If you simplify your life, you will gain immediate benefits. It decreases stress by taking worry out of the equation. It also frees up time to work on your business and spend with your family. Once you learn to let go of stuff, you start to recognize the things that have true value to you. Relationships thrive more readily and often you find yourself struggling a lot less financially.
How you spend your time, energy and money should be determined by what is most important in your life. Let go of the rest of the stuff, both physical and mental, and enjoy a life that is intentional. Use the extra time to start or expand your business.
Plan to Simplify
1. Use a planner.
Different people like to work in different ways, the key thing is that you are choosing up to 3 goal related tasks to focus on each day and setting aside time to do them. You planner should organize both your calendar and tasks. A planner should simplify your life, not complicate. Stear clear of planners that require a lot of work to maintain. Not sure what planner is best for you? Check out my planner recommendations here.
2. Manage your task list.
One of the biggest challenges in our lives today is an overload of information. Your brain is trying to keep track of more and more stuff with each day. Simplify things and dump your task list. Maintain your master task list either on paper or electronically (just not in your brain). Use this list to make your daily plan so that you are intentional with your resources. This frees your brain up from having to remember all of those things that you want to do in the future. Once it’s on the master task list, your brain can forget it because it knows it will be handled at the appropriate time.
I prefer an electronic task list. Asana is a FREE project management system that many businesses use. I use it not only for my business, but also to keep my entire life, family & business master task lists running smoothly.
If you prefer a paper task list. My Categorized Task List Sheet can be used to maintain your master task list on.
Want more help in the area, take the “Take Back Your Time” email challenge for lots of tips, tricks, and printables.
3. Start your week right.
The weekend is a great time for some self-care. Make sure to set aside some time that is just for you so you can regroup and regenerate. You’ll start the week with a lot more energy and focus.
Use time on Sunday evening to make sure your week runs smoothly. Review your calendar and transfer appointments to your planner pages and to the household command center. Plan your meals and order your groceries.
Outsource to Simplify
The number of areas you can outsource or delegate in order to simplify may surprise you. Can you make your husband or children responsible for the general pick-up that needs to be done every day? Are there time-consuming things in your regular schedule that you don’t like to do? Hire someone to do them for you. I realize this will probably cost some money but remember if we’re doing the jobs ourselves we’re trading time and energy for them, so it may be worth it. Get the outsourcing workbook from our sister site “A Life Of Balance” for lots of ideas.
4. Hire someone to do the cleaning.
Having someone come in for 2 hours per week to clean the house really isn’t that expensive, especially when you consider the things you could be getting done in your business during that time. I work from home so for a long time, I thought I had to find something outside of the home/office to do while the cleaning service was there. I learned that the best thing I could do during that time was go in my office, close my door, and work on a project that needed some concentrated effort. When the rest of the house is clean, my cleaning lady knocks on my office door and while I take a quick break she cleans my office and then is gone. I accomplish more during this two hour stretch than any other time of the week, especially now that I plan for it.
5. Use a meal box service.
Recipes boxes have become very popular over the last few years and are a great way to simplify meals. If you haven’t heard of them, these work by sending you a box of ingredients plus a recipe. You can usually choose how many people you want to feed and for how many meals. I personally have used Home Chef. Home Bistro and HelloFresh are others that have good reputations.
If you eat out or order delivery regularly, these services will not only save you time but also probably reduce your food bill. If you regularly make your own meals at home, these services are on the expensive side although they’ll still save you money.
6. Get help with business admin or tasks that can be outsourced.
There are virtual assistants (VAs) that can be hired for just about any task you want. In addition, there are services such as Upwork, Task Rabit and Fiverr where you can hire out individual tasks. To get the most value, make sure that you are turning the tasks over completely and not giving away strategic business tasks that you really need to think through. If your company is more than a one-man-shop, you can also hire a online business manager (OBM) to take care of running all of the administrative tasks in the business including employee/VA supervision.
Organize to Simplify
7. Plan your meals.
Take time at least once a week to plan out your menu and create a comprehensive shopping list. I do this on Sunday evening as I’m planning out my week. A Life of Balance has a Meal Planning System that gives you one place to keep all the resources you need to make this task very efficient. There are also lots of meal planning services available online like eMeals.
8. Order groceries online.
Today this is very easy to do. Many local markets and some chains have grocery delivery services for free or a very small fee. Walmart has a nationwide grocery pick-up program where you place your order online and then pick it up the next day in a specified hour that you set. You pull up to the pick-up area, call the number, and they bring the groceries you ordered out and load them in your car. This is a great time to catch up on social media or email. If you’re in a major metropolitan area, Fresh Direct may be an option for delivery to your home or office.
We really need to be mindful of what kinds of possessions we invest our energy in. If we don’t pay attention to what we’re doing, useless stuff will start to accumulate. Simply start going through all the belongings you’ve collected over the years. You can dedicate a whole weekend or week to the process, or you can tackle one room or pile of stuff at a time. Make a set of three boxes, tubs or bins to use for sorting. Use the printable below to label them Keep, Trash, and Sell or Donate. Now all you have to do is sort things into the appropriate bin. If this is traumatic for you, also create a bin labeled Maybe.
Once you are finished sorting for the day, put the items in the Keep box where they belong. If you aren’t finished in this area and this is where they belong, leave them in the box until you are finished. Take the Trash out immediately and put the Donate box in the car so you can drop it off the next time your out. If you’re going to be holding on to these items, seal the box to reduce the temptation to grab something back out of it.
Automate to Simplify
10. Set up simple routines
Anyone who knows me knows that I like routines and systems. But, I don’t use them just because I like them. I use them because they make my life simpler and give me more time for the things that I want to do. Schedules and routines get a bad rap. It is amazing to me the areas of our life where a simple routine can help. This is even true when it pertains to families. A good routine or schedule actually brings freedom and creativity to your days. Routines help you prioritize what is important. Things that don’t require much thinking can be done on autopilot with a good routine.
What goes into your routines is up to you, here are some suggestions. For your morning routine consider things like exercise, meditation, reading (non-business books), and reviewing your plan for the day. For the evening routine consider picking up the house, making a plan for tomorrow, laying out clothes and supplies needed for tomorrow, or writing in a Journal. Check out this post Why You Need Routines and Schedules for more information on routines.
There are other areas of your life you can automate too. Set up a monthly subscription service with someone like Amazon to get your regular household necessities delivered each month without having to remember to order them. Have prescriptions set to auto-refill each month so all you have to do is pick them up. Or, go one step further and order them from an online pharmacy service that will automatically send them to you on a regular schedule. Pay attention to the things you do throughout your day, week, and month to watch for things that you can set up to just “happen” without any work on your part.
12. Direct debit all bills
Going paperless not only saves those lovely trees, but also means you aren’t wasting time filing statements every month. Direct debiting also means that your bills will always be paid on time and you won’t be charged any late fees. Check into both auto pay through your vendors and direct debit through your bank to see which is cheaper. You should be able to find a no fees option.
Eliminate to Simplify
13. Learn to say NO
No. It really is a full sentenance and contrary to popular belief, it is not a four-letter word. Whether we’re asked to volunteer at our kid’s school, take on more clients at work, or do a favor for a friend, many of us say yes more often than we should. Acknowledging to ourselves that we can’t do everything isn’t easy. However, you’ll find that the first NO you voice will be liberating. Grant yourself permission to say NO. It’s perfectly okay to turn down an event and stay home to read a book or watch the sunset. You don’t need to justify your NO, it’s none of their business. If you have trouble saying no, read this blog post on A Life of Balance for help: Say Yes to Saying NO
14. simplify your relationships
Be very mindful of who you spend your time with and for what reasons. You need to take responsibility over your relationships. No one can make you do anything but yourself. Simply put, you want to stop spending time and energy on worthless relationships. You want to recognize them and cut down their importance in your life.
Once you start noticing exactly what you are getting from each relationship, you’re likely to cut out meaningless or toxic relations and strengthen supportive ones. At the same time, you free up time and energy for more valuable matters and decrease emotional distress.
15. Reduce time spent on social media.
Decide in advance when you can get on and how much time you can spend. Then, time your social media sessions. Social media is a great way to stay caught up with family and friends. It is also good for promoting our business and engaging with our customers. However, it is very easy to get lost in social media and just scroll aimlessly. Set a timer and when it rings, get off social media and return to productive activities.
All simplifying boils down to is being mindful of what we spend our resources on. Simply by becoming aware of the details of our lifestyles we can begin the changes we need to make to create a life of happiness and contentment.
Which of these recommendations will you try out? Let me know in the comments below or email me at Janet@JLCsolutions.co.