10 From GEM:
10 Easy Ways to Simplify Your Life
Too many of us have plates that are overflowing with “stuff” that not only makes life complicated, it also doesn’t make us happy and contributes to unhealthy physical and mental conditions. If you’ve been reading Good Enough Mother for even a short while, you know that we’re all about making life easy…or at least easier. Keep reading for 10 great ideas to help you get a simplified life. Hint: you’ll have to clear off your plate.
1. PRIORITIZE WHAT’S IMPORTANT
Sit down and make a list of all the things you do or all the things you are responsible for. You’ll probably have a long list. Then circle 5-7 things that are very important to you. These should be the things that you most want in your life and are willing to prioritize. Limit or eliminate everything else. This may take time as you might not be able to eliminate some things immediately, but at least you have a starting point to making real changes in your life.
Read more: ASK RENE: OVERWHELMED BY LIFE!
2. GIVE YOUR KIDS MORE RESPONSIBILITIES
Notice the use of the plural form of responsibility. With the exception of babies, every child at your house is capable of being responsible for multiple tasks. That’s the price you pay for being in a functional family. Toddlers can pick up their own toys and teenagers can wash dishes. Relieve your stress by making it a requirement that everybody contribute to the household. You may have to show your kids a few times how things get done, but let them do their jobs after that.
3. PREPARE IN ADVANCE
Whether you’re planning tomorrow’s dinner or next month’s birthday party, getting things done ahead of time is always a sanity-saver. You avoid the stress of doing things at the last minute and it’s easier to recover from any problems that pop up along the way.
4. LEARN TO SAY “NO”
There are times in our lives when it’s desirable, even appropriate, to say yes no matter how you feel. Like when your beloved grandma asks you to help her clean her house on a Saturday morning. But many times, it’s best to say no—even if it makes us, or the asker, a little uncomfortable. Our quality of life depends on it. As much as you’d love to contribute to the school bake sale, do you really have time to bake 100 cupcakes? Do you even want to? Pick a few things you really want to do and do them well. Give yourself the gift of not feeling guilty when you can’t or don’t want to take on even one more thing.
5. SIMPLIFY YOUR MEALS
When figuring out my family’s dinner became an unwelcome chore, I switched gears and created a menu for the week. My meals are simple, requiring only a few ingredients and taking anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of prep time. My husband does the grocery shopping (I’m a lucky girl!) and he says it’s easier to get in and out the store because he knows exactly what he’s going for based on my list for the week. It’s a win-win for everybody: my husband doesn’t mind shopping, the kids eat well, and I’m not stressed.
6. STREAMLINE YOUR JOB
There are probably several big tasks at your job that can be crossed off your to-do list with focused attention. If that’s the case, focus on those few things that must get done and batch the small tasks together. Whether it’s doing paperwork or sending an email, setting time aside for later to do the little things will leave you time to place emphasis on the big things. It’s better to leave small things on your desk at the end of the day than big ones. Don’t forget to delegate when you can.
7. QUESTION YOURSELF
Whenever something new pops up in your life, whether it’s a person, a product, a task, etc., ask yourself will this make my life easier? If the answer is no, you may want to rethink whether it’s something you can feasibly take on. Refer to number 4.
Read more: Are Women Too Afraid To “Lean In”?
8. SLEEP AND EXERCISE
I know, I know, it’s not easy to do with your hectic life. But if you’re not already getting a full night’s rest and some kind of exercise every day, you must add these to the lineup the best way you can. Both will simplify your life by contributing to your health and relieving stress. Both will sharpen your mind and enable you to deal with life’s inevitable complications. You will not regret rest and exercise.
Read more: Should You Get Paid To Sleep On The Job?
9. GO ON A MEDIA DIET
This will be tough for many people because we have become so dependent on TVs, cell phones, computers, social media, and the Internet that we wonder how we ever lived without it. Well, if you were born before, oh, say, 1985, you actually did function without all that stuff. If elimination isn’t possible, have time limits on when and for how long you will consume media products. A friend of mine never uses Facebook or Twitter at night because she finds it too depressing to end her day that way. Figure out ways that work for you to limit your time with media.
10. SPEND TIME WITH LOVED ONES
Why spend time with people you don’t care about or people who don’t care about you? The easiest way to simplify your life is spending time with loved ones. Whether your favorite people are family or friends, find a way to give them the precious commodity of your time. It’s worth the effort.
Is your life filled with “stuff”? What are you doing to simplify it? Share your tips below.
More From GEM:
Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is a stay at home mom and writer who loves all things chocolate. Read more about Alexis on her blog lilliebelle.org, follow her on Twitter @LillieBelle5, or email her at email@example.com.