Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.
“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace. A persistent simplification will create an inner and outer well-being that places harmony in one’s life.” – Peace Pilgrim
Most of us have more stuff, obligations, priorities, people and mental clutter than allow us to perform optimally.
If you can get rid of all the excess in your life, it’s much easier to focus on the things that are most important to you. Odds are you have a significant amount of various types of clutter that you can purge from your life.
Simply your surroundings: Few things make it easier to concentrate than getting rid of the physical clutter in your environment. A perfect example is my Jeep right now—it’s full of the little things of life that are nagging at me to put them away.
The easiest way to do this is to go one room (or vehicle) at time. Ask yourself the following questions:
“Do I really need/use this item? Do I love this item?”
Ideally, everything you own should either be genuinely useful to you or something that you love. Anything else is just getting in your way.
Simplify your mind: Unless you’re very fortunate or have a lot of practice, odds are that you have a lot of mental clutter that dramatically limits your ability to focus. The ability to focus on the task at hand not only makes you much more effective, it’s much more relaxing than the alternative.
Here’s where we turn again to the power of prayer and meditation. While meditation might look like a person sitting on a pillow trying not to fall asleep, it’s really about learning to concentrate 100% on a specific idea at any given moment. In Philippians 4:6-8, Paul teaches us that the key to overcoming anxiety and worry is to transfer those nagging cares to Him and to refocus our newly-released minds on good things.
Simplify your schedule: Most of us are over-scheduled. If you have too many things to do, you won’t have sufficient time to dedicate to the truly important things.
The solution is to prioritize. If a stranger looked at your schedule, he should be able to figure out what your priorities are. So prioritize the items you currently have in your schedule. Odds are that the items at the bottom are optional. Eliminate the items from your schedule that don’t really need to be there. Perhaps some of them could be deleted by enlisting some help with some things. Maybe someone could do your shopping or run other errands for you.
Remember that the truly successful person is the one that spends as much time as possible on things he enjoys.
Let’s Bounce Back
Make a list of all the little annoyances in your life. Maybe your car pulls a little to the left or the front door to your house sticks when it rains. Perhaps you have a phone call that needs to be made but you just don’t want to make it. Or maybe you’re avoiding one of those tasks like laundry or paying a bill. Write down all of these minor, nagging things and vow to resolve at least one each day.