
Cleaning and organizing are often pushed to the bottom of the totem pole of responsibility when we are stressed. However, having too much clutter in one’s environment can truly exasperate the anxiety that they are experiencing. This doesn’t mean you have to clear out your entire closet, but rather gradually filter out anything hanging around that you don’t truly need.
The book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is an excellent read that that goes into depth on how our physical space around us has a direct correlation with our emotional status:
“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.” — Marie Kondō
It’s true that being in a more organized space will lead to more organized thoughts!
Decluttering your “emotional space” is also infinitely helpful.
It sounds odd, but we can actually simplify our emotional obligations as well. This means setting up stronger boundaries with other people, only committing to plans you truly want to join, as well as taking alone time regularly. Too often, we adapt to the emotions and stress of the people around us, it’s difficult to know where our worries end and when other’s begin. This doesn’t mean becoming distant and cold, but rather more intentional about the interactions we have with the people around us.
This makes emotional regulation much more possible, as well as finding a peaceful inner voice.
Everything in life requires balance, and it’s a hard art to master. The next time it feels that things are becoming unmanageable, simply reduce your priorities until you are ready to start again. There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back, and the quality of your life will improve greatly in return.