The Process of Simplifying, Step 3

Simplify2014-03Define simplicity. Over the years, a lot of people have asked me to do that. What does “simplicity” mean? Does it mean a spotless house and perfectly planned meal calendar? Or does it mean flexibility and a stocked fridge for grab-and-go suppers? The point is, that definition isn’t something I can define for you. It’s something you have to decide for yourself.

Think of the last time you ended your day with a big sigh of gratitude. What did your day look like? What did your home feel like? Who had you connected with?

View More: me, simplicity means meeting the needs I mentioned in our first post about prioritizing: my family, God + serving others, my heart + self. I’m easily trigged into the opposite of simplicity (clutter / frustration / anxiety) by

  • physical clutter
  • trying to do too much at once
  • lack of direction

So in order to reach point A (priorities) without being derailed by these distractions, I have to PREPARE myself (to avoid these things) as fervently as I’m MAKING THESE PRIORITIES HAPPEN.

Got that?


My dad always says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Set yourself up for success here. So, to recap it all… SIMPLICITY TO ME IS… DISTRACTION-FREE, WHOLEHEARTED JOY: being able to connect with and serve my family by being a present, love lavishing mama; serve God by loving on others and take care of myself. Simplicity is being prepared to do all of those things by reducing physical clutter, shortening my to-do list to what matters and remaining focused. But in a very practical sense, simplicity means dinner on our table every night at 6pm one way or another. Simplicity means I don’t have to stare at mountains of laundry during the week working from home because we got it done on Saturday. Simplicity means filling my heart with toddler and hubby laughs rather than worry about things I can’t control. Simplicity means soaking in the sunshine and turning ALL the screens off.

Gallery-0006Here’s the thing… simplicity really and truly is about DOING WHAT MATTERS and forgetting the rest. All these steps bring us here. We’ll talk more in the next and last step in the process about this and we’ll also talk a little bit about how I keep myself organized in practical ways (with our Life Binder, Simplified Planner and my iCal).

But before we get there, I wanted to share a few really awesome resources and posts with you.

I don’t just advocate my friends’ amazingness because they’re my best friends. They’ve truly helped me focus and make what matters happen. I’m am so lucky to hold them all so dear.

So far, we’ve named our priorities, started shrinking our timesuckers and defined our OWN version of simplicity. Next, name what matters. Get real and get practical. How are you going to simplify in real life now that we’ve done the “book-work”?



The Process of Simplifying Step 1: Prioritize
The Process of Simplifying Step 2: Shrink timesuckers
The Process of Simplifying Step 3: Name what matters most

All photos courtesy of the lovely Alli McWhinney Photography




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  1. Pingback: The Process of Simplifying, Step 2 | Emily Ley

  2. Moya commented:

    Thanks for these simplify2014 steps! I have to admit that I did not use my first set of powersheets from Lara ….I was at a loss for words, did not want to mess up the pages, and the list of excuses goes on and on. But I have the 2014 sheets and I am running out of room to write everything!!!!!…and it is making such a difference already! I am using the back of the prep pages for your simplify2014 steps. And I cannot wait for my Simplified Planner to help guide my steps every day. Thank you!!! :)

  3. Kat commented:

    loving this series so much, Emily!!

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  5. Pingback: “Simplifying” Life | Running MOMentum

  6. Ashley Bartley commented:

    Oh my goodness I am SO glad that I stumbled upon your blog! This series really resonates with how I want to approach this year. I am drooling over your 2014 planner. You really motivated me and my husband to do some major simplifying and de-cluttering this weekend! Thanks again!! I recapped today’s successes in my blog.

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  8. Kaya Winn commented:

    Hi Emily! This post is amazing.. I could go on and on about it! I have created a goal system for myself and this is a big part of it! Thank you!!! I can’t wait to get my planner! Quick question.. are there more steps after this?

  9. Pingback: Simplify2014: Part 3 – Define Simplicity In Your Own Life

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