How I'm practicing the art of simplicity

Jason Gutierrez
November 4, 2021

Years ago, when pulling myself back together after a nasty bout of anxiety, I vowed to live a simpler life. I would love to say I had no idea how I became so anxious in the first place, but that would be a lie.

I let my life get away from me like a runaway train. Instead of saying "no" or doing things to mitigate the craziness, I kept barreling forward like a dumbass.

Things kept stacking one after the other, and eventually, it all caught up to me in a big way. I had a meltdown (though I prefer the term "quarter-life crisis") and forced myself to start simplifying.

Long story short — it worked. That’s why I’ve kept simplicity as a major value of mine and let it continue to play a major role in most of what I do.

Now that I've had years of practice, I've had plenty of time to design my life in a way that works best for me. I thought you might appreciate some of the rules I live by to keep life as simple as possible.

1. What helps me sleep at night

I recently read The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. In it, he talks about managing your money in a way that helps you get the best possible sleep at night (i.e. don't put all your money in risky investments if you can't stomach it).

This was also the perfect way to describe how I try to live my entire life. One, because sleep is extremely important to me and I want to get the best sleep possible. And two, because I don't want the stress and anxiety of doing bullshit that keeps me up at night.

  • I'm brutally honest with myself and others
  • I do everything I can to not screw others over
  • I get my important work done during the day so I don't have to regret my lack of progress

There's a lot more to it than those, but you get the idea. The "what helps me sleep at night" rule applies to so many things.

2. Avoid toxicity like the plague

We all know people like my crazy Aunt Patty who live and breathe negativity. Those are the people that I don't associate with unless I absolutely have to (e.g. if my job requires it). And even then, my interactions are kept to a minimum and I go my separate way the first chance I get.

Life's too short and I enjoy positivity way too much to let people like that weigh me down.

Friends, family, strangers, you name it. I have no mercy when it comes to toxicity.

3. One-in-one-out clothes policy

I started doing this several years ago when I realized my closet had more clothes in it than any woman I had ever dated.

When I first implemented the rule, I donated or threw away everything that I hadn't worn in over 1 year. Then, I made sure that if I bought something new, I had to get rid of something else.

This made it WAY easier to:

  • Decide what I wanted to wear each day
  • Keep my clothes in a reasonable quantity
  • Not buy new things unless I really needed/wanted them

Every so often, I do a "spring cleaning" audit where I'll go back through my clothes and get rid of anything I haven't worn in at least a year. When I nix a bunch, that opens up my closet space to buy more nice clothes that I need. But, it's also a good time to reduce my wardrobe even further.

Like most things in life, I try to keep a good balance.

This rule also works great for random stuff around the house (not just clothes).

What rules do you have?


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