Simplicity is one of the most valuable, yet underrated qualities you can strive to embrace in your life. Simplifying your life gives you clarity, freedom from unnecessary effort and the ability to be fully present. When you do this, you effectively clear your mind so you can continue on your journey feeling confident and motivated.

If you’ve been following along on my site for a while, by now you will know your values and purpose, and when you’re at your best. You’ve also identified the lessons you’ve already learnt, the golden moments that pull you forward and your definition of success. You’ve created a foundation for your life.

The next step is to create a structure that will support your success. This means getting back to basics: clearing the clutter, deleting the drainers and setting some boundaries so that the obstacles we all encounter don’t bring your dreams crashing down.

Simplicity brings clarity

  1. When you simplify your life, you stop wasting your precious energy.
  2. The clarity this brings reduces ambiguity and eliminates doubt.
  3. You then have the space and opportunity to set and achieve the goals that matter most to you.

What is draining you?

High achievers often struggle with feeling cluttered, overwhelmed and overextended, because they take on a lot of commitments. Working parents know only too well how difficult it is to juggle work, life and play. But really, no-one is immune to the burden of being mentally cluttered: the barista at your local cafe may be chatting politely as he foams your latte, but he’s also wondering whether he should move in with his girlfriend, thinking about his plans for the weekend, wondering if he can afford to go to a music festival next month . . . and don’t those concert tickets go on sale tomorrow?

Drainers aren’t things we think about consciously, but are tasks in our subconscious. Decluttering your life helps eliminate them, creating a simpler, more streamlined environment. This is the big clean-out you’ll need to do before you can structure the new opportunities and strategies that support you to be your best, with optimal wellness in every part of your life.

Drainers are like tiny sandbags that are stacked at the back of your neck. Each sandbag on its own may be small and insignificant, but when they’re combined they weigh you down and make you feel tired, lethargic, stressed and chaotic. Your personal environment, finances, relationships and wellbeing are the key areas where you need to simplify and eliminate drainers.

Many people are surprised to realise how much satisfaction they can derive from doing small, seemingly inconsequential tasks, such as putting all their gadget chargers in one place, booking a check-up with the dentist or filing documents in their correct folders. These types of tasks may not seem like big priorities, but when they are left undone they can take up mental space and chip away at your everyday focus.

By making small adjustments to your routine, you can create space within your life to manage and create everything you want to achieve. These adjustments can be anything from getting out your clothes for the following day before you go to sleep at night to setting up automatic reminders in your phone to book in repeat appointments, like medical check-ups and haircuts.

Clearing your drainers has a massive positive impact on your energy and your confidence, as you’ll experience the satisfaction of accomplishing something – especially if you remember to celebrate all of the wins, big and small, along the way.

How to identify your drainers

Think about the following aspects of your life – whenever your answer to a question is ‘no’, this indicates a drainer. Work to make all your answers ‘yes’.

  1. Personal environment

  • Is your living space clean and inspiring?
  • Is your wardrobe tidy and are all of your clothes clean, pressed and in good repair?
  • Have you cleaned out your storage space and thrown away anything you haven’t used in two years?
  • Do you have fresh air and comfort in your home?
  • Are your bed, pillow and bedding clean, comfortable and conducive to a good night’s sleep?
  1. Finances

  • Do you have a budget or know your cost of living?
  • Do you pay your bills on time or make arrangements with creditors?
  • Are all of your receipts, invoices and financial records filed and in order?
  • Do you have an automatic savings plan to save at least 10 per cent of your income?
  • Do you pay off your credit card debt in full each month?
  1. Relationships

  • Do you tidy any loose ends with your partner, parents, siblings and friends by having open, honest and authentic conversations?
  • Do you let the people you love know how important they are to you?
  • Have you let go of any relationships that drag you down or damage you?
  • Do you make requests rather than complaints?
  • Do you respond to phone calls, letters and emails promptly, even if your response is brief?
  1. Wellbeing

  • Does your diet include fresh fruit and vegetables, and provide you with enough energy?
  • Do you avoid excess tea, coffee and alcohol?
  • Do you exercise for 30 minutes at least three times per week?
  • Do you get enough sleep at least five nights a week?
  • Do you have a holiday at least once a year?
  1. Fun/creativity

  • Do you invest in personal development?
  • Do you laugh every day?
  • Do you have a hobby?
  • Do you plan regular fun activities with your partner, family and friends?
  • Do you dream big dreams and work on realistic ways to make them happen?

A few words on clutter…

Clutter can make you feel stuck. When it accumulates in your living space it really has an effect on your state of mind, reminding you of all those things you mean to get around to, but somehow never do. They add up in your mind until suddenly there are just too many and the result is that none of them get done. Clutter makes it hard to relax and feel motivated at home, and it can even affect your social life if you’re too embarrassed to have people over.

Quick clutter fixes

  • Declutter paper – books/magazines/filing.
  • Mantra of one new thing in, one old thing out.
  • Clean up one room at a time.
  • If you take it off, hang it up.
  • If you open it, close it.
  • If you use it, clean it.

How to stay clutter-free

  • Review your list of drainers monthly.
  • Aim to move each answer from ‘no’ to ‘yes’.
  • Diarise time to maintain your personal environment, finances, relationships and wellbeing.
  • Create a system to achieve all of the tasks you’ve set yourself to clear the drainers from your life.


(Extract taken from The Life Plan, by Shannah Kennedy. Head over to to order your copy or get in touch with Shannah here to find out about executive coaching options.)

Shannah Kennedy – Coach, Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker

Specialising in executive strategy, transition, values, vision and life planning