A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: Simplified Schedule

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

“I realized that my problem wasn’t my lack of an amazing quick-fix planner.  I was over committed and couldn’t manage it all.” – Emily Ley, A Simplified Life

This chapter right here is what drew me to this book.  This is where I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water.  In an attempt to “maximize my days”, I’ve found that I have packed every single minute of the day with some form of productivity and it is just too much.

Our time is is our most precious resource and we get to decide how to spend it.  This was made clear to me when I worked full-time for the first year of my daughter’s life.  I never had any intention of being a stay-at-home mom.  I loved working and I loved my job.  But after her first birthday, it became clear to me that I would never get that time back.

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Simplifying our schedules begins with learning how to focus on what we’re doing and that can only be done with we’ve created margin in our life.

That is HARD.

It requires being honest with yourself (or, finding a friend or spouse who can be honest with you and to whom you can hear their assessments) and making tough decisions.  It requires stopping glorifying the over-busy life and constantly chasing the next achievement.

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

The perspective changer for me as I read these pages was this:

Don’t think of saying no as a missed opportunity, think of it as saying “Yes!” to margin.

Start by asking yourself what success looks like to you and then thinking through the changes that need to be made – and the no’s that need to be said – to get there.

  1. Don’t ditch the serious, non-negotiable responsibilities (again, this requires being honest with yourself and maybe inciting the help of someone close to you to decipher what those are)
  2. Find standing appointments that can be removed
  3. Learn how to say yes to the things that matter (that’s probably not as much as you think it is!) and no to the things that are driving you in the wrong direction
  4. Seek out breathing room in your schedule

I love her examples of the routines she’s set up in her family.  None of them work for us, but the purpose behind them is our goal.

Her reminder that simplified schedules and routines have to be wrapped in grace should be plastered on the walls of our house.  All too often, I become a slave to our “routines”.  A goal of having them actually work half the time is one I need to remember.

Ideally, breakfast is eaten and kids are dressed by 8AM.  From 8-9, the kids do their “jobs” (brush their teeth & hair, make their bed, put their shoes on and read) while I do my daily chore(s).  That gives us a framework and a goal.  And on the mornings when the kids are still in their pajamas at 8:30 and there have been a cumulative 7 time-outs between the two children, the routine gets thrown out the window and the new goal becomes love, grace and patience.  In that order.  For me and them.

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Read more on Emily Ley’s Blog about Simplifying Schedules here and here.

Simplicity Challenge

At the end of each chapter, Emily Ley has a ‘Simplicity Challenge’, which are 5 steps that you can do right now that make big strides toward achieving your goal.

Comment on each blog post with the number of simplicity challenges you completed that week.  I will track each person’s progress (this is a total honor system thing) and the person with the most challenges completed at the end of the book will get some swag.  Like good, helpful swag.   No clutter-y stuff.

Don’t forget to take photos of the process AND the progress and use #simplifiedsummer so we can all celebrate together!

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

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11 Comments
  • Nicole
    July 6, 2018

    Do your kids do activities yet? Do you have a rule or thoughts on balancing that? My oldest does one sport at a time and AWANA. I feel like that is reasonable in concept and furthers our family goals, but it basically ends up being 3 nights a week with practice and then meets/games. He does ask to do those things, but I worry it doesn’t leave enough unstructured time for him.

    • Kristin
      July 16, 2018

      We have shied away from signing our kids up for organized activities. My daughter is almost 5 and my son is almost 3, so we are just beginning to have options for them. My husband and I are both homebodies, so being gone from home often wears on us – and them. We signed our daughter up for Pre-School VBS this summer, but that was her only “commitment”.
      My children also require a lot of sleep. They sleep 7PM-7AM and nap from 1-4PM, which doesn’t allow a lot of time for scheduled activities. Even with not having them signed up for things, I feel like they have so little unstructured time as it is. And I haven’t figured out how to balance that yet.
      There will come a time when we will start to sign them up for things, but I think that we’ve learned that we will always err on the side of not committing to things because that’s what’s best for us.
      I don’t know how helpful that was…..

  • Lindsay R
    July 10, 2018

    Completed 2/5 thus far, doing a load of laundry every day (and putting it away on the same day!) and being more intentional about resting. I have mondays off so I often feel I try to pack everything into that day (cleaning, laundry, meal prep, grocery shopping, appointments, and playing with the kids). My day that I had originally thought would be a rest day quickly turned into the busiest day of the week. A couple weeks ago I came across Clean Mama on instagram and have followed her cleaning schedule for each day of the week. This has been a game changer to at least help with the “cleaning” portion of my mondays.

    • Kristin
      July 16, 2018

      Putting laundry away each day is a game changer! Way to stick with it.
      Sometimes I think that I should just make one day my cleaning day, but I think I’d get overwhelmed. I’ve found that distributing the cleaning tasks makes them not so overwhelming to me. And Clean Mama is a great resource!
      Prioritize rest and playing with those boys on Mondays! You’ll regret not doing those things, but you won’t regret a dirty bathroom (I’m very slowly learning this lesson myself!)

  • Brenda
    July 12, 2018

    I have completed all 5 challenges this week. Looking forward to getting together with all my children for a vacation next year. This year it is a family wedding. My daughter is getting married next week!

    • Kristin
      July 16, 2018

      You are rocking these challenges, Brenda! Congratulations on your daughter’s wedding. Those can be the best family get togethers!

  • Nicole
    July 21, 2018

    I may have missed this somewhere, but what do you do (or plan to do) with your physical planner? I keep all my stuff in iCal on my phone. I usually do write out dinner and tasks for the week on a paper print out very similar to her weekly layout and post it on the wall of my kitchen. I kind of like the idea of a physical planner, but a) I’m not sure where I would keep it to make it most useful and b) I’m not sure I can justify the money. Thoughts?

    • Kristin
      August 8, 2018

      I just recently switched to a paper planner. I have appointments on iCal, tasks on an app on my phone (Wunderlist) and meals on another app (pepper plate), so I decided to try a planner so that I could have those three things all in one spot.

      I still use all three of those electronic parts, but on Sunday, I transfer all of my appointments, tasks and meals for the week from my phone to my paper planner. Then I work out of the planner for the rest of the week. So, when I switch meals, I don’t change it on my phone, I just write it in on my planner. Or as tasks are added, I just write them in on the day.

      It was the best way that I could figure out how to have everything that I wanted for the day at one glance. I keep my planner on my desk in our office, which is a tiny bedroom upstairs. Sometimes, it also sits on our kitchen island so that it’s in plain view.

  • Rochelle
    July 21, 2018

    I have completed 4/5 challenges this week. About a month ago, I said “yes” to a few things that are beginning to now overwhelm me a smidge. I spent the previous series of months saying “no” to some things and started to feel guilty. It looks like, guilty or not, I need to be truly honest with myself and say “no” to some things. I’m a work in progress for sure!

    • Kristin
      August 8, 2018

      And, a few weeks later, how are you feeling about the “new” schedule?

      • Rochelle K
        August 22, 2018

        It’s interesting. I have diagnosed that my moments of overwhelm are due to purely my disorganization. I’m definitely learning how to balance more things and trying to be a mom that is engaged at home as well. I think that I may pull back on a volunteer activity or two next year though. ha! It’s all super fun though!

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