I’m Too Busy! Simplify Your Life in 3 Easy Steps

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If you feel stressed out it might be time to simplify your life. Take a look at your schedule and follow these practical tips to regain balance in life.

Are you too busy lately? Do you feel like you need to simplify your life? We all have those weeks, months, and sometimes years when there is simply too much to do. We work to balance our careers, our homes, our relationships and our hobbies, but somehow, there never seems to be enough hours in the day.

Between the demands of work, family and trying to carve out some time to enjoy doing things that enhance the quality of our lives – like spending time with friends, taking in local events, exploring hobbies and such, life gets full very fast. It’s easy for that fullness to cross over into feeling overwhelmed, burned out and stressed.

This is where simplifying our lives comes in. We’ve probably all heard about this concept at least once before, but what I want to discuss in this post is how to actually go about simplifying our lives. I’m interested in exploring the process of how you can simplify your life and still do the things you love.

Determine Your Priorities


It’s human nature, I think, to try and do it all, have it all and be it all. But the fact of the matter is that we just can’t do everything. Therefore it’s important when you are trying to simplify your life that you take some time to determine your priorities. Make a list of all that you have to do, and start putting your obligations into columns: Most important, Semi-important and Not-really important. One of the easiest ways to streamline an overcrowded life is by making sure not everything is given the same priority level.

For instance, you might like your weekly handball game with your old high school buddy, but is it up near the top of the list? If so, keep it on the schedule, but if there are ten other things that rank above it, it might be time to kick your weekly handball date to the curb. When working to simplify your life, it’s vital that you determine what activities and obligations are on the top of your priority list, and consider letting the rest go, or at least scaling back the frequency of those things that aren’t really that important to you.

Simplify your Stuff


Stuff, as much as we like it, takes up time; time to use it, time to maintain it and time to repair it. If you’re looking to simplify your life, consider getting rid of some of your “stuff.” If the hot tub you bought only gets used once every other month, is it really worth your time and expense? Or if that classic car you bought in hopes of restoring it is more of an obligation than a joy, it might be time to let it go.

The fact of the matter is that less stuff and clutter in your house means, from a psychological standpoint and from a time standpoint, less busyness and less stress. So, if you’re looking to simplify life, get rid of the stuff that no longer holds value to you and your family.

If you feel stressed out it might be time to simplify your life. Take a look at your schedule and follow these practical tips to regain balance in life.

Simplify your life by Learning to Say “No”


Sometimes certain people and personality types have a tough time saying “no” to requests for help and responsibility. In order to simplify your life, though, learning to say no to things that you truly don’t have time for or don’t really want to do is vitally important. You only have so many hours in the day, and it’s important that those hours are spent doing what’s most important to you. Learning to stand strong and say “I just can’t (or “don’t want to”) take that on right now” is okay, and it’s an important step in learning to simplify your life.

Choosing to simplify your life has the ability to not only improve your happiness, but your health as well. By learning to simplify, you can reduce your stress level. Less stress often leads to eating better and taking better care of yourself. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed with all there is to do in life, consider following the tips above and make a plan today to begin to simplify your life.


How big is your to-do list these days? Have you been feeling stressed or on the verge of burning out? Do you thrive on a super-busy schedule, or is it time to simplify your life?

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Laurie is a wife, mother to 4, and homesteader who blogs about personal finance, self-sufficiency and life in general over at The Frugal Farmer. Part witty, part introspective and part silly, her goal in blogging is to help others find their way to financial freedom, and to a simpler, more peaceful life.


  • Will says:

    I have a difficult time saying no to people who want work done. It’s hard for me to say no to money even if the work isn’t super interesting. I think back to high school when I didn’t have that much money and would jump all over the opportunity for additional paid gigs! I need to learn to just say ‘no’.

    On a positive note, I definitely have a decluttered life and I eat super healthy!

    • Laurie says:

      You’re totally on your way, Will! I think the saying “no” thing comes lots of times with age and experience. I used to never say no to anyone, no, I have no problem saying it regularly. Maybe it comes from having kids. 😉

  • I have been super busy lately, but not stressed. I do plan on spending a good part of my weekend organizing around the house to try and limit time looking for misplaced stuff and de-cluttered a bit. Want to be prepared for the Holidays which typically get even busier.

  • I said no to a networking event last night. It would have been a lot of driving in bad traffic, a later night, and food and alcohol I didn’t really feel I needed. Sure I could try and push through, but my mind and body was screaming no and to just relax and refuel at home after a tough day. I think it’s important to listen to those cue from our mind and body, otherwise it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

  • Sarah says:

    I completely agree about how having less stuff majorly simplifies your life. We recently downsized when we moved and it’s been the best thing ever. We have a smaller apartment which means less to clean and we have so much less stuff than normal. I actually have tons of time now during the day to devote to my girls and work!

    • Laurie says:

      That’s great, Sarah! We too, whenever we get rid of stuff, feel so much more at peace. It’s amazing how much of an impact clutter has on a person!

  • These last few months have been crazy for me and over the last 2 weeks or so, I have made a concerted effort to simplify my life, specifically saying no to a few projects. It pained me to say no, but last night as I was playing catch with my son (instead of sitting on the computer) and he was giggling, it felt like the greatest reward ever. It’s hard to say no, but sometimes it is a must.

  • Laurie, I totally agree with saying no and having priorities. I think I was watching a video of Brendon Burchard where he said if you had an enjoyable day journal it and write it down. What made that day special, and how can you duplicate it each and every day? It probably has a lot to do with saying no to things you don’t enjoy and making enjoyment of life a priority.

  • I have been feeling a little overwhelmed as of late, and I know it’s just a matter of prioritizing and getting more of a routine down. While we haven’t added to anything in the apartment, we could still stand to get rid of a few things that create clutter!

    • Laurie says:

      I’d imagine with a wedding to plan too now, you’d be feeling a bit overwhelmed! Perfect time to declutter a bit more and have more emotional time to devote to things more important. 🙂

  • Yes, I’ve been saying that awhile…I’m too busy! I really need to be better at prioritizing. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and end up not doing anything or doing things that aren’t that high on the priority list, but something lower down which is easy to get down.

  • Syed says:

    My wife says I try to do it all between work, blogging, playing basketball, spending time with my son and other obligations. I’m really starting to see the value in making a list of priorities and sticking with it. Some things just have to go.

    I especially like the idea of having less stuff. Selling stuff is actually fun for me, so losing clutter and making some money sounds like a win win!

  • I’ve been pretty busy lately and these tips might help me simplify my stuff. The good thing is that I’ve been busy because I’m working on something new, but that should be over soon and I’ll be back in no time.

  • Grayson Bell says:

    I have learned to say no to things over the years. I used to be a “yes” man and then found out I would get taken advantage of. Not anymore!

  • Mrs. Maroon says:

    I seem to constantly feel overwhelmed by even just the basics of caring for a home and family. But then I catch myself wasting time with things that don’t add value to my day – primarily social media or other mindless internet wanderings. The ‘must-do’ tasks are still waiting for me. So having more self-discipline to stay on task would certainly help me reduce the too busy feelings.

    • Laurie says:

      I can identify!!! The Internet seems to be a huge time suck for me too, and I don’t even do Facebook! I’ve been trying lately to stay off except for designated times during the day.

  • I totally hear you on simplifying your stuff! We recently got rid of a whole bunch of stuff and I’ve already noticed that there is less stuff to dust :-). Especially since we got rid if some stereo equipment and a TV!!

  • Ugh! Laurie how did you know that my to-do list this week has grown massive and is stressing me out?! This post is just in time…!

  • Athena says:

    Great post Laurie! Stuff definitely takes up your time, energy and money. I’m moving in three months and I really need to work on getting rid of things. I only want to move things into my apartment if they are beautiful, something I enjoy and routinely use or are loved. If they aren’t any of the three? Goodwill!

    • Laurie says:

      Moving is always a great time to really sit and figure out what you need/want, and what is simply taking up space, isn’t it? Best of luck as you work to get ready for the move, Athena!

  • There are people who thrive on being super busy. I have never been one of them. I prefer to do things at my own pace. They turn out much better that way. Love your post, Laurie, as always! 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, but I wonder with those who thrive on it when/if the day will come when they just get burnt out. But maybe as I get older I’m just getting too lazy. 😉

  • Myles Money says:

    I’m all for the de-clutter idea, but I haven’t learned to say “no” yet. I’m sure it will come with time, but as a result I have I have so many things pulling me this way and that, I have to-do lists to prioritize my to-do lists.

    • Laurie says:

      I think learning to say no definitely comes with age, Myles. The older you get, the more you’ll learn to be comfy in your own skin, and the easier it’ll be to say no when that’s what’s best for you.

  • I am happy to report I’m doing pretty well with taking time for myself and saying no. Or saying yes and feeling confident it won’t burn me out. I am trying to be nicer to myself, work hard, but still make time for me. I’ve already got the decluttering thing down.

  • Kim says:

    Thank you for this. I totally blew off “Schoolarama” night tonight because I was just too tried to go out and be nice to people. You really can’t beat a nice, quite night at home, and I’m not sure why I always think I need to do more.

    • Laurie says:

      Kim, good for you!!!! So glad you made the best choice for you and your family – taking the time to recharge really will help you be the person you want to be. 🙂

  • So many of us waste so much time by doing things that really doing provide value to our lives, such as watching TV, checking email 10 times a day and wasting time on Facebook. It’s quite easy to reclaim time if we actually pay attention.

  • I woke up at 4:30am today to get everything in and I’m booked solid until 11pm- I’m falling over the burnout cliff!

  • For me II make a list the previous night and wake up early, I then avoid the internet and all time wasting activities and stick to my to do list.

  • Keeping those priorities front of mind is challenging for me, but I’ve made pretty good progress on simplifying my life. Learning to be OK with a few hours of quiet time, going for a walk near the beach or through a nice garden, or just sitting playing with my daughter, rather than feeling like I always need to be doing something has had a huge impact on my happiness!

  • Jason @ Phroogal says:

    The best thing I learned was how and when to say “no.” It saves both parties so much time and it doesn’t mean it won’t be a “yes” in the future. A big challenge for me is that I am a natural workaholic and as an entrepreneur now I can overload my tasks but since then just follow 3 things I need to do each day. If it takes me 1 hour or 10 that all depends. But now I’m never too busy .

  • Oh wow, I feel like this was written for me! I really need to get better about not putting so much on my plate at one time. I just get so excited about projects and ideas and then I realize I have a mile-long to do list. Ack!

  • Saying “no” to someone is something I am dealing with. It’s a bit hard to decline or to do so especially when I know I can and the person asking is someone whom I have a close relationship with. Thanks for making me realize. I hope I learn how to say “no” sooner than later.

  • I can relate! I don’t know how to say NO! I just hate to miss out on opportunities.

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