Don’t let your life get overgrown: creating a low-maintenance existence

garden - webMy garden is in a real mess. There’s a loose fence panel, broken plant pots, litter blowing in on the wind, grass where there should be flowers and weeds where there should be grass.

It’s not a big garden, but it was evidently too much for me because I’ve let it get out of hand. I wanted the sweeping flowerbeds, the fruit-laden trees, the welcoming barbecue patio and the rows of produce growing in the vegetable patch, but I simply didn’t have the time and energy to make this all happen.

So this weekend, I’ve started turning the vegetable patch back into a lawn. I’ll soon be looking for other ways to simplify the garden so it’s something I can comfortably maintain. I want to set myself up for success rather than stretching myself too thinly with an overly ambitious plan and inevitably failing.

How many other areas of life do we try to do too much, rather than do a few things well?

There’s a fine line between having enough to do that you feel driven, and having so much to do that you feel paralysed and overwhelmed.

There will be lots of people who, like me, often feel themselves being pulled in too many directions. Developing a career, looking after children or pets, maintaining a home and a car, looking after your health, helping others, sorting out your finances, spending time with loved ones – it all takes time, energy and money.

And don’t forget those harder-to-spot, insidious commitments: checking social media throughout each and every day, keeping up with the Joneses by having the right house, the latest clothes and the picture-postcard holidays, carrying out all the beauty regimes expected of you, keeping up-to-date with current affairs so you appear informed, watching the hottest TV series and being at the right social gatherings.

You can get to a point – I know I did – where it all completely gets on top of you.

Getting into debt and having too much stuff were two symptoms of an underlying problem I had with my life, and I think many others do too.

Paying off the debts and clearing out the junk will be really helpful, but it won’t be the end of the story.

I also need to make my life as low-maintenance as possible so I can concentrate on what really matters.

Ways you can simplify your life:

  • Try using a capsule wardrobe
  • Grass over a flowerbed you’ve been struggling to maintain
  • Run one car instead of two
  • Close social media accounts you don’t value (see my post Simplify your online life)
  • Downsize your home
  • Get rid of your crap
  • Decline commitments you don’t want to take on
  • Turn off the TV
  • Pare down your beauty regime
  • Unsubscribe
  • Stop playing games on your phone
  • Read one book at a time
  • Close unused bank accounts, credit cards and store cards
  • Don’t buy more houseplants than you can look after
  • Leave work at work
  • Resist the latest kitchen gadget

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