A Journey to Simplify Life with Chrissy Tasker - Conny Graf

Do we really need 8 choices of baked beans? 

To understand this question you have to listen to the episode. I am welcoming Chrissy Tasker to share her story.

Chrissy is originally from Singapore where she and her husband owned a business. They worked 11 hours a day and often she didn't even see her children because they were in bed already. A health issue woke her up and when one of her sons had problems in school she knew it was time to act. 

She and her family simplified their life, are living in the UK now and are much happier. She says:

You need to simplify life to find your purpose. ~Chrissy Tasker

We talk about how in Asia the focus is a lot on academics and how being content is looked as being a loser. All while a lot of the awareness and mindfulness practices we know originate in Asia - what a contradiction. 

If you find value in this conversation with Chrissy please share the episode with your friends and family, because if you found value in it, they will too.

Please, help me grow my podcast by going to Apple Podcasts and write a 5-star review. This way more people will find this podcast and can move from chaos to peace in their life and business. 

Chrissy Tasker

A Digital Activist, Public Speaker, Author and Consultant.

Her new book "Stillness in my soul." about simplify your life to discover  your life purpose . Digital detox  and mindful consumerism. (Coming soon) 

Website  *  TWISB Publishing

Resources

Reading instead of Listening (Transcript) 

FYI: this text is not polished, I try to keep it as close as possible to how the guest expressed herself/himself . 

Conny Graf
Welcome Chrissy I'm so excited to have you on my podcast.

Chrissy Tasker
Oh, thank you so much for having me Conny. It was a great session and really looking forward to speak to you always so glad to be here.

Conny Graf
Yeah, I'm so glad you're here too because you have quite a remarkable story that we want to dive into a little bit so, introduce yourself to my audience and why you're here.

Chrissy Tasker
Hello Hello everyone, I'm Chrissy Tasker, originally, I was from Singapore, I moved to UK with my whole family in 2015. So we already settled down in UK. When we came to the UK we thought, we're gonna retire here, but in the end we were so bored within three months. So me and my husband started looking for something to do, and now we are into property development.

Then we got into book publishing and are a book publisher now as well and start teaching people how to do both within 90 days. So that's basically what I do in UK now.

Conny Graf
Yeah, that's awesome. But you told me that the reason why you came to England to begin with was because life in Singapore was so crazy right?

Chrissy Tasker
Oh my gosh, I cannot believe the difference... There is such a good analogy when people say the frog in the well. There was exactly what I felt when I was in Singapore. I was staying in the well, and I tought life was supposed to be like this. Yeah, because it Singapore we literally work 11 hours a day.

Conny Graf
That's nuts

Chrissy Tasker
I it's crazy and basically, by the time I reach home. I don't even see my children, because they have to go to bed and wake up early in the morning. And it's just day in day out and we're just doing that. And most of my staff can't afford to go for holiday, except me and my husband. We literally were working all the time, and it's just nuts.

So in the end we know that this is not the life that we want to have picked up in Singapore and we move to the UK

Conny Graf
So how did you figure it out? Because like you said you just thought it was that way, that life was that way. What what happened that you all of a sudden thought, wait a second life should be different.

Chrissy Tasker
You see, because I was born in Singapore at the time so we are, I think, I'm not sure brainwashed, but we are meant to be that way. So we will go to school come back and in the end, when we finish you get a degree and that is when you start working in a nine to five job which is the norm.

But so for us we choose to run our own business and this is even longer hours. But so about seven to eight years ago, I started developing Vertigo, and so I literally cannot function. And when that happened to me, it struck me to say that there's something wrong because I started imagine I will work my whole life and I don't enjoy it. If the Vertigo does not stop I'm going to suffer my life through out like this.

At that moment of time, and my kids were quite young. My youngest son, who was then about eight years old and attended the primary school there, they found out he had dislexia. And then, because Singapore is such a fast moving system, and they really focus on academy, and my kids kept failing that. So, you know, there is a streaming session in Singapore, in year two in primary school they start separating the good, the very good children and the one that have problem catching up. And my kids really failed it.

I thought that is so wrong, you know, it is a segregation, a disgrading thing, and my kid felt that they are failures in school. I looked at the whole thing and I just felt that is so wrong to chase life like this. I was chasing life for money, to get more money, so that the family can be comfortable but I don't have time to spend time with my family. And my kids were chasing academy, again, again, but they were not enjoy school. I realized this is so wrong. This is really not the life I want.

Conny Graf
Yeah,

Chrissy Tasker
I want my kids to enjoy school, I want my kids to know that education is fun. But that's not where we decided oh we're going to move to the UK. It was in 2015, we came to the UK holiday because my husband was from here. So we came back to the UK for holiday just with suitcases, but then I told myself. No, we have to make a decision we just can't turn back.

Because we have been putting it on hold for a long, long time. So, I told my husband we are not leaving, we are gonna stay here. We're gonna try the school system here for the kids. Wost case, if it fails, we can go home to Singapore. So we stayed, we started looking for a school and then enrolled them into the school, and we've never looked back.

Conny Graf
It's an amazing story and you always hear how, like in Asia, in Asian countries, that so much focus is on academy and working working working. And at the same time, a lot of the mindfulness practices also come from the East, from Asia, so it's kind of like quite the opposite

Chrissy Tasker
isn't it true yeah. You just say something that, yeah, isn't it true, because Confucius is even the Chinese philosopher, and then Lao Tzu his teaching is all about mindfulness and balancing. But I don't think it's just Asia, I think right now our culture is just at such a fast pace, we totally forget about mindful living. And I think also social media has such an impact on us. Everyone seems to be so successful on the internet, at least it seems to be like that, so we say, if I don't move a little faster I will be left behind will be missing out something.

That probably the mentality and that's why people are working so hard and they forget the philosophy that Zen living is about mindfulness, about having enough, and contentment. I can't even talk about contentment in Asia, because contentment is for the loser. You don't have it because everybody's trying to achieve more and more but when we talk about I'm content with what I have it's like you are just giving up in life. So this is the difference.

Conny Graf
So when was the point where you wrote your book? Because you wrote a beautiful book about your journey to simplify life So when did that happen?

Chrissy Tasker
Okay, so, if I was still in Singapore, I would have never had the time to write a book. because it's filled day in and out with so many activities. And in Singapore everything is open until 2 or 3am, so in the middle of the night you can think that oh, I want to get out and have supper and you literally can go out, there are still food stores open all the time, so there is a lot that distracts you. But then in the UK litterally I realized that, hey, my phone stopped ringing. Because of the time difference I did not have to answer my phone anymore, wow.

This is such a relief I cannot believe it's such a relief. we use a thing. We depend on the phone so much and we need it and people need to contact us. But because I've moved to UK and the time difference. my phone stopped ringing and I'm not having to answer message, all the time or texts. I have suddenly a lot of time at my hands. And during this COVID, suddenly, because everything shut down all the more we don't even have activities, it's just wow.

To me, I mean, I shouldn't be saying, that COVID is good, but there is something good that came out of this COVID, because I found that I have time in my head, and I started thinking maybe I should do something that I really love. And writing a book has always been something I wanted to do. It was my secret ambition, but because I barely had time and for sure not for writing I thought it was not achievable. But because this time I had so much time, I decided to try it.

So I start going around to different courses, overspending on courses of course, a lot of spending, a lot of money since most of them have a four figure costs from some of the well known industry teachers and I learned, wherever I can on how to write books. And then after that, there was no turning back. The first book is about my journey of coming from Singapore to the UK, and why I wanted to simplify my life and living life with a purpose. There is just one basic thing that I see is different. There is a big supermarket here called Aldi, and every time I go it, I'm just amazed at how they simplify our choice.

Because, like if you go to any big supermarket like Tesco to buy one can of baked beans, you have to go through 18 choices. Oh my gosh. I have to make such a decision just to buy one can of beans. But when I look at the business model from the Aldi supermarket, they only have one or two choices of baked beans. So it makes your life very easy because you literally don't have to stand there and make a choice. So I realized choice, choice is also a part of how you can simplify your life, you realize that you don't have to be confused all the time now.

Conny Graf
You're so right, we always feel like variety is good or the more the better, which is not true, it just keeps us stuck and spinning and....

Chrissy Tasker
yes that's right and we are just acustomed to it, because maybe we can't say the words brainwashing, but all these marketing strategies have made us think that we should have more choices, and that more choices is good, but we're wasting our time here. They are just keep adding on more and more confusions for us. Life shouldn't be that way, you know. Just simplify your life and you can see your life more clear, so that you can spend your time to do something more fulfilling, with purpose,

Conny Graf
Yes, and you also told me that simplifying your life meant that you became more productive and you probably mean with writing the book and doing the things you want, instead of spinning your wheels in other things.

Chrissy Tasker
Yeah, because I still have to run my businesses, I have a business Singapore and I also have a business in the UK now. So I really realized, when I consciously want to simplify my life, I look at how can I be more productive. It used to drive me mad when I see my husband, when I open his computer and he has like 20 tabs open, and I ask myself, how can men function like this.

But this is actually how everyone is doing it. When you are suppose to work on one task but in the end you have like so many things open up in front of you, in the end your mind is so cluttered. You don't have the currency to see carefully. Don't you think with all this mental slough you are not focused. So you have to simplify, and what I used to do is to simplify this process. I used to write out things I need to do on paper, not even on the computer. I know this is a digital world where we have to depend on the computer, the digital to do things. When I have to send an email, I literally close all the browser, so I can think clearly.

Conny Graf
Yeah

Chrissy Tasker
So I look at what I need to do and I finished one task at a time. So it's, instead of targeting so many thing I focus on one at a time, and I simplify the process of focus on one at a time. Then every time I look back at my paper I know that, because I tick it off, I know that I have achieved so many things because there's exactly what I want to do. Instead of when I stare at the screen the next minute, I get distracted with advertisement, or another site, so you see, by simplifying your process, you can be more productive.

Conny Graf
yeah I agree and when I help people declutter their office or their desk I always notice too how they have so much stuff on their desk that has nothing to do with what they're actually working on or should be working on. And that pulls our brain in all kinds of directions plus then all the advertisements like you talked about on the internet and all that. It's crazy. So you also said that simplifying and letting go of a lot of stuff gave you more freedom. While we always think like the more choices we have, the more freedom we have but it's actually the other way around.

Chrissy Tasker
Isn't it true, it's the other way around. Yeah, letting go it's true. When we moved houses, because I saw the house before we moved to the UK, when we were selling the house, gosh, I, did not realize how much things we had accumulated over the years.I counted, we have 37 pots and pans. What were we doing with all those things? It's just crazy.

And when we moved from the big house in Singapore, because my eldest son is still there, so we moved to a smaller apartment. Me and my helper we were accumulating everything, and we were bringing it to the charity. We took like 12 loads each car full of things just go to the charity. I was looking at it and thougth I cannot believe over the year, how much junkt we've created. So imagine it was such a relief, the moment I can give it all away.

We used to think, oh no these are my things but like your previous podcast is about how do you declutter sentimental things, because it is sentimental. But the moment it's essential, right, where I know that I have to, because I am moving from a big space to a small space, I have to let go of all those things, and they no longer become essential. Do I have to keep all the clothing? No! I literally have given all up.

Conny Graf
Yeah, and even even if you have 37 pots you usually only use three, the same three over and over and over. And the bigger house you have and more storage like everybody wants a lot of storage but then you have all that stuff packed away in your cupboards and closets and then when you need to move house it becomes crazy. And what a lot of people don't understand is how all that stuff we all have a connection to that stuff so it's weighing on us and that's why you feel so good when you can give it away.

Chrissy Tasker
Yes, this is true, I was listening to your previous podcast about sentiment and declutter, and I was trying to pull out some big shit from the cupboard the other day, and I took this white box and took the lid off and opened it up. In it was my daughter summer dress, it was a summer dress for two years ago. Because it was so beautiful, I would say, okay, I keep it for the next summer. But it was from two years ago and she outgrew it. Imagine this very beautiful dress, but because I thought I can store it, instead of like blessing someone with a dress, I stored it and she outgrew it.

So it is something we look at and we say, if we can simplify that, knowing that these are not important things, I just need to let it go. This sentiment is is a big box, and I had forgotten it's up there as well. So that part of letting go is so so good for me.

Conny Graf
Yeah and we can start small, we can start with not the most sentimental things, and then we work our way up to the more sentimental things. When we start feeling how good it feels to actually have a simpler life then we're more motivated towards letting things go too.

Chrissy Tasker
Conny, I want to ask you because the last session you were talking about decluttering sentimental things, what do you think of cards. How about like birthday cards, do you think we should keep them or should we throw them away?

Conny Graf
So I don't have any. But it's individual, so that's probably not 100% true I may have one or two. But actually I usually don't have them and what I often do is if it's really a meaningful card, I scan it in, so I have a digital version of it.

Chrissy Tasker
Oh that's brilliant.

Conny Graf
Yeah, and I have a good friend she makes her own cards. So if I get one of her cards she always makes sure that I can reuse the card which is beautiful. Because then her beautiful work, I can give the card to somebody else, I just put a different inlay paper in it.

Chrissy Tasker
Ah so this interesting idea, this is very clever, oh my gosh. You see in Singapore we used to receive a lot of cards, especially the children, birthday cards and things like that. So I used to think, oh my gosh I don't want to throw them away, I want my children to see them when they are grewn up. But because when I kept them it ended up accumulating more and more things from them, which is impossible to keep in a way, you know, imagine they have so many years.

So in the end we decluttered a lot of their childhood things as well. You have to you have to go through that guilt, when you throw away the kid stuff, especially the children thing that you think they could value when they grew up, but actually they don't, most of the time they don't care.

Conny Graf
They don't care it's you that cares. One trick that you could do, especially with children's stuff, is take a photo of your child holding that item, the card or the dress. And then you have a photo of your child, you know how old the child was, and that item that you feel sentimental about. And then maybe your child is interested later to see the photo, and then you don't have all the physical clutter.

Chrissy Tasker
That's a brilliant idea. Yeah, well, yes this is fantastic, what a fantastic idea.

Conny Graf
Yeah, you just have to make sure it's organized digitally. You can get a lot of digital clutter as well as you know.

Chrissy Tasker
Yeah, yeah, that's for sure. So, in my book, I have a chapter where I talk about digital clutter as well because that was something that really bogged me down all the time. Even on my phone, I have so many apps that I don't use, and I realize I'm not the only one, most people are like this. So, that actually has a loss effect on your mental health. Imagine that it is with you all the time and you stare at it. Clutter is a reflection of your mental state isn't it.

So, clearing up the apps that you don't use is one of the necessity that you should look at. Even the computer because now today we are working at least like 12 to 16 hours in front of the computer. If every time you open up your screen, all you see are all these apps and everywhere around you, it affect you so much that you do not realize that. So, I have a system that once a month, I will clear my screen, and I will clear my email as well. Because over the time we keep subscribing for things, then I look at my email and think o no so many things. What I'll do is, I scan through it, I don't even bother to open them.

Because how you do anything is how you do everything. Subconsciously you just keep progressing it and because you procrastinate this part you will procrastinate more of it. So I have a folder that I put all those things in that I don't need to open. And if by three months I still have not opened them, then I am unsubscribing. This is so that I declutter, every month I do that. So actually consciously because of my actions and because I do that the more I wanted to clear other parts of my life as well. Because it's a conscious stage, when you walk past something, or you see the clutter, you want to cry out especially you mentally, trying to scream out to you to say that you need to detox. That's how our mind works.

Conny Graf
yeah this is so true. So is your book out already or when is it coming out?

Chrissy Tasker
It's coming out on the 20th of October,

Conny Graf
20th of October, okay, we will for sure put a link in the show notes so that the people can go and check it out.

Chrissy Tasker
Oh yeah, let's post the link in the show notes, thank you very much Conny.

Conny Graf
And where on social media can they find you, do you have a website where they can find you or what's what's the best place if they would be interested in your story?

Chrissy Tasker
Right now, I have Facebook, but you can find me on my website https://www.chrissytasker.com. I also have a publishing website that you can see the books that are coming up, it's called TWISB, which stands for the world is so big, publishing https://www.twisbpublishing.com/

Conny Graf
Oh wow, that's a cool name.

Chrissy Tasker
That is yes, so when I started my company I said I can use whatever name I want right.

Conny Graf
Yeah, that's awesome. I will put the links in the show notes for sure so people can find it really easy. So, to be mindful of the time of the listeners, we want to come to an end. But I wanted to ask if you have any last words or wisdom, or a last tip for people if they want to simplify their life, where should they start?

Chrissy Tasker
So, I always ask the audience or my reader to ask themselves, do you need eight choices of baked beans? I always get the attention with the baked beans, because life can be simplified. You need to simplify life to find your purpose. So consciously doing that so that you don't go through life like a zombie. By the time you realize that you don't have much time to enjoy your life it is probably because you have wasted so much time in some of the things that are not meaningful, or

Conny Graf
deciding what baked beans to eat. I will always remember that from now on

Chrissy Tasker
Thank you so much Conny I had such a great time with you tonight

Conny Graf
Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to read your book when it comes out.

Chrissy Tasker
thank you so much.

If you have any questions

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Register here, I look forward to seeing you there. 

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