Step by Step to A Simpler Life

(Read in :03) Most people think it takes a long time to change. It doesn’t. Change is immediate! Instantaneous! It may take a long time to decide to change…but change happens in a heartbeat!”~Andy Andrews

I’ve had some conversations this week that made me believe it’s time for a reminder. Overwhelm has become an epidemic. A change is long overdue.

Over twenty years ago, we taught all new hires in our retail store a simple three step customer service strategy. We taught, “Everyone we meet each day shares the same three problems. They’re tired, they’re in a hurry and they are hurting inside about something we can’t imagine- no matter how perfect the package appears. Show them kindness.” Being tired and in a hurry hurts all by itself.

The battle is stepping up

Today’s biggest battle is time starvation. It’s the reason we’re always tired and in a hurry! In our frenzied approach to life, we grab at quick fixes, Band-Aids to prop up our body and soul so we can to drag through one more ridiculously over-scheduled day. You know the crutches; energy drinks, planners, multitasking, prescription meds and escape substances like alcohol.

Most of us try to fit an insanely unrealistic amount of activity into the 24 hours we are given each day. And no one ever gets an extra fraction of an hour, ever. There’ll be times you have to jam more into every hour than makes sense. It happens. But, when there’s never a let-up, the constant push drains our energy, strips our gears, causes friction and creates huge amounts of stress in our relationships. It wears down our immune system, makes us irritable and steals our joy.

One step at a time, one day at a time

My new mantra. The answer is yes, we can simplify but it isn’t simple. Most important, it needs to become a daily practice, as basic as bathing. It’s got to happen gradually. We can’t just jump off the crazily spinning merry go round, but time does have a fascinating dual nature. Time can be the enemy or the ally- it depends on how we spend it. The best use of time might be to “practice the pause” and rethink where you’re headed!

The hard part? Admitting to yourself you’ve become addicted to “busy”. What’s more, we must get intentional about what we do with our daily allotment of time. It is mental triage. Make the decision to live in a way that honors your values and priorities. If something doesn’t contribute to that, it must go.

The steps you take are always up to you

It’s a sorting out process that will be unique to each person. Begin with small changes. Gradually minimize activities that don’t add quality to your life or reflect your priorities. Maybe you’ll find that you don’t miss the things you thought you had to do!  Give the changes some time to feel normal. Remember you can always add back, but don’t forget it’s how we got ourselves into overwhelm!

Going forward, keep trying to find a better balance, be patient and stay the course. In a nutshell, even the smallest changes can create huge improvements over time. The trick is to stop or at least slow down long enough to think clearly and then take a little step in that direction. Lather, rinse, repeat.

“Little strokes fell great oaks.”~Ben Franklin

Tell me about the changes you want to make in your life. I’d love to hear from you. What is one thing you would like to stop doing and why haven’t you stopped? Deep thoughts! Think about it and I’ll see you Monday! Please consider subscribing. Three minutes or so, twice a week. A dish of tasty food for thought.




  • Traci Runge

    One area of my life I would like to consciously “work on” is the time I spend simply talking to the people I care about. I make time for prayer and I make commitments like volunteering and business. I would like to commit to relationship nurturing.

    • Betty Streff

      You already do a great job at this but it’s a worthy pursuit! You will reap huge benefits as you grow in this area!

  • Gail

    Multi-tasking is out! Single tasking is in! Paying attention to just one thing allows you to savor and enjoy – whether it’s food, people or a walk. And somehow, that slows down time..At least, that’s what works for me…

Leave a Comment or Question