5 Simplifying Questions To Make Your Life Less Complicated

Allow these questions to guide you in the right direction when life gets complex.

Man sitting in a complicated situation marcoventuriniautieri | Canva

A complicated life creates stress. I try to take on too much. I worry about unnecessary things. I spread myself too thin wanting to do more and more and more. I lack the focus, time, and energy for those things that matter the most to me.

Simplicity has always been the solution. The best way I have found to get from complexity to simplicity is through asking focusing questions. Everything starts with one thing. Narrowing down on what matters and what can be done to address an issue. Often we don’t take the steps we need to take because it seems like such a monumental task. So, ask these questions to create the clarity you need to get started on one thing. One thing at a time…


First of all, before we ask the specific five questions, ask yourself: Think about what is currently causing you continual stress or bother. What are you losing sleep over? What about the way you live right now do you know what is holding you back, even if you don’t want to admit it? Make a list of all of them.

Here are my main ones:

  • I’m not selling enough of my books.
  • I’m not going on enough outdoor adventures.
  • I have too many bills for things I don’t use.
  • I have a highly sensitive tooth.

You will find that just by listing out those issues, you will already feel your stress decreasing. You have clarity, and you might be surprised at how few things need addressing in reality. Then narrow down on one thing. Just one. Not three or six. The more it continually bugs you, the more of a priority it should be. One thing. Yeah, that thing. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Call it out. Verbalise what it is in detail. Write it down.


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Here are 5 more simplifying questions to make your life less complicated:

1. What is one thing you can do to either eliminate or improve the one problem that matters more than anything?

It might be that the problem was never a problem in the first place and that what you needed was to give yourself a break and be more empathetic of who you are.

In other cases — and your gut will tell you — they need to be confronted. Do that thing right away. Devote time to doing this. Make it a priority. Life is about dealing with problems that we have control over. Simplicity is about dealing with not only physical clutter but mental clutter. Do not allow things to nag and niggle at you continually. It’s time to call that issue out by name and deal with it! Your joy is counting on it. 

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2. What is one object I own that I can sell or get rid of that would make me feel better?

Put it on the market for sale, arrange to give it away, or throw it away. Do this today. I’m serious. Do this right now.



3. What is a subscription, expense, bill, or regular payment to which I am tied that I do not need and that I could cut?

Most of us don’t want to confront these things because it is complicated. Just find one. Do it now or get someone else to do it. One at a time.

4. What is one active project, job, venture, side hustle, to-do list item, or errand that would make life easier if I cut it completely?

Choose one and cut it now. If you already addressed this in a previous question, do it with the next thing. Do this knowing that you will have more time and energy to focus on the things that matter more at this phase in your life? No one said this would be easy. End it. You can pick it up later if you absolutely must.


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5. What is one relationship you have with someone who is hurting you that you need to address?

If people are causing you continual stress, lack of confidence, and drained energy, and you are in a position to do so, cut them out of your life. You need courage for this, but it’s easier when you remind yourself that life is short, and you cannot allow someone else to make you feel worse for more time than is necessary. View negative people like negative habits. Some — if there is absolutely nothing that can be done to remedy the situation and work on an issue — need to be dropped, and, rather than hopping on the next bad habit/person, replaced with a habit or person that is better for you. Sometimes, just by focusing on better people, those who never mattered will fade into the background anyway.



The other option is to improve your relationship with people — It could be that what is bothering you is that a relationship needs an injection of care. You need to do a better job of keeping in touch: call or check in with someone, or just work on a rift that can be remedied. Learn to love yourself and to see the good in people. A lot of our issues with other people stem from our negative self-judgment. Confront the issue with them gently, reasonably, and verbally. Arrange a time to speak with them and come to an agreement that benefits both of you. Get training on dealing with the relationship (or future relationships) better, like parental guidance. We are all capable of change.


The same thing applies to bad habits. It could be something you do that gives you short-term pleasure, but — overall — makes you feel worse, like watching the news, smoking, drinking too much, gambling, etc  In all cases, these are relationships you have with people, activities and things, and if they are harmful, dealing with them will simplify your life. Pick a person or a habit and come up with a clear strategy for improving that situation today. Your energy and happiness are counting on this decision.

Many of these questions can be asked repeatedly, but the power lies in their narrowing down to single issues that can be addressed one step at a time. Now go and tidy your home and workspace. Marie Kondo needs you, and you need her. Good luck.

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Alex Mathers is a writer and coach who helps you build a money-making personal brand with your knowledge and skills while staying mentally resilient.