There are so many ways to slow down and simplify life – some I already do, some I’m trying to do but not quite there yet and some that I plan to start this year because, after a couple of difficult years, I really do want to slow down and enjoy this year because we never know what’s going to happen!
There are really only two things you need to do in order to simplify your life – the first is to take a little time and decide what it is that’s important to you and the second is to try and get rid of as much of the other stuff and the things that get in the way of what’s important to you as you possibly can.
For example, my main goal in life is to spend as much time as possible making memories with my family with the smaller but still very important to me goals of doing well in my job and having a successful blog. You might think that sounds a lot to want out of life but it’s totally achievable – I don’t believe that a woman can’t have everything and that she needs to choose between career or family (or blog for that matter).
I do get that it’s not as easy as it should be though and that I’ve often wished for a few more hours in the day or wished that I could do well on just six hours sleep but seeing as that’s not going to happen, I’ve had to learn to make the most of the time that I do have available
I want to maximise the time I spend achieving what I want from life and minimise the rest – obviously, there’s a lot more to it than this but here are my top ten things that I’ve done so far to help me to slow down and simplify life…
- I delegate some of the jobs around the house to the kids and make sure that Mr Frugal has his own jobs to do too. As a rule, I don’t have to hoover, clear or set the table, fluff or straighten the cushions (that’s totally a job on our jobs list), dust and polish or tidy the shoes up in our hall. Ironing is also something that I don’t do as Mr Frugal does that as well as the pots and anything bin related.
- The kids both cook one night a week which frees that time up too although I do sit at the dining room table and catch up on stuff while I’m on hand to help and advise where needed.
- On the subject of meals, I find that meal planning makes life simpler as a whole as I know what we’re having and when. Even just vague meal planning helps massively.
- I also delegate some of the blogging tasks that I don’t particularly enjoy as it felt at one point that it was getting to be all admin and none of the fun stuff that made me love blogging.
- I use dead time to do something, for example, if I’m waiting for the kids to come out of school or one of their various activities then I’ll catch up on emails.
- I have a notebook which I use to write as many lists as I need – I don’t usually do a daily to-do list unless I have a lot to get through but I do have an ongoing list that I add anything I need to do onto.
- Learning to say no has been a big thing for me as in the past I’ve agreed to do things or go places that I would rather have said no to. These days I realise that life’s too short to spend time doing things I’m not that keen on. The only time I ignore this rule is if it’s doing something that will support a friend in need or if it’s something that someone really really wants me to do with them.
- Tidy your workspace up, that always makes me feel more relaxed.
- I realised that I couldn’t do everything as well as I wanted to do it so I cut out the things I didn’t enjoy doing. Twitter is a prime example of this for me – as a blogger, Twitter used to be where it was at but I really didn’t enjoy it and found it to be a bit of a time-suck so I just decided not to do it anymore. I just literally stopped tweeting and cut out that whole area of my blogging schedule which was amazing. I’ve since spent a little time automating it using Social Oomph but that took about two hours in total and now requires nothing from me at all.
- I stopped carrying my camera and spare lens most places with me because I had a bit of a mentality that I had to photo so much of the what I was doing and seeing. I realised that the camera on my phone would be good enough where I wanted to and even then, I cut down massively on what I photographed.
- I always make sure that there is wriggle room between any appointments so I don’t stress out at any point about a meeting or appointment running over and making me late for the next one.
- I’ve learned to enjoy my commute to work and to really value and use the time I have alone in the car. I have a 30-minute commute which I love and wouldn’t change for the world as I have my favourite CDs in the car which I play as loud as I like and sing along to as loud as I want to. I use the time on the way home to focus on my day which I know sounds a bit geeky but I give myself the time to think about what I did, what I need to do and what the following day will look like. That way, by the time I get home, I’m done with thinking about work until I walk through the doors at the office the following day. This is something I try really hard to do because it really is important to me that I’m not thinking too much about work when I get home – I have enough other stuff to think about.
- I make time to do things I love to do – I am the least creative person but I love creating so I make time to create in some way every day. This makes me feel more fulfilled and happier as a person.
- I try to be as organised as I can but not to stress if things don’t get done. I have a bedtime routine that makes my mornings easier so I try to do that before I go to bed knowing that the extra couple of minutes will be worth it.
- I’ve deleted the Facebook app from my phone which frees up more time than I’d like to admit. ;-)It doesn’t mean that I deleted Facebook, just that I need to be on my laptop to view it which means I’m less likely to lose valuable time watching random videos like those foodie videos that I could watch all day.
So, they’re the main things that I’ve done to help me slow down and simplify life but there’s still so much I know I could be doing. These next ideas are things that I either don’t feel like I’ve master yet or that I plan to introduce to my life this year but I thought I’d share them with you anyway…
- Shopping online will save you time and energy, as well as help to keep you super-organised.
- De-clutter your handbag – do you really need to carry around everything that you need. We went to London in December and fit everything I needed for the day into a small crossbody bag which felt a bit weird as I felt like I’d forgotten something because I usually carry around so much.
- Print out a few motivational quotes and pop them on your wall. I have three in my hall that I love and always make me smile when I read them on a morning.
- Be mindful of your surroundings and what’s going on in the world around you – it’s all too easy to focus on what you’re doing next or what you’re planning for later that day but you’ll miss what’s going on there and then which is a huge shame
- Decluttering is something that feels like it deserves more than just a bullet point because it’s one of those things that’s so much harder than it sounds. De-cluttering my garage took me forever but was totally worth it as we now have an extra space that we have set up as a mini-gym. It was so hard trying to decide what I wanted to keep and what I was happy to get rid of but ultimately, I’m a hoarder and I know that I had way too much stuff in there. I have the Kon Mari Magic of Tidying book which really made me look at things differently although I haven’t yet had the chance to implement the majority of it and I don’t know honestly if I ever will. This year my goal is to serious declutter the house!
- Look at your wardrobe and get rid of anything you know you don’t like or don’t feel good in. Put super seasonal stuff like bikinis, Christmas jumpers and other things that you don’t wear year round away in vacuum sealed bags when you know you won’t be wearing them for a while. That will make your clothing choices so much simpler in the morning.
- Be kind to yourself and don’t feel like you have to do everything.
- Find a way to follow your dreams – for me, I always wanted to spend as much time with my family as I could doing as many new things and visiting new places as we possibly could. Knowing this, we made a conscious decision when we bought our current house not to buy as big a house as we could have done. We bought a house that gave us enough space for what we needed but not the one we were going to buy at one point that had the extra bedroom and the utility room and separate dining room. I know everyone says to buy the biggest house you can afford but we wanted the money each month to be able to travel and to do things with the kids. We’ve had some amazing holidays and trips that we wouldn’t have been able to afford with a larger mortgage to consider. (My house isn’t tiny by the way, it’s just not as big as the one we were considering.
- Spend time with people you love – don’t feel you have to spend time with negative people.
- Enjoy your mealtimes, spend them together and make the most of every minute you have your family around the table. Be relaxed about what time you have them and don’t be in a rush to finish so you can get on to the next thing in your day.
- Learn to live a more frugal lifestyle and you’ll automatically be simplifying part of your life – spend less, want less and buy less.
- Don’t stop buying everything though, my favourite method for reducing spending is to spend intentionally which I wrote about last year.
- Streamline everything you can – your paperwork system, your meal planning process, your laundry (I wash once a week usually) and anything else you do at home.
- Learn to manage your time better in general.
- Try to limit how much TV, internet and electronics time in general that you have.
- Get outdoors as often as you can and enjoy your surroundings more.
- Don’t let FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) make you feel that you need to go to every event that you’re invited to.
- If something is making you feel pressured or stressed then consider why. Ask yourself if you can cut it out of your life or change the way you do things so it doesn’t cause you stress.
And because I get the irony of writing a super long list post about how to simplify your life, I thought you might like this one if you want something a bit different. Becky’s minimalism for beginners post is the perfect guide to how to start living a more minimal life.
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