Simplify, Pare Down and Repeat

Reduce the Distractions to Uncover What Matters Most

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

When we think about simplifying our lives, we can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking it’s a destination. That once we get to our version of ‘simple living’ we just keep ticking over, with little effort, and life gets easy and stays easy.

Well as many of you no doubt know, that doesn’t happen.

The truth is, simplifying our life is in fact a lifetime’s work. It requires effort. It is simple but not always easy. What version of simple looks good to us today may not suit us tomorrow. It’s an evolution.

So what do we focus on along the way and on our journeys? What can help us stay the course?

Focus on the Process

First of all we can focus on the process and not necessarily the outcome.

This is easily said but not necessarily easily done as we live in a results and outcome focused world. By focusing instead on the process itself, we can really get underneath things. We ingrain good habits that ironically can improve the chances of a good outcome.

We focus on the process of decluttering.

We focus of the process of reduction.

We focus on clearing the unnecessary.

We don’t focus on what we think we’ll feel like at the other side of making these changes just yet. We concentrate on the process itself. We intuitively know that paring down, reducing the noise and clutter will lead us to a better place.


Once we’ve spent time on the process, a good amount of time, we then take stock.

What have we learnt?

Do we feel better?

Do we feel less stressed?

Do we have more time for our hobbies, passion projects and people we care about?

Is the process helping us?

If the answer is no then we change focus. We move to something new. A new process.

If the answer is yes however we move to…..

Refine and Repeat

Now we’ve found something that works well for us we want to keep drilling for more riches.

We want to refine and polish our processes so we get more goodness from them.

Importantly we want to hit the repeat button. We want to do more of the things that support us living the life we want to live. We want to ingrain these as new habits.

Simplify, pare down and repeat. This is certainly simple advice but it’s not necessarily easy advice to follow. Do it often enough and you will reach your version of simpler, whatever that looks like for you.

Originally published at

Carl writes short books full of big ideas. He is also the proud owner of Frictionless Living which is focused on helping readers live simpler, finding focus and clarity in distracted times.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Dr. Josh Morgan: “One of the biggest things we can do is to pay attention to the words we use; Simply being more mindful of how we discuss mental illness is a good place to start”

by Yitzi Weiner

The Discipline to Simplify

by Carl Phillips

How to Be in the Zone-on the Court or in the Boardroom

by Pete Wilkins

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.