New Year’s Resolution: Simplify Your Life
“I’m really busy,” seems to be the catch phrase of the day. The busier we are, the more important we feel. Then we become hooked on the fast-paced life and the status we think it brings – you think you’re busy – wait till you hear what I’m doing. But eventually, we realize that being busy doesn’t equate to success.
Just how do we take a step back and reframe this measure of success? You can start by not saying, “I’m really busy,” and start saying, “I’m really happy.” Carizon counsellors have these additional suggestions on ways to slow down and simplify your life.
- Plan your life around your values. Ask yourself: What kind of home and work life do I want? What kind of relationships do I want in my household? – and finally – How am I going to get there?
- Learn to say “no” and give up the guilt around saying it. Don’t live for what others think you should do. Take time to do things you enjoy.
- Use your kids as a thermometer. If you’re hearing “you’re going out again,” maybe it’s time to get off a few committees.
- Set priorities, and again, make sure that those priorities are what you think you should be doing rather than what others think.
- Put healthy lifestyle at the top of your priority list. Eating right, getting enough sleep and getting exercise will help you feel better and have more energy as you go about the rest of your day.
- Plan your week’s menu before preparing your grocery list. It is often trying to think of what’s in the fridge and what you’re going to make for dinner that is more stressful than actually preparing the food. Always have canned beans, tomatoes, pasta and raw veggies on hand. Consider doubling your casserole recipes on weekends and freeze one to pull out during the busier weekday.
- Enlist other family members to help with meals and chores. Children can help with age-appropriate household tasks and, in doing so, will gain skills and independence to manage life in the future, and strengthen family bonds in participating in shared activities.
- Make mealtime sacred. To help slow down the pace, ban electronic devices and phones during the dinner hour.
- Limit children’s after-school activities and don’t feel you have to keep up with the girl or boy next door. Consider one or two favourite activities outside of school and allow your children to enjoy their free, unorganized, creative time.
- Don’t feel obligated to give back to every activity your child participates in. Coaching your son’s soccer team may be your family’s contribution. You don’t also need to be teaching Sunday school and sitting on school council. Another parent can take on those roles.
Family & Social Time
- Schedule family time when you can just kick back with your family and have a relaxing night.
- Combine activities where you can. Walk with friends – this gives you three benefits – social time, fresh air and exercise.
- Simplify your social gatherings – potlucks are a great way to share the load.
- Remember, you can say “no.” Don’t plan a weekend full of events when all you want to do on Friday night is curl up with a good book.
- Set financial goals. Otherwise you can easily be swayed by impulse buying.
- Establish a realistic budget after tracking your spending pattern and anticipating your needs.
- Know your needs from your wants. Is this something I need to live, or do I just want it.
- Live within your means and avoid shopping as a source of entertainment.
- Acknowledge that you can’t accomplish 60 hours of work in 35 hours. If you don’t have time, accept your limitations and communicate when you are unable to accomplish tasks to your standards. When it’s your boss who asks, respond positively, saying this is what I can achieve in this time period, however, if this is a priority, then I won’t be able to accomplish these other two things.
- Prioritize and make lists. Simply creating a list makes things seem more manageable than having it all swirling around inside your head, and saves time and energy on rethinking.
- Block off time for major projects. Often the little interruptions in your day prevent you from getting the big jobs done. By shutting your door and accomplishing your tasks, you can keep those little interruptions at bay.
- Have a clear structure for meetings with a purposeful agenda and time line.
- Delegate, where possible.
- Don’t handle paper more than once. Think “Do, File, Dump.”
- Take time to say hello to people, smile and ask about them. Don’t get so overwhelmed with work that you don’t make time for the social pleasures of work. Celebrate together – it will ease the stress and make work life more enjoyable.