It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove. Antoine de Saint Exupéry

During the last two years, I have worked on making my life simpler in every aspect. The easiest aspect to deal with has been external: what I have and how to deal with it. The hardest one has been the adoption of new habits that help me live a life free of unnecessary worry and attachment. This is a journey and there is still much to do, but in my search for ideas and time spent experimenting, I have come across people whose wisdom and frameworks have helped me get to where I am. This is what I have learned from them in the process of streamlining my life:

The habit of letting go in order to beat procrastination, offered by Leo Babauta. It helped me remember that the hardest step is the first one, and that if I show kindness to myself, even the hardest of tasks can be accomplished.


Finding inner strength and looking after my creative vein, guided by the always kind and transparent Andy J. Miller and his Creative Pep Talk. There isn’t an episode that doesn’t leave me warm and standing a little taller, but there is a special place in my heart for episodes 92, 102, and 103 about  breaking through creative anxiety, and creating your personal brand without losing your soul in the process.

Thinking about the true cost of things, triggered by Cait Flanders’s blog. Be it stuff, activities, people, or trying to become people we are not, everything we do/get comes with a cost. I now try to become aware of it before acting or deciding not to.

Surrounding myself with people and activities that give me life, not drain it. This one sounds quite vampiric, and I don’t have a specific person to pin it on, but I believe it has been an underlying theme of my sources of inspiration. I try to take better care of my relationships and the activities I spend my time on. It also means I must learn to be realistic and say no sometimes, even to activities I would otherwise find enjoyable.

Using inner peace as my general compass, which is another underlying theme in Leo Babauta’s blog. I believe this is my biggest lesson: Say yes to whatever gives you true inner peace as soon as the decision is made, and no to anything that fails to do so. Everything else will start to fall into place if only this one thing becomes the first step.

4 thoughts on “ What streamlining life has taught me ”

  1. “Streamlining life.” I like that. I’ve gone through a similar process as you: decluttering my physical and mental spaces, as well as recognizing who and what bring joy to my life, and, as a result, doing the best I can to ensure they take center stage and are not left squished shoulder to shoulder in the crowded space of my former everyday.

    1. What a great way to put it! “squished shoulder to shoulder in the crowded space of my former everyday”. It certainly gives that feeling before you start taking back control. While decluttering physical spaces was “easy”, I still struggle with the mental ones. Especially at work, it’s still so difficult to say no! I wonder if I’ll ever be comfortable doing that. Is there anything you still struggle with? 🙂

      1. Definitely. My great affliction is that I suffer from severe anxiety. Only in the last 15 months have I flipped it on its head and learned how to manage it daily, and at times, moment to moment. There’s a Buddhist saying about anxiety, (there’s many actually) and the name they sometimes give to describe it, is a wild horse. I use running to exhaust the wild horse and meditation to tame it. I’m a big proponent of meditation (first thing in the morning before I get out of bed and at night before I fall asleep). It’s done wonders for both my personal and work life. Life altering, and I don’t say that lightly. I use a simple guided meditation app called Stop, Breathe & Think on my iPhone. Also, as for saying “no” at work, here’s a good read for you — a book called Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. While the nature of one’s job tends to dictate how much you can say no, I’ve found that by ranking projects or tasks by importance, it helps you be more efficient and productive with less interference from mental clutter (gotta do this, this, that, that too. Ah! Not enough time). Check out the Pomodoro technique too.

  2. I am so happy to hear that you got the upper hand on your anxiety! My best friend’s best advice ever was “Take care of your heart and yourself, because at the end of the day it’s only your responsibility to do it”. My experience is that self-care is so easily taken for selfishness and that’s why we push it aside. Stories of people being brave and saying “Nope, this is me in control” are always encouraging ❤ And thank you so much for the reading and apps tips, I will definitely look them up. Essensialism has popped up often in the last few months so I'll take it as a sign of the universe and go find it at the library 🙂 Be well!

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