“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.
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.
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.
- 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)
- Find standing appointments that can be removed
- 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
- 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.
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!