Thursday, February 20, 2014

three ways to simplify your life (while still getting everything done)

hey everyone! this post originally ran as a guest post over on the art of balance last month, but it got such a huge response, that i thought id share it again over here in case anyone missed it (because i really, truly believe that this is some super helpful information):

hello! today I'm going to share something very near and dear to my heart (and something that I've found to be EXTREMELY helpful in our family life): tips on how to simplify your life and free up more time to relax, without sacrificing a single ounce of productivity. 

why? because I am a TOTAL stress case control freak and SO not a naturally organized person. and for years I've struggled with feeling constantly overwhelmed by everything I need to do and how it wasn't getting done. this usually ended up with me feeling paralyzed and stuck and unable to do anything (which, obviously, only made things work. since the birth of my daughter Alice (she's two now) I've worked really hard to find the right balance of taking care of business, without the constant stress of busy-ness. 

conventional wisdom would say that the key is learning to say no and cutting back on the amount of things you need to do, but let's be real here: we all have crap that needs to get done. 

so today I'd like to share a few tips that have really helped me, and I hope they can help you too:

maintain a datebook.

write down all you commitments (work, school, social events, etc) as soon as you find out about them. this will help you manage your time and simplify your schedule in two ways: 1. it will keep you from double/overbooking yourself (very important when say, you have to schedule a doctor appointment in an already busy week) and 2. helps you see exactly when you have free time so that you can make sure that you get some of it for yourself. 

notice I used the word "maintain" here and not "buy" in reference to the datebook. the reason for this is that in order for this one to work, you need to keep up with it on a weekly basis.

take control of your chores/errands.

it's REALLY easy to feel like you're drowning in all the chores and errands that there's no getting out of (you know, doing laundry, paying bills, buying groceries, etc) that feel like they take up all your free time. at least, that's how I felt for a LONG time, but there are LOTS of ways you can take control of all those little things and get your free time back. things like assigning certain chores to a specific day of the week (we buy our groceries on Wednesdays), making a weekly to-do list (I wrote about this a couple weeks ago), or grouping your errands so that they can all be done on one trip are all great ways to cut down on the the busy-ness of daily life, while still making sure everything's taken care of. 

declutter, everywhere.

this is one that I definitely need to continue working on (thats an actual photo of what my actual closet looks like right now) but it is so, so important when it comes to both relaxation AND productivity. first of all, I don't know about you, but it is impossible for me to relax when I can see all kinds of messes and unfinished projects that I need to take care of, and second, keeping things neat and organized makes it MUCH easier to get things done quickly and efficiently (I mean, think of how fast you could get dressed in the morning if you didn't have to dig through all the clothes you never wear). 

those are my top three tips to managing everything I need to do without going absolutely insane, but I want to know if YOU have anything to add. how do you find your balance of relaxation and productivity?


  1. Decluttering my life is my biggest obstacle right now - but I'm slowly chipping away!

  2. mine too! we've made a lot of progress in some areas but i feel like messes are just piling up everywhere else!

  3. decluttering feels SO good, but i totally can't do ANYTHING like that until all the "normal chores" are caught up (which with a toddler is almost never).

    the datebook thing is hard, sometimes I'm better at updating it than others. i wish we had room for a dry erase calendar in our kitchen though, I've wanted one forever!