As school resumes, and my schedule is at risk of being greatly overwhelmed, I’m reminded of the thing that I think a lot of us struggle with these days –- Keeping It Simple, Sweeties.
With our cell phones constantly beckoning, and email literally at our fingertips, I’m sure I’m not the only one to find it ironic that technology, in its attempt to make things easier for us, actually contributes to the frenzy of daily life. We’re all busy. Too busy perhaps. It seems that life is a juggling act, balancing work and family, extracurricular activities and exercise, eating well and volunteering. How do we keep it up without it all crashing down!?
Through trial and error over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to streamlining my life. While it takes a little discipline, and I am not always good at it, it definitely helps.
1. Make a list. First thing in the morning — or better yet, the night before — make a list of everything that you want and need to accomplish that day. It only takes five minutes, and it saves oodles of time later as it gives some structure to the day. After you write the list, highlight the top two things that absolutely must get done. Then star a few other items that you would like to get done. Then be easy on yourself. If you are like me, it’s probably impossible to get everything on your list checked off! So congratulate yourself if you complete at least the two “musts” and one or two of the stars. After all, there is always tomorrow!
2. Consolidate. How tempting it is to check every email/text as it comes in! Give yourself a break. If possible, allot two to three times in the day to respond to phone calls, email, and texts. This way, nothing slips through the cracks, and you will probably end up feeling less scattered. Who knows, maybe these email and phone times will end up feeling like a break in your day!
3. Prioritize. While the first two tips will help you prioritize your day, remember to step back and prioritize your life! Figure out what is important to you – really important to you – and see if your daily life matches up. If spending time with your children is more important than baking four cakes for the charity bake sale, then feel free to say no this year to the sale – or better yet, get your children involved with the cooking! If having some alone time is more important than making it to every social function you are invited, be sure to honor yourself in that way. When you know what is important to you, saying “No” to anything that diverts you will be much easier. You – and your family – will be happier for it.
The key is to find a balance. Not an easy goal, as I know from experience! I do believe though, that in order to simplify, it’s necessary to maintain perspective. When we are caught up in the day-to-day, we could end up missing out on life. Keeping it simple helps us to slow down and savor our blessings. So give yourself a break. Turn the cell phone off if you have to, forego the juggling, and enjoy your life.