I’ve spent the last two months getting rid of things and creating systems as much as humanly possible.
I didn’t do it because minimalism is all the rage (however, I’m totally on that bandwagon and won’t lie about it).
I did it because I want freedom.
Being a slave to all the things I have to charge, recycle, water, return, dry clean, and much more is exhausting and fairly boring.
So I decided to do something about it. The weight of my daily to-do list made me mad enough mid-July (when I had to change basically everything linked to my maiden name), that I decided to spend the next two months making significant changes.
And I’m here to report that progress is being made my friends.
Yes, it took (slash is taking…) time and energy, but now I have less stuff and noise, AND systems in place to make the grind of daily life a bit more manageable, while also creating lots more time for leisure.
A lot of this behavior change stems from a question I read in The ONE Thing by Gary Keller…
“What’s the one thing I can do, such that by doing it everything else is easier or unnecessary?”
The pressure to pack our lives and homes and schedules with a bunch of stuff and activities is slowly starting to sicken me. I cannot even imagine life as a parent and the societal pressures to put them through dozens of activities a month (or week!).
So I decided to make my life simpler and easier, thus making it more enjoyable. I’ll share some nuggets of what has inspired me or happened as of late.
I THEME MY DAYS
This has helped me tremendously in my work-life. For example, Mondays are for marketing, Tuesdays are for Team/Culture, Thursdays are for meetings. Each day gets a bucket, so when a to-do creeps up, I put it in Asana and deadline it for the appropriate day. It’s not perfect, but in general this discipline is highly rewarding in terms of productivity.
MY APPS DON’T BLOW UP MY PHONE OR LAPTOP
Not only do I turn off notifications of apps, I have my phone in silent mode 90% of the day. The noise and clutter of notifications was distracting to me, so that’s done and over with. I also used to always see iMessages pop up on my laptop and respond instantly. I changed that and the apps are not viewable unless I hover over them, meaning Slack also does not run my life.
ERRANDS HAPPEN AT A SPECIFIC TIME
Instead of noticing the laundry detergent is out, I’m working on doing one Target run a month and knowing exactly what items I need that will last us through the month. Same goes for getting groceries. Sundays are typically my day for meal prep and organization so I don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat every day.
UNSUBSCRIBE + EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS
I have unsubscribed from many, many email lists and continue to do it almost every day! Unroll.me is helpful, but I am still doing it on a weekly basis for ones it didn’t catch or new ones I accidentally or purposely subscribed to. I’m also a big fan of getting rid of physical mail. If my mortgage lender needs to send me billing info, it happens in my inbox.
LESS STUFF IN GENERAL
If I haven’t touched something in 6-12 months, I likely will toss/donate it. I’m not incredibly sentimental, so this is easy for me. I do this intentionally a couple times a week and a larger purge about once a month. It seems often, but the amount of “stuff” that builds after 28 years of being a human is… a lot! Especially when you add a partner to the mix.
BANKING + AUTOMATION
Both Zach and my banking happens at the same institution and everything is set up to move itself to appropriate accounts once a month. The book Profit First radically changed how I view money organization and automating the payments helps so I never have to think about how much we’ll have in savings. I’ll know how much we’ll have 6, 12, 24 months from now. Peace. Of. Mind.
Almost all of my very important files live in my Google Drive or Evernote so if I ever need copies, I have them right there. All of the gift cards we have live in a simple pouch. All the cat stuff goes in one basket. It’s not perfect like, whatsoever, but almost everything has a “home” so when I’m looking for something I can generally find it quickly.
2-3 PERSONAL TO-DOS A DAY
I still need to call to get my car serviced, I need to apply for a credit at the Polk County Assessors office, I need a new Passport photo, yada yada. There are things that still need to happen day-to-day so I just allow myself to do only 2-3 a day. They’re typically quick errands, but knowing I can separate them by day and location helps tremendously. I use my Day Designer to help me with that!
Ok, so now you officially know how nerdy I am about productivity + efficiency and… relaxing (which is my new favorite word, just ask my husband). It simply comes from a place of desiring freedom and a simpler life.
I knew putting these constraints and systems into my life would take a lot of time initially, but it is so worth it to not have to think about these things on a regular basis or wonder where something is at or not be able to close our closet doors because of all the stuff.
We live in a busy world that emphasizes more, more, more and I really want to change the tune… to spend more time on friends’ patios and enjoy bottomless mimosas or hours on a bike trail.
How do you simplify your life?