10 Key Habits That Helps Simplify Your Life & Be More Efficient

For the past many years, I have started to simplify my life. I had so much things and commitment, I realise I had no time to do things that I love.

So, I overhauled my apartment using the Marie Kondo method, remove as much paper clutter as I can, went on a shopping fast and learn to curb my desires for more materials things and learn to choose quality over quantity. Life is simple, peaceful and meaningful.

Now, that I’ve sorted my clutter, I need to have habits to maintain it. These are habit that I adopt (and suggest that you try to too) that will help you live a simpler and more productive life:

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1. Single-task
The common problem: We have so much to do that we try to do many things at the same time.

Why you should single-task?  Multi-tasking is not efficient. Why? You need to switch gears for each task and switch back again. It’s also more complicated hence you’re more prone to making errors. Focusing on doing one thing at a time allows you to do things well and do things calmly.

How to do it? Practice doing one thing at time. Be aware when you get distracted and try to get back to that task. Practice enough and single-tasking will be a second nature.

2. Set your Most Important Tasks
The common problem: We plan to do so many things to do in a day that we don’t get them done properly, or at all.

Why you should set your Most Important Task (MIT)? Choosing a few most important task to do in that day allows you to focus your mental energy on doing what matters most. It doesn’t mean you don’t get other things done; you simply that you will get the MIT done and out of the way before doing other task.

How to do it? Limit your MIT to three and do it the first thing in the morning. Focusing on accomplishing these task before doing anything else.

3. Follow a morning routine
The common problem: We often start our day in a hurry. The mentality of chaos carries till the end of the day.

Why you should do it? Having a morning routine allows you to start your day right. It can create a sense of calm and sanity in your life. Besides, having a set routine takes away the burden of thinking what you need to do.

How to do it? Choose from a few up to six things that you want to do in the morning. Have one really fun one that makes you look forward to getting up. For me, it’s tending to my garden. Here are some ideas for your morning routine:

  • Shower
  • Exercise
  • Have breakfast
  • Read
  • Journal
  • Review your goals
  • Gratitude session (writing or saying things that you’re thankful for)
  • Vacuum house

How To Start An Edible Garden 4. Process your in-box to empty
The common problem:  Having hundreds of  e-mail in our inbox. The sheer amount of email makes you feel overwhelmed and stressed.

Why you should keep your inbox empty and limit your time checking mail?  Keep your inbox empty, process your mails quickly and limit your time in your email helps with efficiency and sanity.

How to do it?  Firstly, find ways to eliminate inboxes you don’t need or combine them. Whenever you read a mail, you must do something with it. Either delete, archive for later reference, reply quickly, put to your to-do list or do the task immediately.

5. Check e-mail just twice a day
The common problem:  Spend all day checking and replying mail takes away time from doing your most important tasks.

Why you should do it?  Limiting your time in your inbox give your a block of time where you can focus on doing other important things.

How to do it? Only check email twice a day. Leo Babauta suggested checking once at 10 am and another at 4 pm. Why? ‘It gives you a mid-morning feel for what urgent emails you have and then allows you to finish up yoru email before you leave for the day’.

6. Stick to 5 sentence limit for emails
The common problem:  Again, this is about reducing our time in your e-mail.

Why you should do it?  Limiting yourself to five sentences not only saves you time. It also forces you to be concise and clear. Nowadays, most people have short attention span. Nobody wants to read a novel.

How to do it? Remove the fluff and try to convey your messages in five sentences. You can do more. The key is setting limitations.

7. Work while disconnected, with no distractions
The common problem: In between writing a report or an article, you find yourself replying to Whatsapp message or check Facebook.

Why you should do it?  Internet takes away our focus on work. Everytime we get distracted, we are wasting time and being inefficient. Working while disconnected allows you to focus on your work. You won’t lose your momentum and waste time switching from Internet to work and work to Internet.


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8. Keep your desk uncluttered
The common problem: Wasting time sifting through piles of paper to look for something you need and getting frustrated in the process.

Why you should do it?  Work is stressful enough. Do not add stress by having a cluttered desk. A neat desk allows you to find something you need quickly and increase your efficiency at work.

How to do it? Identify what you need to work and keep everything else away. Throw away things you don’t need and then create a system to keep everything else. Read: 6 Steps To Organising Paper

9. Say ‘no’ to commitments and requests
The common problem: We agree to do too many things that we do not realistically have time for. At the end we don’t do any of them well and we become burned out.

Why you should learn to say ‘no’?  Because every time you say yes to something you don’t want to do, you are saying no to something you want to do.

How to do it? Knowing that requests essentially demands on your time. Tell them honestly and tactfully that you have to cut back on your commitment because you are overloaded. Lastly, don’t be sorry about it.

10. Declutter your house for fifteen minutes a day
The common problem: A house so messy that you feel you need forever to clean it up (so you don’t bother).

Why you should do declutter your house everyday? A simple and neat house not only looks good, but makes you feel good. If you get in the habit of decluttering everyday in just 15 minutes, your house will be always be neat.

How to do it? Whenever you have a little time, put things back to where they belong. Or you could make decluttering a part of your morning routine.

“Simplifying isn’t meant to leave your life empty – it’s meant to leave space in your life for what you really want to do.” – Leo Baubata


Now that I’ve experience the joy of living a simpler life, I cannot and don’t want to live in any other way. Having less possessions gave me more time and clarity. I realise what makes me happy and I could find time to do more of them. Recently, I go on more hikes and even climbed up to QiXing Mountain in Taipei. What do you want to do? What makes you happy? Find out and let it be your motivation to adopt these 10 habits.

If you’re interested to simplify your life, try reading Zen Habits and The Power Of Less. Good luck in simplifying your life!

poweroflessTHE POWER OF LESS by Leo Babauta
With the countless distractions that come from every corner of a modern life, it’s amazing that were ever able to accomplish anything. The Power of Less demonstrates how to streamline your life by identifying the essential and eliminating the unnecessary freeing you from everyday clutter and allowing you to focus on accomplishing the goals that can change your life for the better. RM 63.90.

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