I’ve invented my own S.I.M.P.L.E. philosophy in an attempt to keep growing and organised in all of the key areas of my life – and I’m choosing to share it with you in case you find it helpful to use yourself. The sections below explain what each letter stands for and what each category relates to.
I believe a focus in all of these areas is essential for anyone who wants to enjoy a truly fulfilling life. Not feeling at peace in any one of these areas can affect all of the others. But equally, as you deal with any issues in each of these areas, it can have a positive effect on the rest. A rising tide, as the saying goes, lifts all boats.
The Myth of the ‘Balanced Life’
I believe there is such a thing as a ‘balanced life’, but the myth perpetuated is that each category deserves equal weight in terms of time and attention. We’re all different (thank goodness!), which means that ‘balance’ means something different to us all. For example, if you love your work and you’re happy being single, you can feel totally balanced spending 80% of your time focused on your work; whereas someone in a committed relationship may work as few hours as possible because they derive more fulfilment from spending time with their family.
There are no ‘Right Answers’ here.
As you read the explanations below, you’ll notice I’ve asked a number of questions. This is to help you get clear about what each category means to you right now. Each of us is different and our situations change over time so there are no right answers to these questions. The ultimate goal, as I mentioned above, is simply for you to do what it takes to feel at peace in each of these areas.
S is for…
Spirit or Sense – our connection with nature and/or the supernatural
I see this as how we connect to the world; how we relate to planet Earth and the universe that surrounds us. Do you feel you’re here by design and have (or are looking for) a sense of purpose or mission – or do you feel you’re just here by random chance?
Whatever you believe will determine how you engage with this category. You may have a particular religious belief, or you may consider yourself a highly spiritual person with no connection to a single religion, or you may believe in nothing beyond your own human existence and simply engage with the world through your 5 senses, science and reason.
Are you at peace with your current beliefs, or do you feel a need to explore this area of your life more?
I is for…
Interpersonal – the quality of our relationships with others
This is about how we relate to other human beings. Does being around lots of people energise or drain you? What makes you feel more fulfilled – the variety and peace of mind of having an address book bursting with names of people you can call upon to socialise with, do business with or help you at any time – or the intimacy of having a few choice friends who you could share anything with and whom you would trust with your life?
Do you have any unresolved issues with people or toxic relationships in your life that you need to deal with before you can feel at peace in this area?
M is for…
Material – anything relating to our possessions and finances
When it comes to possessions and finances, most people find it hard to pin down exactly what would give them peace in this area. It’s easy for people to say ‘the more the better’, but in reality that’s just not true.
How much income is ‘enough’ for you? Some people would feel totally out of their depth earning way more money than they feel they need for the lifestyle they want.
Do you prefer to pay out regularly for insurance against possible bigger unforeseen life events, or build up a savings pot that you may or may not have to use?
Do you prefer to keep any savings in low or zero interest bank accounts, where your funds are protected, or risk investing some of that money in the hope of a better return?
Do you enjoy DIY and prefer to maintain your house, garden and other possessions yourself, or would you rather earn the money to get someone else to do those jobs?
Do you want more and/or better material possessions in your life? Or do you feel overwhelmed by too much ‘stuff’ cluttering up your home?
Do you feel that what you have already is neat, organised and well maintained – or do you never seem to find the time to keep up with everything?
Getting to ‘at peace’ in this area can be down to a good declutter and better time management, rather than more income.
P is for…
Personal – developing our mind and body
Whereas ‘S’ is about your relationship with the world and ‘Interpersonal’ is about your relationships with others, ‘P’ is about your physical and your mental health.
Are you the weight you want to be right now? Do you wake up every day feeling refreshed and energised? Do you look the way you want to look right now? Are there some quick changes you could make to make you feel instantly more at peace, such as a haircut or better fitting clothes?
Is there anything you would like to learn, which you believe would enhance the quality of your life, but isn’t really a leisure activity – for example, learning a foreign language or life skill?
L is for…
Leisure – what we do for fun, or to relax, or de-stress
If you’re a spiritual person, what ‘feeds your soul’ (or if you’re not, you can ask the ‘Marie Kondo’ question “what brings you joy”)?
Do you have a hobby that is so absorbing that you lose all sense of time when you engage with it?
Does it recharge your batteries to go somewhere quiet and read a good book, go for a walk, soak in a warm bath or watch your favourite movie?
Do whatever works for you. It’s good to try new things from time to time too, to see if you can add to your ‘leisure list’.
E is for…
Employment – work we get paid to do
Do you find your work fulfilling? Do you need to, or are you happy with it to just be a source of income to allow you to feel fulfilled elsewhere?
Are there any changes you could make in your current work that would make you feel more fulfilled than you currently are?
Do you see yourself doing what you’re doing now in 3, 5 or 10 years’ time? If not, what do you see yourself doing and how are you planning to make that happen?
I hope you’ve found this blog post useful, or at least thought-provoking. I invite you to explore my other blog posts to see how I use my SIMPLE philosophy to stay organised and improve my life.
To see my journey in each category since I started this blog in March 2012, click on the relevant category in the right-hand sidebar on this blog.