In order to keep us students from overthinking our homework, my 10th grade math teacher would use the acronym “K.I.S.S.” for “Keep it simple, stupid.” That may have worked for geometry, but it’s a much harder concept when applied to actual life. Especially these days, right? There’s nothing simple about parenting (or even living!) in these weird times. So how can simplifying your life possibly be simple? Here are a few steps:
- Simplify your calendar. Let your “yes” mean yes and your “no” mean no. That means, stop agreeing to participate in extra things unless your heart is truly invested in them. How often do we overextend ourselves or volunteer for things we don’t want to do, just because we don’t want to offend the person who’s asking? What if instead, we said, “I’m flattered that you thought of me, but sadly that’s just not going to fit into my schedule this time.” If guilt sets in, remember that you stepping aside is allowing space and opportunity for someone who might actually want to take part! You can always follow up by saying, “I’d be happy to help next time or in (this particular area) instead.”
- Simplify grocery shopping. One good thing to come out of the pandemic is the prevalence of grocery delivery and curbside pickup. Why lug your kids through the store aisles when the groceries can come to you? Your favorite store likely has an app or website where you can keep an ongoing list of needed items, save your favorites, and schedule times that are convenient for you. Some even link up to your preferred meal plan service, such as eMeals. Won’t that simplify your life! And when it comes to said meals…
- Simplify your meal plan. “What’s for dinner?” won’t haunt you anymore if you stick to a regular meal plan. Sounds complicated? It’s not! Keep it simple by sticking to a themed meal each day of the week. Example: Mondays are soup days. (Actually prepared on Sundays so you can have second-day soup.) Then Taco Tuesdays or some variation of Mexican food, Wednesdays are sheet pan days, Thursdays use the Crock-Pot or Insta-Pot and Fridays are for pizza/Italian. What could be simpler?
- Simplify your linens. I used to have specially designated sheets for each bedroom in the household and specially colored towels for each of our bathrooms. Then I would get mad at my kids if they would take the wrong color towel or hang a blue towel in the green bathroom. But no more. Now I keep it simple—white sheets and white towels. Everyone, every room. Done. No more searching for matching pillowcases when guests come over, and a little bleach makes everything look good as new. (Speaking of laundry, did you know that if you wash all of your clothes in cold water, you rarely need to worry about separating colors from whites?)
- Simplify your home. A little decluttering goes a long way. Extra items in your home carry with them a negative energy that can actually make you physically more anxious when you look at them. Clearing out those items will immediately improve your emotional well-being. Too daunting? Start with one small drawer or corner of a room—don’t take the whole house at once. If you have a good friend who’s also trying to keep it simple, work together on a project at her house first, then tackle one of yours. And don’t forget that there are consultants and services that will help you with any of your decluttering and/or organizational needs.
- Simplify your mindset. This one might be the trickiest of all. Experts say the happiest people are those who don’t compare themselves to others and express gratitude for all they have. If we think like an overstressed, busy adult, we are going to feel like an overstressed, busy adult! So what if, just for a second, we kept it simple and thought about life from the mindset of a child? One whose only goal is to enjoy life and make it fun? How much simpler would your daily life be? Maybe this fresh mindset would allow us to enjoy some simple pleasures … or simply step back and appreciate this life for all it has to offer.
What are your tips to simplify your busy life? We’d love to read about them in the comments!