Do you feel like you’re running around so fast that you can barely catch yourself coming and going?
Are you desperately wanting to simplify, but don’t know where to start?
I get it. We’re so surrounded by busyness that it has become the norm. It seems like we’re “supposed” to be busy. But here the thing – we’re really not. We are not made to be totally exhausted and stressed out all the time. It’s ok to add some simplicity to your life!
I realized this the most at the beginning of 2016 as I was facing a lot of grief – and was suddenly aware that the clutter and busyness was taking away from my focus and priorities.
Simpler living started sounding even more appealing – I wanted to be able to easily rearrange things to spend time with family. A simple routine so I didn’t have to worry so much about things getting done. And less “stuff” that was distracting me.
If you’re ready to make some lasting change in your life, to simplify and feel better mentally and physically, then I’m here to help. Here’s how to simplify your busy life in 8 simple steps.
I believe the best pace to start in simplifying our lives is to clear out the physical clutter. By eliminating unnecessary things, you’re also getting rid of distractions and stress.
Decluttering isn’t easy, but the feelings of peace and freedom that come from clearing out the excess make it so worth it.
Next we need to get our priorities straight. By knowing our priorities, we can much more easily make decisions for what fits into our lives in this season and what doesn’t.
There are many things I’d like to do that just doesn’t fit right now. I have a newborn at home and he is what I want to focus on. Enjoying these newborn days is a high priority for me right now so I’ll say no to other things.
I’d recommend having about 5 top priorities to focus on in a season. For the rest of things, know that a time will come in your life when you’ll probably be able to fit that in. But for now, focus on what you’re called to do NOW.
Analyze Your Calendar
The best place to start is to take a good look individually and as a family at your calendars. Is there anything that could be moved or omitted to make life simpler and more streamlined? Strategize and make a plan together so that everyone is on board.
Make a Meal Plan
I can’t even begin to tell you what a lifesaver it is when I have a stash of meals in the freezer that I can either throw in the crock pot in the morning or put in the oven when I get home.
I also use a freezer cooking trick that saves me loads of time even when I don’t have time to do a big cooking session.
Also, keep some really simple meals on hand that you can put together in just a few minutes.
Another idea is to stick to a weekly theme. You could create something like:
Friday: Eat out
Saturday: Beef or Pork Dish
Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner
Having a plan and doing some meal prep ahead of time saves me a lot of stress around meal time. If you want to hear more, I talk about my simple meal prep routine here.
I know if I don’t have a schedule in place for keeping our house clean, I can get kind of frantic when the house is a mess and I don’t know where to start. Even just a routine helps a lot.
I almost always start with dusting then vacuuming, usually after putting a load of laundry in. Then I’ll clean the kitchen and bathrooms. After that I’ll move on to anything else that needs done. But having a routine and schedule allows me to know where to begin and it eliminates some of the overwhelm.
Like with my cleaning routine, these create a sense of stability in your home. You could create a morning routine, evening and bedtime routine, meal time routine, or pretty much anything!
A routine simply creates the step-by-step process to get things done. Knowing what order to do things in allows you to get them done almost on “auto-pilot” so you can give more focus to other, more important tasks.
Make a Tentative Schedule
I’ve found that the best way to start making a schedule is to carve out time blocks. These are simply blocks of time dedicated to a certain task or category. For instance, you could have a time block on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1pm – 3pm set aside for cleaning.
I like to input these blocks into a spreadsheet so I can reference my schedule anytime I need to. Another great way is to use Google calendar. You can set up when certain blocks should repeat and do so much more with that app as well.
Keep up on Planning
Planning ahead can make life so much more simple. At the end of each day, create a to-do list for the next day and mark the items that are the highest priority. Then I always go over my list again in the morning to make a plan of action for my day.
Even though my days rarely go as planned, having that starting point makes it much easier to at least get the highest priority items accomplished.
Many of the things I’ve talked about so far are really just systems, but it’s worth repeating. Creating simple systems and routines in your life helps things become second nature for everyone. And that then helps ease some stress all around!
Some systems I like to have in place are: Meal planning and prep, planning, financial, paperwork, schedule, routines, cleaning, and digital organizing.
That may sound like a lot, but all of these aren’t created at once. Creating one at a time with help you slowly ease into a simpler life.
Simplifying when you’re busy is not an easy process! But take these steps one by one and you should end up much less stressed and more organized. From analyzing your schedule, meal planning, creating routines, and more, each activity done consistently will definitely help you simplify your busy life.