I shot a brief video about how we can intentionally create a more simple, beautiful life, even in small moments. You can watch it here.
In this video, I start out by talking about an internal battle I am having. Just having finished a kundalini yoga class, I was desperate to take the dogs for a quick walk, because it was a beautiful morning outside.
Part of me, however, had the brakes on; making me feel guilty and trying to convince me that I should remain at my laptop, while the other part was trying to convince me that I should practise what I preach about living my simple beautiful life; taking breaks and getting outdoors.
I am very aware that I am very fortunate to be able to live this life – with access to nature and my working from home so I can be available for my girls.
We did however make choices, and a few sacrifices, to live the way we do.
I do believe that a more simple and more considered life is available to many of us.
Even if our lifestyles allow these pauses in small amounts only, I think many more of us could choose simplicity a bit more. In my experience simplicity in my choices meant a better quality of life. It meant more feeling of space and a slightly slower pace of my days.
I wrote a blog post about choosing our quality of life which you can read here.
I worked in corporate for many years. I lived in London and worked on trade floors in the investment banking world, so I am familiar with corporate life stresses and speed and busyness.
Still, on many days I remember even then, I prioritised getting out to a little park at lunchtime. I was usually by myself because my work environment could be quite frenetic and high energy, and I needed some calm time alone. Sometimes I did a yoga class at lunch, and so did one of my very senior managers. If he could, I could manage it. We simply made it a priority (and he was a great manager).
I believe a lot of similar decisions about how we live our lives boil down to our priorities.
We can incorporate simple beautiful living into our daily lives, whether we have a 9-5 corporate job or work from home; if we make it a priority.
This is how I do it:
I talk a lot about our 4 life quadrants: Health, Wealth, Self and Social.
I find that dividing life up makes it easier to do a life check-in to ensure I am spreading my time and energy fairly evenly between the 4 areas.
Having a loose organisational structure allows me to clarify my priorities in each quadrant, and more easily ignore everything that does not make the lists.
I find it a simple way to prioritise what matters in my life and leave the rest.
I wrote a blog post at the start of the year looking forward across all 4 quadrants. You can read it here.
I still feel guilty when I’m not staring at my laptop during the workday. What I am finding, however, is that when I do look after my Self and my Health and connect with others Socially, I find I can focus more easily on my Wealth quadrant.
So with this in mind, I created a simple check-in system to have a good day. I believe a collection of good days make a good life.
I use it as a reminder to come back to my priorities throughout my day and I call it 3-5-7-11 (a descriptive if somewhat uncreative title)!
3 – 5 – 7 – 11
I like to keep everything as simple as possible in life, so here is a brief explanation of my system of three, five, seven, eleven: Here it is on video.
Three refers to having a three-item only to-do list – no more.
I incorporate at least one Health, Self and Social item every day, so this 3 item only to-do list is more for my Wealth section, where there is always more to do.
Examples for some of my list items would be as follows:
- Health – running or walking the dogs or stretching.
- Self could include meditation and journaling and drinking at least one glass of water, and
- Social would include messaging a sibling or friend or seeing someone.
Nothing grand, nothing undoable, because we are in the business of keeping life simple.
I have been doing this for a while now and only set myself three priority items that I need to do every day. If I get through them, I can stop and spend time with my girls, or if I am on fire and have lots of energy and time allows, I can add more.
The main point of this part of the system is to keep a short, focused to-do list rather than a long one. We keep motivated if we feel we are making progress. A never-ending to-do list makes us feel like we are not achieving our goals and not being successful.
I find when I have a long to-do list, I tend to become more scattered and achieve less.
It is a great feeling however when I can tick off all 3 items, and it keeps me motivated to keep working towards my goals bit by bit, step by step.
This is a simple way to encourage positive self-talk and keep up the motivation to keep going!
Five refers to thinking of five things for which I am grateful.
I repeat this exercise throughout the day as many times as I feel like it may give me a boost of positivity. I simply take a moment every now and again to pause and consider a few good things in my life, and thereby boost my abundance mindset, and support the law of attraction working in my life.
7 and 11
7 and 11 refer to a breathing exercise.
This is a reminder to pause at times throughout the day to ground ourselves when we get “juggly” and scattered.
Breathing in through the nose for a count of 5 and out through the mouth for a count of 11 can help to make things feel calmer.
An uneven count gives our mind just enough to focus on so that it is kept from worrying and planning.
Who is 5-5-7-11 for?
Anyone can use this simple life tool.
For those who’s life demands a juggle
It is suited to those who are busy juggling separate needs: parenting and working and setting up businesses, caring for family, and running houses and feeding the dogs.
It is for anyone who could use a little more breathing space and a little less squeeze.
In particular, it has helped me to let go of some unnecessary stressors, and it has soothed my anxious mind regarding the need to fill all my time with work.
Those who could do with letting go of some self-limiting beliefs
Perhaps many of us could do with letting go of some self-limiting beliefs. My example, in this case, could be my outdated and unhelpful belief that I have to be in front of my computer during work hours. I am now realising that this makes very little sense as long as I am getting through my 3 item to-do list and making progress in all quadrants!
As long as I am doing the work, taking action and learning and sharing what I learn, I can create a lifestyle I love.
Those who fear losing quantity and quality in work by living more simply
When I consider my Health, Self and Social areas of life along with my Wealth, I don’t see any lessening in quality or even quantity of the work that I do. In fact, I seem to have greater focus and achieve more in less time.
This idea of prioritising what is really important and taking care of yourself across all areas, with the realisation that you can still get done what you need to get done work-wise, I feel is an idea worth sharing.
So that is what I shall do. If you decide to join me on this simplicity train – I would be thrilled.
So did I choose to stay in front of my computer, or walk the dogs?
What do you think? Post it in the comments!
And if you like the idea of creating your own simple lifestyle on your own terms, give 3-5-7-11 a go for a week and let us know what you thought in the comments.
For more simple, beautiful life inspiration, we are also on Instagram at asimplebeautifullifesa.
As always, thanks for reading.