I recently led a three-day workshop titled “The Practice of Simplicity.” When choosing the name for this program, I specifically chose the word practice for the title because of its broad meaning.
People who aspire to a life of simplicity often consider themselves practitioners — in the sense that a doctor might say she practices medicine, an unclutterer might say he practices simplicity.
At the same time, living simply requires practice. No one goes to bed one night in complete chaos and disorder and wakes up the next morning master of an organized and clutter-free wonderland. Transformation doesn’t happen over night, and achieving and maintaining it most definitely takes practice.
Along these lines, simplicity isn’t a goal or an end result. Simplicity is a means to an end, with the ultimate destination being a remarkable life focused on what matters most to you. You don’t practice simplicity for simplicity’s sake, you practice simplicity to clear the distractions that get in the way of the life you desire.
Before I practiced simplicity, I spent a lot of time practicing other, less helpful skill sets — lack of focus, stress, worry, poor time management, operating on auto-pilot, pack rattiness, bad sleep and eating habits, and frustration immediately come to my mind. I practiced these unproductive skill sets so often that I became an expert on these traits and have spent the past nine years training myself not to use them.
What are you practicing? Are you a practitioner of simple living? If you’re struggling with your uncluttering efforts, remind yourself that it takes practice, even for people with already streamlined homes and offices. Keep at it! You’ll get better each day you choose to practice simplicity.