We make thousands of decisions everyday. While some of those decisions are intuitive, others require more problem solving and mental bandwidth.
When I read Leo Babauta’s 7 rules that keep his life simple, I thought about the rules I follow. While I like to be flexible, I also enjoy my daily patterns and guidelines. These little rules have helped me foster a happy, healthy environment and a simple life. Plus, they free up some of that precious mental energy for other decisions and engagement.
I’m not suggesting that these little rules will be right for you, but creating a set of rules will give you a framework to help support a life that makes you happy and healthy.
8 Little Rules for a Simple Life
1. I keep 33 items or less in my wardrobe.
For the past 4 years, I’ve dressed with a small capsule wardrobe of 33 items or less including clothing, jewelry, accessories, and shoes. That eliminates the need to think about what I’m going to wear. I don’t spend time shopping, chasing sales or comparing and keeping up with fashion trends. Project 333 freed me from unnecessary spending and buyer’s remorse, and unexpectedly helped me learn what best fits my body and my lifestyle.
2. I only work on projects that I really care about.
I worked for other people for decades and was rarely in a position to pick and choose my work. Now that I have my own microbusiness, I choose who I work with, when I work, and what projects are best. If I don’t care, I say no thank you.
3. I walk everyday.
Walking is exercise for mind, body, heart and soul. I need to walk everyday and aim for at least 10,000 steps. I usually double that on the weekends. Walking gives me extra energy, encourages flexibility, provides great opportunity to get outside, and inspires creativity.
4. I don’t eat animals.
I quit eating meat, one animal at a time between 2006 and 2008 and now I don’t eat any. I quit for better health, but the change has been sustainable for reasons of compassion.
5. I learn what I can from mistakes and then let them go.
Regret has no redeeming qualities. It only serves to make us feel bad. It rarely inspires change or fixes anything. I mess up all the time, but I don’t hold on to how that feels. I made amends, learn a lesson, or take action in a different way and then … I let it go.
6. I disconnect to fully connect.
I love the internet. I love my work on the internet. I could stay on the internet all the time. But when I do, my relationships suffer and I miss opportunities to meet new people, and to connect with the people who mean the very most to me. When I disconnect, I also get great ideas for work and life that would have escaped me if I had stayed plugged in.
I aim to disconnect a few times each day and for at least 24 hours a week.
7. I assume that people mean well unless they give me a good reason to think otherwise.
The only way to learn to trust people is to trust people. If we can all start with the assumption that people are good and mean well, we can do better work together, develop stronger relationships, and become genuinely interested in lifting each other up.
8. I keep my business in a constant state of evolution.
My work is always changing because it’s the only way a tiny business like this is sustainable. I am open to new ideas, directions, and projects and am always looking at how to better serve people I work with.
I’m always content, but never complacent.
Make rules, create margins and set limits. These little rules keep me focused on what’s most important to me. What rules support what’s most important to you?