An Introvert’s Guide to Simplifying Your Life

An introvert holding a journal and thinking

As an introvert, when everything is spinning out of control, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. That’s why taking steps to simplify your life is so important.

I used to see life as a series of repairs and maintenance. If I was fixing something in my house, I made sure not to ignore other important aspects of my life, like my relationships. If I keep all the areas of my life straight, then I can maintain balance, I’d think. 

Of course, that balance only lasted a short time. Life is complicated and messy, and things happen simultaneously, regardless of how much we want everything to go to plan.

As an introvert, when everything is spinning out of control, I feel overwhelmed. So I knew I had to figure out a way to simplify my life and, as a result, feel more calm.

I had many negative and unhealthy mental habits that made my life more difficult than it had to be. I did a lot of overthinking and needed to eliminate the mental clutter and change my mindset. If something didn’t inspire joy or add to my feelings of well-being, it had to go.

Soon, my life became simpler and easier to handle without all the overwhelm and complications. Here are the ways I simplified my life, and I hope some can work for you, too.

10 Ways for Introverts to Simplify Their Life

1. Don’t complicate things if you don’t have to.

I’m not saying you can’t get what you want when you want it. However,  if you want a cheese sandwich, don’t order a cheeseburger: hold the lettuce, tomato, special sauce, and burger. Order the cheese sandwich. 

Some people like to make things unnecessarily complicated. But if you’re truthful and direct with what you want at the start, you can avoid creating a lot of stress for yourself (and others).

Being direct also means speaking up for yourself rather than having someone else ask for you. I know, speaking up is not the first thing that comes to an introvert’s mind — this may mean doing something you’d rather not do. But if it benefits you in the long run, you need to be your own advocate. Write down what you’ll say before you say it, rehearse it (to yourself, to a friend), and then ask for what you want (and likely need).

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2. Don’t take everything personally.

As an introvert, you probably don’t have the showiest personality, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need attention. Sometimes, you misinterpret what someone says about you, or what they do. Often, it has nothing to do with you, and by inserting yourself into it, you’re only creating a lot of otherwise-avoidable drama.

And, you guessed it: Drama and conflict complicate our lives.

Most of the time, people are more concerned about their actions than worrying about how those actions affect other people. Don’t unnecessarily throw yourself in the mix or assume you know their thoughts or motivations. You can’t see inside their head, and you have no idea what they’re thinking or why. You’ll drive yourself nuts trying to figure out why you got on their hit list when you’re most likely not on it in the first place.

3. Stop worrying about what other people think of you.

Not everyone will like you, no matter how much you try to win them over. The best plan is to be the most authentic version of yourself; hopefully, they’ll see the light and see you for the incredible person you are.

If they never like you, that’s okay, too. It’s their loss, whether they know it or not.

Introverts take their time building relationships. Some people may decide it’s too difficult to get to know you and make a snap decision that they don’t like you. Again, that’s their issue, and it’s none of your concern.

You’ll never be the perfect version of anything, and it takes too much energy and mental bandwidth to try to please everyone. Although you may be tempted to be a people-pleaser, instead, use that energy to do what pleases you.

4. Don’t beat yourself up for something you did or said.

Introverts tend to be extremely self-aware, and that’s a good quality to have, but sometimes that self-awareness gets internalized. The next thing you know, you’re going over a past conversation in your mind, making notes of all the wrong things you said, and criticizing yourself for saying them… minutes, hours, days, or weeks later. (Here’s where overthinking comes into play again!)

Why did you ask about their partner? You knew they were no longer together.

Don’t sweat it. In life, there aren’t any take-backs or do-overs; there are only live-withs and lessons learned. The last thing you want to do is police yourself and turn your self-awareness into self-consciousness.

Everybody messes up, so the best thing to do is acknowledge it to yourself and move on. Like the song says, “Let it go.”

5. Dwelling in the past is an unhealthy living situation. Instead, practice acceptance.

Introverts may not be into instant relationships, but when we get attached, we are all-in. If we feel as if we’re doing everything and the other person isn’t making much of an effort, or isn’t giving us what we think we deserve, we can feel hurt and disappointed.

It’s always helpful to figure out what you will — and won’t — accept. Maybe they’re giving their all, and it’s different than how you’d do it. Can you accept what they’re able to give? Or is it best to rethink the relationship?

You don’t want to suffer in silence, but it’s not healthy to blow up over something that isn’t going to change.

Do you ever struggle to know what to say?

As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.

6. Don’t compare your life to the lives of others.

No one’s life is amazing every minute of the day. No matter how close you are to someone, you’ll never know all their struggles, issues, or failures. What looks ideal on the outside may look a lot different when the blinders are off your eyes.

If it seems as if everyone is achieving the same goals you’ve set for yourself, instead of comparing yourself to them, look at what they did to achieve them and modify their strategies to suit your skills and talents. Introverts excel at deep work, so now’s the time to dive into it.

Of course, don’t copy the person move-for-move, but learn from their triumphs, as well as from their mistakes.

There’s a reason why comparison is called “the thief of joy,” and that’s because comparison can send you into a dark mental space.  

7. Make peace with “no.”

Your time is valuable, so don’t give it away because you can’t turn someone down when they ask you for a favor. If you’re not comfortable doing it, or just don’t want to, it’s much better to say “no” than to do it and resent them for your decision.

Saying “yes” to things you don’t want to do can set off a chain reaction involving feeling taken advantage of, resentment, and anger. And pretending you’re fine with doing something when you feel pressured into it will complicate your life both now and in the future.

You may feel as if once you’ve said “yes,” you’re expected to say yes to everything. As a result, maybe you’ll start to ignore calls and texts from the person, or avoid going anywhere where you could run into them.

So saying “no” is the simple and effective answer.

8. Define your priorities.

Once you know what’s important to you, you’ll be able to make a plan (even if it’s only in your mind) of what you wish to achieve and how to do so.

What will help you keep evolving mentally, emotionally, and spiritually? And what’s important to you? And most important to you?

Writing down your priorities, and ranking them in importance, can be used as a guide and assist you in making better decisions. We introverts love planning, so consider this to be a life plan, of sorts.

9. Try not to catastrophize.

When something goes wrong, it’s not the end of everything. Instead of getting yourself all worked up (which will only cause undue stress), do some journaling, and look at why it’s bothering you so much. What can you learn from it? And how can you improve so that it doesn’t go wrong the next time? What can you do now to improve the situation?

You never want to stagnate and stop growing. So take this opportunity to learn from your mistakes and become a stronger version of yourself. As an introvert, you have an inner desire to learn everything you can, and that includes new things about yourself.

10. Be around people who lift you up.

You can’t wait around for someone to magically become the person you want them to be. Take note of the red flags: If they’re toxic or a danger to you, you need to decide if they’re worth having in your life.

It’s easy to advise you to cut all the toxic people out of your life, and while that would simplify things, it may always not be possible. What is in your control, however, is how you let these people affect you.

Adding in people who are positive influences, and who make you feel good about yourself, makes life easier and better. You’ll see. And then soon, the “good” ones will outweigh the “bad.” The more you’re around people who lift you up, the happier you’ll be — and everything will feel more simple.

Introverts, how do you simplify your life? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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