More and more I come to the understanding that less is more, in every sense. The less you want, the less you have, the less you do, the less you desire, the less you need...the simpler and more peaceful your life will be. "Life is simple when you live simply."
Part of living a big life is most definitely engaging with simplicity. To achieve the things you want to in life, you need to focus your time and effort on them. Anything that adds to the number of things you "need" to do, will take away from time you could be working on what is near and dear to you. Everyone has the same amount of time in a day. You can either devote your time to 100 different things, or to 10. Be careful of spreading yourself too thin.
I think that the reason routine often leads to increased productivity, is that it minimizes required decision making. The more decisions you need to make, the more "stuff" you are bringing into your mind, and the less time you have to focus on what is truly important. I think I really liked living in Japan, because it seemed like everything there had a system. There was a certain way of doing EVERY thing...and while I could see how some people might find this overbearing, I found it to be ultimately simple. On this day you do this. If you have this, you clean it at this time of year. This food is made like this. You eat this with that, and nothing else. Rules, and routines - yes. So many decisions that you need to make yourself, each day? No. Simple? yes.
Finding a few great outfits that you wear over and over, a few good meals that you cook often, and a few restaurants that work for you when you need some good food quickly, will reduce the time you waste when deciding. In fact, I have been on the quest to decide which things I like the best in every category, and to then just continue on getting those things. I've tried enough different variations of most essential ingredients to know which companies or versions I think are best. It's not worth my time to try new variations that come out. Stick with what you know, and you'll find you have more and more pockets of time appearing.
What all this means for me, lately, is that anytime something comes my way, I find my mind jumping to: "okay, that's lovely... but slow down...will this require anything more of me, on a regular basis, or in the future?". If the answer is indeed yes, that it will require more of my time, it becomes a more serious decision. Even if it is something lovely and wonderful, pay attention to what it will require of you in the future.
For example: having pets and/or a large garden - both lovely and awesome. But both require a large amount of time commitment. And if you want to go away, or leave town - more time is required for finding someone to look after your pet or plants. Worth it? Often, yes. But not without thinking about it a little more than usual.
And how about objects, things, & products that you invite into your home. Pay attention. Ask yourself if this will create a more simple existence, or if it requires something of you. More objects often make it harder to clean. They definitely make it harder to move. Especially if they take a long time to put together or take apart. And especially if they are large and/or heavy. You also need to find / create / make space for them. If your space is way too overcrowded, it will rob you of future time, because it will take longer to find or do most things. Another example: buying more clothes - this comes with the more laundry time commitment. Seriously, you'd be surprised with the time commitment that comes along with simple items you bring into your house.
So... do less, choose less, buy less, agree to less.
The more streamlined you can make your day-to-day life, the more LIFE you'll feel like you have. Set up some guidelines for what works for you and what doesn't. Try to stick to them whenever possible, and save yourself the time you'll use on decision making.
In fact, really just think about what it is that is worth your time. And remember this before you commit to / agree to / or decide to do or buy anything. Ask: does it really support me - is it worth my time?
And I challenge you to notice what SIMPLE things bring you happiness and joy.
The things that support me are at their deepest essence, purely simple. A perfect day for me includes some form of movement, simple healthy meals (nothing too crazy or complicated here, I'm talking oatmeal), regular work hours, time outside, regular unwinding hours (including spending time with my guy and friends or family), and good quality sleep. All of these are simple. I don't need them to be fancy or crazy or wildly spontaneous. Just gentle, easy, moments.
All my best to you friends.
I hope you have a SIMPLY joyful week.