Simpler: Declutter Your Life and Focus on Whats Most Important

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Access your receipts, letters of completion, and customer account information. The topic of minimalism has been popping up all around me the past few years. Whenever you take a stand to unclutter your life and downsize, you are sending a loud and clear message to the universe that you will remove unwanted things from your life. It may seem silly, but when you clear out space you have more room to play, laugh, love and live.

Even though I love art, and trinkets, and even a few kitschy knick-knacks, I find I feel more peaceful and more present when I have less to look at as I enter a room. I think the reason I and so many teachers I know tend to hold onto things is that we work from a mindset of scarcity. Shrinking budgets means less…of everything.

How to Simplify Your Life: 10 Important Things to Simplify

Sooner or later, this sense of scarcity creeps into even our most basic choices. We have to trust we will have what we need. We also need to declutter with the present in mind: if the things we have are not routinely used or do not routinely bring us happiness, we need to trust ourselves to let these things go. With these ideas in mind, here are some simple, concrete ways to declutter your classroom starting today:.

We all know the benefit of sharing student samples when we introduce new projects each year. Rather than keeping the actual projects, take some great photos of those paintings, 3-D models, drawings, and posters.

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Better yet, include the student in the pictures so they can be remembered along with their project! Tech Tip: You can use this same strategy with your own paper files. Download the free phone app Scannable and start converting those resources to digital files. Scannable lets you snap a photo of a print-based document and convert it to a PDF. If you keep a classroom library, try creating a rating system to keep track of the books your students actually read and enjoy. That way, you can remove unpopular books every year or two to make way for new gems. Try this: put a post-it note inside the cover of each book.

When students finish the book, ask them to rate it, and then record this rating along with the date they read the book on the post-it.

How to Simplify Your Life

Try not to take this process personally. It was hard for me to see that my worn copy of " Jane Eyre" went unread for years, but I had to accept that my students had new and equally important interests! Instead of storing large seasonal or topic-based displays from year to year, start asking your students to contribute more! You might start with a basic bulletin board and then let students bring in images to share. You can also buddy up with other teachers to rotate decorations from year to year. It gives your eyes a place to rest.

This way, anytime you or your students come across an item that is no longer useful, you can place it right in the box. You can then drop the box off at your local Goodwill or offer it to other teachers, but make sure you commit to emptying it completely.

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As teachers, even when we eliminate unnecessary clutter, we are still left with a lot of important stuff. Mental clutter pulls us off center, disrupting our balance. It can get so jumbled and disorderly up there that we end up lost in la la land.

Declutter Your Life

Fortunately for me, I grew up in a big, loving family. However, a big family tends to hold all sorts of clutter. After a huge quarter-life crisis, I saw how I was compromising my own clarity and life balance with my own head-trash—the junk I kept upstairs.

Decluttering the mind requires us to become intentional on where we place our attention and how we spend our time and energy. Gratitude is appreciating what you have. Taking time every day to consider your blessings will help bring balance to your life. Some ideas: time with a friend, an award at school, your seatbelt, your breath, the colors in the park, and even the nourishing beauty of a rainy day.

Whether digitally or with paper, journaling is a wonderful release of pent-up thought.

By writing down your thoughts, worries, hopes, and experiences, you are finding respite from the chatter inside your head. Try to journal every day for however long it takes to feel peace on a topic. The more you do it, the faster the peace comes. Laughter has been proven to be the best medicine for relieving stress. It eases defensiveness, lightens your emotional load, and lifts stress off your shoulders.

It brings balance to your psyche because laughter is presence. Practice not taking yourself so seriously and laugh more often. Really laugh. A deep, hearty, Santa laugh.

The Best Decluttering Advice We've Heard

Watch comedies, hang out with funny friends, go to a comedy club, read the Sunday comic strips, or play with your kids or your dog. Take time to rest your mind every day. Let your mind shut off from having to process, apply, or interpret information. This means no TV, no conversation, no reading, and no problem solving. Take a break from the chores, from the duties of the day.

Let the breath come and go naturally, and the eyes roam wherever they want. Look at the trees sway, the clouds float, the stars shimmer. Subtle opinions, biases, and judgments creep into your mind and embed thought structures. Start really paying attention to the noise that you let seep into your eyes and ears. Ask, Is this benefitting my life in any way? As often as possible, connect with your inner child by exploring your imagination.

Let curiosity lead.

When it comes to opportunities to get creative, there are plenty! A few of my faves: puzzles, coloring, drawing, singing, dancing, and even making a meal from scratch. The point is to get lost in awe and wonder like you did at five years old. When you achieve that feeling from a certain activity, keep doing it! Get active and get your endorphins going! Exercise helps control your weight, prevent illness, boost energy, and improve your mood.

It helps you sleep better, feel better, and focus better. Find an activity that inspires you to raise your heart rate—dance, yoga, martial arts, running, walking, whatever.

Step 2: Go green. Emphasize composting and recycling in your home.

If maintain some level of frequent activity, it will serve your health and well-being for years to come. To figure out your top priorities, list your goals, your motivations, and those relationships that matter most to you. Then rank them in order of importance to your well-being. Evaluate anything that comes between you and your priorities—is it worth you compromising on what matters most?

Sounds counterintuitive, but if you want to see more of something in your life, start giving that thing away—be it love, money, or attention. Make it a point every day to be kind with your actions, your words, and especially your thoughts.

The ONE thing I simplified for productivy and focus // minimalist

That act alone is enough to improve your mood and clear the mental blockage between you and compassion. Since when does worrying get you anywhere? Release those useless, negative thoughts of worry.