I recently found a document in my digital notebook where I wrote down the ways I wished to simplify my life and reduce external noise. I read a looot of books geared toward minimalism to get here.
I write extensively in the routines category about strategies. In short, this is a road map for what we want and need to get done during a day or week. Even a semi-structured plan can reduce some of the sudden stress of procrastination.
I abandoned fast fashion and adopted a capsule wardrobe. The gist of a capsule wardrobe is to purchase a neutral palette of clothing where nothing ever clashes. I own 3 shorts (black, beige, olive green), 4 pants (black, beige, dark wash, distressed), 12 black socks, a dozen shirts, five professional blouses, four professional slacks, a few pairs of shoes/boots, etc. I don't need anything else.
This idea came from Ramit Sethi who recommends "conscious spending" in the sense that we pick 2-3 major things we spend our "fun" budget own, instead of actively pursuing everything. I live on an extremely tight budget with a low socioeconomic background; I picked 3 daily-ish leisures: gaming, reading, and exercise. Two of those activities cost no money. The big spender, gaming, I use as a social outlet because it's generally also not a totally inflammatory topic.
Simplify Home Management
Automate. Eliminate. Delegate.
I do dishes, counters, and tables every day after use. Toilets, sinks, showers, and floors don't take as much time or harsh chemicals when sprayed and wiped down every 2-3 days. Clothes don't collect everywhere when they're stored or chucked in a hamper. For low energy days, I might prioritize just ten minutes to cleaning or decluttering. That's it. That's still an accomplishment because environmental clutter can be mentally fatiguing at a certain point.
Simplify Work Management
Make it clear to yourself what hours you're able and willing to work. It's key to have strong work ethics, but it's equally important to recognize that work isn't an altar for worship. It's a trade of service for money that in turn, hopefully, secures basic necessities and some desired goods or experiences.
Delete apps that serve no valuable function anymore. Take the one-time effort to set up folders on your system to organize files, and take the one-time effort to setup up your email to archive emails based on grouped themes. I read an entire book, Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport, on this topic to sum it up in two sentences.
Big secret... you don't need a lot of it. Reduce what you consume and turn to positive new sources from time-to-time, e.g. https://www.reddit.com/r/UpliftingNews/
Reduce consumerism and shop intentionally. Downsize. If you use online banking, consider automating bills. Ramit Sethi has a great chapter in his book, I Will Teach You To be a Millionaire, on how to create a conscious spending plan. If you've ever spent your time bemoaning why the public education system never taught basic financing, start with this book.
Don't skip them unless you're certain you know what you're doing, e.g. intermittent fasting, etc. Plan meals and consider prepping for a few days to a week (I lean toward a week). I use budgetbytes.com a lot! There's plenty of interesting niche blogs to peruse and collect, and they're all free. I linked a few of my favourites under resources.
Establish a routine for something you'd actually enjoy continuing. My goal is to do compound/stabilizing strength exercises 3x/week and aerobics 3x/week. If you're exercising more than an hour, you're probably wasting your time. Some workouts, such as sprints or HIITs probably shouldn't even go beyond 20 minutes and no more than once or twice a week.
Me: strength 3x, steady-state aerobics 3x, HIIT 1-2x = 4-5 days a week
Cultivate time for being content and present with solitude. Loneliness happens as a part of human nature so recognize what that means in your own life and ask yourself who are the inner orbit of people who value your authenticity.
Hint: for most of us, it's not at our job.
Part of cultivating presence in solitude can double as an opportunity to seek leisure or to seek inner peace. I'm not going to tell you which it is, but whether it's you're own unique blend of spirituality or acting as part of a larger community, write out the value system in a few words or sentences, and rehearse it.