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Simplify your life 

100 ways to slow down and enjoy the things that really matter

Elaine St. James 

 

   

This book is exactly what the title says. A small introduction and then right into business – this is a wonderful book packed with many practical ideas to improve our lives.

 

In the introduction Elaine James mentions the goals of the simplicity program: In her own words

 

(1)    We wanted the things in our lives (our home, our cars, our clothes, our diets, our finances) – to be small enough and few enough and simple enough that we could easily take care of ourselves.

(2)    We wanted to free ourselves from the commitments, the people, and the obligations that kept us from having time to do the things that we really want to do.

(3)    We wanted our lives to be consistent with our desire to live in harmony with the environment.

 

Doesn’t this sound familiar? If you also always wanted so, this book is for you. 

 

This book gives hundred things that can be done to simplify our lives. Few years back, when I was having many credit cards and was missing the payments (and ofcourse, paying late fees) not because I could not pay but because I could not track the expenses, I did some thinking and found that after all, I needed the credit cards only for convenience and not for credit and I was having too many complications by having too many cards. This realization helped me to reduce my cards and reduce the complexity as well. Later on when I read this book, I was not at all surprised to find that this is one of the hundred suggestions given in this book (43. Get rid of all but one of your credit cards) and this only helped me to ‘connect’ with the thinking of the author who gave many such ideas which I did not think before.

 

This book is divided into eight sections – each with suggestions to simplify in each of the areas (1) household (2) Your life style (3) Your finances (4) Your job (5) Your health (6) Your personal life (7) Special issues for women (8) Hard core simplicity.   You will be surprised and encouraged to find many practical ideas to really reduce complexities in your life by taking some simple measures.

 

Some of the suggestions include:

1. Reduce the clutter in your life

9. Stop buying clothes that need to be dry-cleaned

40. Rethink your buying habits

51. Work where you live or live where you work

57. Simplify your eating habits

72. Clean up your relationships

73. Just be yourself

83. Take time to watch the sunset

 

Though I have listed a few just to give a perspective about the book, you should read Elaine to get her insights and appreciate the reasoning. Most of us would have thought about many of these ideas at some point of time, but Elaine did a great deal of thinking and explains the ideas very completely and comprehensively and with full focus and attention.

 

Some of the ideas you may not agree with but nevertheless, all the ideas make you think. As Elaine mentioned in the introduction, you can start with some of the ideas that matter most to you and then gradually progress to take up more. Every one is different and the ideas that one can relate to also vary a lot.

 

As a part of the ideas, Elaine mentions some useful and interesting tools and techniques   (2). Use Dave’s uncluttering system and (45). Use this simple check register system to name some.

 

You may find that some of the ideas are quite philosophical – and it is indeed so. As we simplify our lives, we find that our belief system and philosophy also changes and vice versa.

 

This book is a practical tool for any one who wants to simplify and improve the quality of their lives.

 

 

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