I don’t know about you, but I cannot work in a cluttered environment. Whenever I come into my office and sit at my desk, I must have it in immaculate condition. A clean, un-cluttered work space serves as a mental stimulant for me that now I can begin doing work and being productive. I have on my desk my phone, my double shot Nespresso, a Pellegrino, my laptop and my headphones. I take a sip of the Pellegrino to cleanse the palate, then take a sip of the perfectly pulled espresso. A beautiful and lingering aftertaste tells me the shots were just right. There we go. Now I am ready to do some good work.
Maybe you are different. Maybe you thrive in a chaotic environment and are highly efficient. Paperwork, writing instruments, multiple screens and a flurry of devices are what can keep you sane and on track. We are all wired differently and that is completely fine. As long as you find whatever it is that helps you be all that God created you to be.
I believe that the world in which we live in has gotten chaotically cluttered. In the last century, there have been more technological advancements than ever before in the history of humanity. In the previous generation, the litmus test for figuring out whether a person was progressing intelligently was realizing if they could read.
I believe that in this generation, the litmus test for maturity as a human being will inevitably be your ability to choose. To make a choice. To make a decision. To pick something.
I recently declared a war against options. I decided to simplify my life. I did this so that I can spend more time thinking and being, instead of spending my time choosing and deciding.
One of my favorite verses is found in Psalm 90:12 where the psalmist says the following: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” The endless choices and options that we are faced with on a daily basis are sucking the life out of us. They are making us creatures that are slaves to devices, unable to master the simple act of making a choice.
Here are ten things that I did in my life that radically simplified my daily options, uncluttered my mind and allowed me to focus more on the things that matter in life, namely my relationship with God, my relationship with my wife, my church and my online community:
1.Nutrition: If it doesn’t have a mother or if it did not come from the ground, I won’t eat it. When I walk into a grocery story, I will only shop on the periphery of it. Ninety percent of most grocery stores are filled with food that is not good for you.
2. Clothing: I got rid of and donated ninety percent of my closet. The only thing I left was either white or blue collared shirts, black slacks and simple casual wear. Every morning I don’t have to decide what to wear because it is pre-determined. It will be black slacks, either a white shirt or a checkered blue shirt or a checkered gray shirt.
3. Devices. I use Apple products such as an iPhone and a Macbook and a Mac Mini. Not because they are cool or trendy but because they are useful. What my life requires (writing, reading, creating new content), those devices work perfectly and they sync flawlessly. I don’t want to learn a new system or complicate my life even more. It doesn’t matter to me what new product is made by another company. I am sure it’s amazing. But for me, Apple works. I like simple.
4. Beverages. I have simplified my hydro intake to the three following things. Coffee first of course, as you read in the introduction of this post. Then it is plain and simple non-exciting bottled water and Pellegrino. No soda, no juices, no shakes. If those things work for you, that’s awesome. For me it was about simplifying my life so that I can make less choices and focus more on what matters.
5. Social Media. I stick with Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. I have a Pinterest account but I never use it. My wife is on Pinterest and she’s awesome. How do you pin stuff? See, that’s too complex for me.
6. Entertainment. On Netflix, I only watch The Office And The Simpsons, so that I can relax my brain after a long day. Yes, pastors do that. I know it’s unbelievable. I don’t follow any other shows simply because it’s too complex for me. If you do, that’s awesome and I applaud your patience. I just don’t have that kind of patience.
7. Opportunities. I get many opportunities to do things that I most likely would do well. I don’t just want to do something well. I want to do something great. If that opportunity does not align with my life mission and vision statement, then I simply decline it. I say no to good things so I can say yes to great things.
8. Bible Translation. I stick with the ESV. I know there are a lot of other great versions out there. For me, the ESV works. I will definitely use other version when I am studying or preparing for a sermon or a talk. But for my daily reading, I stick to one version. Less complexity and more simplicity.
9. Fitness. I believe that gyms are a waste of money. I prefer p90x. Just press play and do your thing. I’ve completed it multiple times in the last few years and it’s super simple. If gyms work for you, that’s awesome. They don’t for me and I want to do what works for me.
10. Paper. I intentionally own a paper Bible. I preach from a paper Bible. There is something about bringing a paper Bible to the pulpit with you that cannot be replicated with an iPad.
If you’ve made it this far in the list, you have amazing patience and I am thankful that I’ve piqued your curiosity about my life.
What specific things have you personally done to simplify your life?
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