Leo Babauta and simplicity

Who I am
Robert Maurer


A simple system to simplify your life in 4 steps, proposed by Leo Babauta: author of Zen Habits.

Lately we hear often about Leo Babauta, the creator of Zen Habits. Leo has achieved lightning success, turning his productivity blog (and beyond) into one of the top 100 blogs in the world, with nearly 90.000 + 1 (Me) subscribers to RSS feeds.

I read regularly Zen Habits for 1 year and a half, and I am waiting for Leo's first (paper) book to arrive from the United States: “The Power of Less”. My passion for Leo's articles stems from his ability to focus on the essential: a philosophy that comes very close to the topics covered by the Blog GetPersonalGrowth.com.

Among the many founds of Leo as an expert blogger, one of the most brilliant was theuncopyright: everyone can freely use the contents of Zen Habits, disseminating them, translating them and even copying them without citation. In this article I will take advantage of the uncopyright: in fact I do not want to talk to you about Leo Babauta, but I want to let Leo Babauta talk, and I want to let him talk through one of his best articles: the 4 laws of simplicity.

The 4 laws of simplicity, and how to apply them in your life

“The Four Laws of Simplicity, and How to Apply Them to Life”.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

Leonardo da Vinci.

The problem with books and manuals that promise to make your life easier is that they are pretty damn complicated.

What we need is: a simple method to make our life easier.

It's been nearly 10 years since I started making my life easier by trying dozens of methods. It was an interesting trip, even if I don't feel like recommending it to anyone. If you're trying to simplify a specific aspect of your life, I'm sure you're not going to go through all this confusion.

I have created for you a simple method, to be applied to every area of ​​your life, consisting of 4 laws of simplicity:

  1. Collect all in one place.
  2. Select the essential.
  3. Delete the rest.
  4. Organize what remains in an orderly fashion.

"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it difficult."


To make you understand this method well, I'll give you an example of how to rearrange a drawer. Imagine this is the most messy drawer in your home - it's full of Japanese takeaway flyers that have been closed for 12 years, Commodore 64 manuals, castanets from your last trip to Spain, souvenirs bought on your XNUMXth high school trip to Prague and the inevitable socks from your last soccer match with friends (well ... I said that the translation would be “free at times” ;-)).

You could spend the whole day tidying up that drawer. (Or, much more likely, you'd lock it to forget about it!). But let's see how we could apply the method of the 4 laws of simplicity to our drawer:

  1. Collect. Get everything out of that damn drawer and stack it somewhere. Empty it completely, down to the last… castanet.
  2. Select. Select only those few things you love, use, or are important to you. Just choose from that jumble of objects the only things that you think are truly essential (no ... the Japanese take away will not reopen!). Ungroup the objects you have selected.
  3. Delete. Throw the rest away. You know full well that you will no longer use those things. Don't get caught up in sentimentality. Throw it all in one of those nice black garbage bags, or think about how to get rid of it: ebay, charity, charity peaches, etc.
  4. Organize. Put the items you selected in step 2 back into the drawer neatly. Of course, remember to clean the drawer first. You can place the objects you have chosen, in small groups, leaving some space between them. The space between the objects makes everything look cleaner and tidier.

That's all. Now you have a “simplified”, neat and clean drawer for… your Commodore 64 manuals ;-).

This simple method can be applied to any area of ​​your life. My advice is to focus on one area at a time - apply them 4 laws of simplicity and then move on to the next area. If you want to simplify only some aspects of your life, you can focus on each area for about a week, if on the contrary you want to completely change your life, you will have to face a new area of ​​your life every 2 days, until you are finished.

Below you can find some examples of how to apply this simple method to other areas:

  • Your closet. Focus on one section of the closet at a time - one shelf at a time, for example. Take everything off the shelf and place it on the floor or bed. Choose only those few things you love and use. Put the rest in a box to give to charity. Put your chosen things back on the shelf, grouping them and leaving some space between the various groups. Stores like Ikea offer ingenious solutions for sorting and ordering. Go to the next shelf. Leave the bottom of your closet free, it makes it look much neater and cleaner.
  • your desk. Remove everything on the surface of your desk. I suggest you leave only your computer (if you use it), a card holder and a nice photo or two. Tidy up the stationery in the drawers, file any documents you think are important, and throw the rest away. Now arrange your desk drawers in the same way. You can't imagine how relaxing it can be to work in a clean and tidy environment.
  • la tua to-do list. Is your "to do" list endless? Add any activities you can think of to your list, until your mind is completely free. Now just choose the activities you really care about, or absolutely must do, and put them on a separate list. As for other activities, try to figure out if you can (a) delete them, (b) delegate them, or (c) temporarily put them aside on a separate list. Now focus only on the main to-do list, the one with the essential activities. Choose 3 of these activities and do them.
  • Your commitments. Make a list of all the commitments in your life, both work and personal. Include hobbies, clubs you are enrolled in, online groups, volunteer organizations, sports activities, etc. Anything you spend your time on regularly. Now choose only those activities that create value for you, that make you have fun, that have a positive impact in the long term. Get rid of the rest if possible. It can be difficult, as you will have to confront the disapproval of others, but just say that you run out of time. As for your wardrobe or your drawers, leave some space around those few commitments you have decided to keep: you will appreciate them more and live with less stress.
  • A room. If you want to simplify your cluttered rooms, start with the furniture. Which of these do you really love and use? Get rid of the rest. Now clean every surface in the room, from the shelves to the table. Choose the items you love, and discard the rest. Leave flat surfaces as empty as possible. Now do the same thing with the drawers and dressers.
  • Your e-mail box. Is your inbox full of useless emails, chain letters and advertisements? Go through your inbox, select only the really important emails and move them to a separate folder. Now delete or archive everything else.

“If you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; loneliness will not be loneliness, poverty will not be poverty, and weakness will not be weakness. "

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