It’s October 4, and for the rest of this month, I’m going to posting on how to simplify your life!
Have you been feeling overwhelmed lately? For those of you with school aged children, school’s been in session for about a month now. You’ve had time to settle into that routine, getting used to the activities, the homework, the housework. How’s that working for you?
Or maybe you’ve just started a new job (or quit one!). Maybe you’ve got toddlers underfoot, as well as a baby or two. Do you feel like you’re always working and never getting anywhere?
But first, let’s figure out what simplify means.
I don’t think it necessarily means having tons of time on your hands so you don’t feel busy anymore. Many of us like being busy. Being busy is not actually the enemy.
Have you ever come to the end of a busy day, and you’ve collapsed into bed, but instead of feeling exhausted you feel exhilirated? You can hardly sleep because you’re excited about what you got done. You’re enthused about the future. You have energy, even though your day was jam-packed.
Photo by Lifecreation
You see, it’s not the busy-ness that is necessarily the problem. It’s what your busy about.
Simplifying your life can be put in a nutshell this way:
Figure out what your purpose and calling are, and then do everything you can to live that out.
It’s that simple. Figure out what your purpose and calling are, and live it out. Many of us feel like we have a certain calling, but it’s on the back burner because too many other things steal our time and energy. Let’s stop it. Let’s get back to basics, to what’s really simple: put first things first. And how do we do this?
This month we’ll focus on three main strategies:
1. Define Your Calling
Here’s our big picture challenge: figure out what God has for you. Figure out what you were put on the earth for. What are your priorities right now? What brings you joy? What makes you feel most alive? Let’s live that out!
Photo by Lockette
One reason we may not be able to live out our priorities and purpose is because the rest of our lives suck out so much energy because we’re not organized. We’re letting our lives control us, rather than controlling our lives. If you need better ways to sort the laundry, menu plan, figure out your banking, get the kids to do chores, or get the homework done, we’ll find new systems to help!
But let me issue a warning here: I don’t believe that there is a perfect system for organizing chores, housework, homework, or finances. We all work in different ways. At different times in my life I have kept track of the kids’ chores in one way; six months later I’ll switch because it doesn’t work for me anymore, or I wasn’t consistent.
Sometimes the organizational methods we use themselves contribute to the chaos. They add so much work to our days just to keep organized, that it would be better if we didn’t use them at all! Or they contribute to the guilt you have because you feel as if you should be using them, but you don’t.
So systems can be an aid, but they don’t, in and of themselves, make your life simpler. The key is to figure out what you do want to be doing, and then find a method to do that as quickly and efficiently as possible. That may mean you use a new organizational method every two months, because you like new things, or it may mean you find one thing and stick to it for twenty years. It doesn’t matter. Whatever makes you feel the least stressed, and the most together!
So this month I’ll be pointing you to a lot of “systems” and ideas for organizing your time and your life, and I’ll be asking for your suggestions, too. But none of them is a magic bullet. It depends on what fits with your life, and if something doesn’t fit, it’s okay to say no!
3. Pare Down
When we think “simplify your life”, most of us picture a 1-800-Got Junk truck hauling away all the useless stuff that clutters up our lives. And certainly part of simplifying is getting rid of the excess–the stuff that multiplies, that needs to be organized, cleaned, and shelved, that robs you of space and emotional energy.
We need to pare down our wardrobe, our kids’ toys, our schedules, our stuff.
But that’s not all we have to pare down. This month, I’ll also be challenging you to pare down on the big things. Maybe you need to pare down your expenses, your vehicles, your home. Too many of us are living so much on credit that money has become a huge stumbling block in our lives. You may need to get a hold of your expenses in order to get control back of your priorities! Or perhaps you’re in the opposite camp: you don’t need to pare down expenses as much as you need to pare down the hours you spend working. Maybe you’re run ragged because you just don’t have enough time with your family. And finally, maybe you need to pare down the people that you see!
After all, one of the biggest consumers of emotional energy is toxic people; when we are around those who are toxic, we fret, we worry, we feel guilty, we feel bitter. Part of simplifying your life maybe deciding that certain people won’t have emotional leverage over you anymore.
This month, then, we’ll be tackling these three strategies: defining our priorities and purpose; organizing our lives; and paring down. Each weekday we’ll focus on something different, and I’ll have contests running throughout this month to see who has achieved various challenges! One of them will start tomorrow: do you have a closet or a cupboard you’re afraid to go into? I’ll challenge you to organize that!
For now, though, can you help me spread the word? Sign below that you’re going to participate in “Simplify Your Life” month, and then write a post on your own blog that links back here and tell me why you need to simplify! One of the linkers will win a copy of my audio download, “To Love, Honor and Vacuum”!
Don’t have a blog? That’s okay! Hit the “Share” button for Facebook below (not the Like button, they’re different, though you can always hit both ), and then write a Facebook post asking others to join you. Then tell me in the comments you posted on Facebook! I’ll draw for the audio download on Wednesday!
Thanks for helping me spread the word. Let’s simplify together!