It seems the older we get, the fuller our lives become. Our lives can get so over-ran with our to-do lists and responsibilities that we can feel like we are struggling to keep up. Sometimes we are even running so hard and so fast that we forget what we are running towards. When it comes to building a life that is both satisfying and enjoyable it is all about balance. And one of the easiest ways to bring balance to your life is through simplifying.
I wish simplifying our lives was as easy as it sounds. “Simplifying” your life can mean so many different things. It could mean making changes to your schedule, letting go of some expectations, or even allowing yourself to say “no.” While no one’s life is truly “simple” here are some tips and tricks to simplify your life where it really counts.
“Getting real with yourself,” is a term I like to use that means it is time to figure out where I really stand on an issue. Are there things/events/projects/expectations in your life that are making your life unnecessarily hard? One of those things for me was the expectation that I would prepare an amazing dinner every night. I love to cook, but I don’t have the time. For a while I was trying to come home from working full-time, make a gourmet meal and still have time for myself. It wasn’t working for me (which doesn’t mean it can’t work for you) so I decided that to simplify my life I was going to redirect my efforts. I started meal prepping on the weekends so I could have a good meal waiting for me, no extra cooking required.
That was an easy way I simplified my life—I let go of my “Martha Stewart” expectation for myself. What does this mean for you? Take a second and look at your “pain points” in your day. Identify them and take a deeper look into why they seem complicated. Once you figure out that you can start to brainstorm ways to simplify the situation. That might mean you try something new, give a little on your expectations, or forget it all together. Don’t give up on anything that is really important to you, but see if by simplifying things you can still achieve your desired result. You just might realize it wasn’t all that vital after all.
2.Give Yourself Time
I don’t know about you, but for me having a limited amount of time, or being in a rush makes me instantly feel on edge and that I am WAY too busy. In the same breath, I love feeling like I got a ton of stuff done in a day. Find a happy balance. Give yourself enough time when it comes to being places, enjoying events, and enjoying the moment. This might require saying no to urgent but not important things, and taking more time for yourself. This isn’t something that comes naturally to people, so make sure you practice the art of pacing your day.
3.Mainstream Your Week
There is a common misconception that by “simplifying” your life, you won’t have a lot of demands on your time. Sadly, we will always be busy, but the whole point of simplifying our lives is to help reduce the amount of stress and worry we feel on a daily basis. Learning how to mainstream your needs is outlining a game plan for your day/week/month. Try making things as easy and fluid as possible. I love to plan out our upcoming week on Sundays and then make sure that everyone is doing their part to help out. This helps to eliminate surprises that can overtake your day or added time and stress over realizing a something has to happen ASAP.
Another key to simplifying your life is taking it step by step. When you are planning out your week and making sure that you are clear about the upcoming tasks you need to accomplish don’t forget to take it one step at a time. Life by the inch is a synch.
This might seem like a weird tip but when it comes to simplifying it is essential! An overachiever like yourself more than likely can fit a lot into your day, handle a high amount of stress, and occasionally can even make miracles happen. There is a certain kind of rush that comes from achieving a nearly impossibly day. However, it isn’t sustainable and nothing about it is simple.
I remember realizing that some aspects of my life weren’t sustainable when I was trying to finish up with college.
I was talking a full load of 24 credits which required me to get up at 4:30am to work out every day. When I really committed to this, and knew my end goal, I made it work. However, after that semester was over I knew I couldn’t sustain that pattern for the rest of my life. It made me miserable just thinking about it! Even though I knew that when I worked out at 4:30am I had SO much time to get everything else done. It wasn’t worth it to me anymore. I decided to sleep in, and workout later in the morning and my life felt so manageable.
That is why sustainability of our schedules matters when it comes to simplifying. Yes, we can push it hard, and sometimes we have to, but the majority of the time you should living a life that brings you joy and that you don’t feel will break at any moment. That is the whole point of simplifying our lives, to feel that happy balance between growth and sustainability.
When it comes to simplifying our lives, keep in mind that balance is the goal. We will never have a life that is literally “simple” but you can learn to find more joy and peace in your life as you practice the art of simplifying your life. Keep in mind your expectations, your time restraints, and creating a life that is sustainable. Start with the “pain points” in your day and see how your life can change with just being mindful of simplifying.