Constructing a Simplicity Framework

Two lists to help simplify your life

Words by Carl Phillips

“A few strong instincts and a few plain rules suffice us.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life can get complicated. Full of friction.

We can choose to live another way. A simpler way.

We can construct a simplicity framework around what we do and how we choose to live. A lens through which we can see the world, unobstructed by the noise that surrounds us. A tool we can leverage to design the lifestyle we wish to live.

What would such a framework look like?

It could start with something as simple as two lists. One list of things we want to remove (or reduce) from our lives, and a second list that contains things we wish to make space for.

I offer the following ideas to help give you a running start.

Need Less: 

- Busyness and busywork
- Rushing 
- Stress/worry/anxiety
- Toxic people and/or negative energy 
- Debt
- Clutter
- Confusion
- Comparisons
- Spending on things that do not bring joy
- Regret and recrimination

Need More:

- White space (time for reflection, time for hobbies and passion projects)
- Self-care routines—time to reset and recharge (meditation, box breathing, a long walk, spa/massage—many ways work) 
- Connected time with those we care about most (turning up fully present and invested)
- Time for travel and adventure
- Positivity  
- Movement practice (strength training, walking, hiking, yoga, swimming—lots of options here)  
- Work that excites us, that we can find meaning in
- Living in the present
- Acts of kindness
- Gratitude

Such an approach, if we get it right, is simple but powerful. It can really serve us. It keeps us accountable and focused. It also acts as a guide to help bring us back to clarity and calm.

Build your own simplicity framework. Invest energy in building personalized “need more” and “need less” lists.  Commit to designing a life you wish to live. Fill that life with what (and who) matters most.  Remove the rest.  

Carl Phillips

Carl is a writer and runs Frictionless Living, a site about the pursuit of simplicity to help us focus on what matters most. It’s about finding clarity in distracted times.


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Inside Minimalism is our series of exclusive essays on simple living. Each essay is written by our team of writers who are passionate about helping you craft a simpler life. Supported by their own personal experiences, we want to inspire and encourage you to clear the path of life’s stuff, so you can get to where you really want to be.

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