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.


Our Book, Inside Minimalism Vol.1

A collection of 50 short and relatable essays on simple living by a small team of writers from different backgrounds, but who all share a deep appreciation for minimalism as a way of life. This book covers many topics such as slow and quiet living, curation, consumerism, and family. It is not a strict guide book or a rule book. Rather, it is a book we hope will inspire, motivate, and encourage you to take a slow and simplified approach to life.

Read our book

Available in paperback and eBook formats