Choose simplicity

Photo of a fig

You can't do everything, be everything, or have everything.

It's a myth that you're going to get more out of life living it fast and cramming it full. Though no one's life can be stress-free, slowing down, streamlining, and uncluttering can help you to savor the moment, enjoy life more, and get more done.

The cost of choice

Father and son play soccerYou have so many possibilities. You have multiple options, roles, and identities. You may want to be a good parent, hold down a full-time job, participate in neighborhood and community activities, take classes, go on trips, learn new skills, build new relationships, look for a better house, and cultivate 16 hobbies.

But what's the cost?

In the end, it's not how much you've done or how many experiences you've collected that counts, but how you have lived. It may be difficult to say no to some things, but you can choose to limit things that unnecessarily complicate your life.

Do you need it or want it?

Confusing what you want with what you need to live a meaningful life can cause complications.

The more things you want to buy, the more time you'll spend choosing, shopping, maintaining, mastering, using, and earning money to pay for them. Even "time savers" like tablets, smart phones, and DVRs save less time that you might think they do. Do you record TV shows or movies you "don't have time" to watch? If you don't have a plan to watch what you've recorded, managing your library of recordings is an ongoing chore that takes time away from doing the things you really love.

You may discover more time when you're clear on what you value and how you want to spend your time.

Source: Adapted with permission from the Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Handbook (as published under the title Mind & Body Health Handbook), David Sobel, MD, and Robert Ornstein, PhD, 1996

Reviewed by: Andrew Bertagnolli, PhD, November 2015
Additional Kaiser Permanente reviewers

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