Tips (and Inspiration!) to Simplify Your Life

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. -Confucius

We all strive for a simpler life. There are numerous articles, advice books, tv spots, etc. sharing ideas, techniques, and secrets about how to simplify your life. That doesn’t mean people actually take advantage of any of these tools or strategies. So, to get a more personal and realistic touch, we decided to ask around to find out what real people do in our community. This blog post is an aggregate of the tools and strategies people use in their daily lives to simplify home or work, or any combination of the two! Taking the classic “ask a friend” approach we’ve discovered a few great tools and tricks you can easily integrate into your life!

Egg Timer. I use it to make sure the time I'm at my desk is spent at full capacity. People become more and more unproductive the longer they work. It's a super obvious point, but I feel like people who work in large corporate offices generally lose productivity because they don't want to get up every hour and recharge because their bosses or co-workers might judge them. Personally, I know that I operate in 60 minute cycles. This means that for 60 minutes, I work hard and focus on one specific task and when the timer runs out, I leave my desk (unless I'm in a meeting) and literally lay down, do some pull-ups, walk around, etc for 10-15 minutes then start the process over. -Maximus Kang, OpenSesame

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. -Henry David Thoreau

Hardly original, but I live by my calendar and my "To Do" list... at the end of the day I like to review my calendar for tomorrow, so that I know what's coming up. And I also write my To Do list for tomorrow with my top priorities for the day. -Abby Miles, OpeneSesame

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. -Albert Einstein

This may sound heartless! But, saying no when people ask for favors or help if the outcome is not personally important to me (which might include helping a friend or doing something for charity) or in line with a personal goal. -Kelly Meeker, via LinkedIn

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. -Lin Yutang

I am a big fan of the Mynd calendar app ( for iOS. It ties me in to my Reminders, to my gmail calendar(s), to LinkedIn (so their public profile can be linked to my appointments), and to Evernote so I can add more information and keep it stored in the Cloud. It also learns about my driving/travel and can tell me when I have to leave for appointments or meetings. There is a premium service but even the basic functionality is impressive. -Mark Sheppard, Shift eLearning

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all. -Laura Ingalls Wilder

To simplify my life, I plan obsessively. I use multiple calendars (home, work, shared with others) both on my computer and on several whiteboards. Knowing what I have coming up in the next couple months helps me relax and take things as they come. I leave some space for last minute events, of course, but having major things planned works best for me! Most of my planning goes into races. I run and do triathlons, and knowing when those are coming and what I need to do to prepare is really helpful. -Kate Cornelius, OpenSesame

A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think. -Eleanor Roosevelt 

I use Basecamp to organize and track projects. It's a very simple and easy to use tool compared to MS Project. In addition, it tracks email replies by project and that way I leave my work email for regular admin duties. -Karla Forti, Via LinkedIn

In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I recently moved my calendar digital because I simply couldn’t keep track of my physical calendar, so it has never been much help to me. The way to get around this was of course, digitizing. I never let my iphone out of my site and thus am never without my calendar. This app combines my built in phone calendar with my Google calendar. I have multiple calendars added to my Google calendar that are a variety of colors, so I can tell what type of activities I have coming up each day, week, or month. Green is social, blue is work. It’s easy to stay organized when my calendar is constantly attached to me. -Anna Taylor, OpenSesame (that’s me!)

Live simply so that others may simply live. -Mahatma Gandhi

It looks like we all love our calendars and apps! How do you simplify your life?

Image: Robert Benner via flickr