Like the very planet around us, your life is a complex network of interweaving facets, causes and effects. Many of the more ambitious amongst us find a great joy in complicating this network even further – or perhaps joy is not the word, so much as need.

Those who are truly hungry for happiness, fulfillment and personal development often find it difficult to balance their craving for new stimuli with the stability that is essential if you are to progress in the manner you intend.

This stability can best be visualized as a form of balance: you want to work hard and develop your career, but this requires time and effort; you want to be a rounded human being and be there for the ones you love, but this requires the same time and energy that you’re draining at work. Meanwhile you have a home – not to mention a body – that requires constant care and attention if it is not to become an unworkable mess!

It’s no wonder more and more successful people are turning towards a more minimalistic approach to life.

This means refining the troublesome aspects of you work, home, and personal life, and streamlining the way you operate so that you can devote the proper attention to each respective element.

Many will begin in the home, by de-cluttering their shelves and cupboards in an attempt to reduce distraction, mess, and waste. It’s a good place to start, because it’s such a strong psychological metaphor for what you next want to achieve in your work and personal life.

Like each stage of minimalizing your set-up, though, it does require some time and thought.

Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo recommends to make a list of categories of the things you possess (e.g. clothes, books, mementos) and then hit one category at a time, moving from room to room and confronting your objects. In each case, if an item is neither useful nor beautiful to you, it’s time it found a home somewhere else.

While it is not good-spirited to think of people as being useful or not, a similar approach should be taken to your friends and your non-immediate family. Rather than consider their ‘use’ to you, think of it the other way around: are they impacting on the use you can be to other people? Are you able to help this individual in a way that is not entirely one-sided?

If you identify one person or another as an emotional vampire, a time-waster, or a user, then you need to seriously confront your ideas about your relationship with them. It is likely best to stop picking up that phone, and to avoid those social situations, for a little while at least.

See how you feel about each other when you’ve had a period apart, and if the relationship is worthwhile, hopefully it will become strengthened.

The infographic below suggests 12 simple steps towards achieving these goals, and similar targets in your work and spiritual life.

Progressing without a solid plan is not a good idea when your life is already hectic and you want to minimalize your lifestyle. Hit these clear, identifiable targets one by one, and that chaotic network will soon become a far more negotiable proposition.

  What about you? How do you simplify your life?

About the author

This is a guest post by John, a digital nomad and freelance writer.