By Laura Giles | Associate advisor, Foster Group

What if we could all live lives of simplicity? Lives that are focused on the important things and aren’t muddied by the noise and busyness of life? The truth is life is anything but simple, and the demands of life are more taxing now than they’ve ever been.   

As women, it’s ingrained in us to set high, and oftentimes, unrealistic expectations of ourselves. While we don’t intentionally carry on this heavy burden, we just can’t seem to ignore the endless pulls on our lives. However, it’s imperative that we evaluate what adds meaning to our lives, so we can say "no" to the things that don’t.   

I received inspiration for this article while going through a certification at work that suggests providing financial advice in a way that is "Profoundly Simple." This concept really resonated with me. Encouraged by this idea, I asked myself how "Profound Simplicity" could be applied to our personal lives, and here’s what I came up with:

1. Subtract one or two activities that are keeping you from living the life you want to live. Just as cutting discretionary expenses helps you save for the things you truly value, cutting out the noise makes room for the meaningful.

2. Determine your top five values and let them serve as a guide in how you make decisions. While knowing your values helps shape your goals, most people rarely take the time to write them down. Taking 10 minutes to identify and write down your values can serve as a strong tool in effectively managing your time, money and commitments.

As it relates to personal finance, establishing your values helps you ask yourself, "Is our family spending money in a way that reflects our core values?" or "Do I really need this item, and is it in alignment with my values"? My husband and I went through this exercise early on in our marriage, and it really helped us to come to agreement on what we wanted to spend our money on and what goals we wanted to achieve. While I use this illustration as it relates to spending, the same concept can be translated to how we live our lives. Create simplicity by letting what you value navigate how you spend your time and money.

As we go about our lives, it’s important to remember that busyness isn’t always better. Achieving a life of simplicity takes intention and will require us to say "no" in order to say "yes." We must give ourselves grace and remind ourselves that we are enough and that we don’t have to do it all. Creating areas of simplicity in our lives will not make us less capable as women, wives, mothers or employees. Instead, it will help us make time for the things that really matter so we can take steps toward becoming the women we want to be, living the lives we want to live.

Laura Giles is an associate advisor for Foster Group, a financial investment firm located in Des Moines. Connect with her on LinkedIn.