Inside: If these 8 signs apply to you, it may be time to simplify your life.
Are you stressed out and tired all the time? Does your life feel like a runaway freight train that never stops long enough for you to catch a breath? Is the idea of giving up tempting you even in areas of your life you consider non-negotiable?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s probably time to simplify your life.
Sadly, these feelings have become the rule rather than the exception in our culture regardless of age, gender, or social status. The pursuit of the “American Dream” has proven a hopeless endeavor for many, even for those who seem to have acquired it.
Even if we do acquire such a dream, we still reach for higher rungs on taller ladders to take out bigger loans on larger houses. Then, we pack those houses to the brink.
We live in a society that drives us to do and gain more as efficiently as possible so we can, yep, have time to do more. This results in a more chaotic life.
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Here are 8 signs that it might be time for you to simplify your life and reduce the chaos.
You wish your family was closer-knit
In this never-ending technology age, kids and parents alike spend a ton of time in front of a screen. Face to face conversations seemed to have vanished from the family dynamic.
Family dinner time around the kitchen table would be the perfect time to get to know each other better. You can start a “no phone” policy while eating dinner. Involve your children in vacation planning for your next road trip and DIY projects around the house to foster a closer-knit family.
Kids love playing games and making crafts. They would be thrilled if their parents played a round or two of their favorite board game or fun craft activity. Some of our favorite family board games are Sorry, Clue and Jenga.
Relationships require hard work and communication to become thriving close-knit families.
You wish you had more money at the end of the month
If you don’t know where your money is going, there will almost always be more month than you have money. Out-of-control spending causes lots of stress in families.
My husband and I use Mint.com to monitor our budget. We have a rule. We don’t buy anything above a pre-set limit without thinking about it for 30 days.
Is the item a need or a want? We contemplate our mindset before we purchase more expensive items.
Another way you can add more money to the end of your month is by choosing DIY as much as you can. It can be anything from home decor to making a repair to DIY simple furniture. This can save you TONS of money.
I once fixed our stove with a $15 part that would have cost us over $100 to have a repairman fix himself. Google can help you with anything! It was worth the thirty minutes of my time to save my family over $85.
Small $2 and $3 purchases can also add up over the course of a month. My husband calls the fancy drinks at Starbucks the “cost-a-lattes” because they ARE really expensive. Buying one a week over a month has set you back about $15.
That $15 could buy needed groceries or part of a larger purchase, so the most important step for having more money at the end of the month is getting that budget started.
You feel overwhelmed by household responsibilities
No matter if you live in an apartment or a house, taking care of your living space can be overwhelming. A clean home is key to reducing stress and chaos. Who wants to be surrounded by clutter when you’re eating dinner, getting ready for guests, or trying to relax after a long day?
Who wants to be surrounded by clutter when you’re eating dinner, getting ready for guests, or trying to relax after a long day?
If you have children in your home, everyone can pitch in and help with household responsibilities. A child as young as a toddler can help put away their toys or put clothes in drawers.
Dividing chores among EVERYONE in the house (yes husbands, you too!) can help the simplification process and gets the cleaning done a whole lot faster.
One rule we use is “Put it back”. Once something is taken from its original home, put it back once you’re done using it. It’s so much faster to clean as you go rather than waiting for everything to pile up.
We set reminders on our phones to alert us when it’s time to take out the trash or add bleach to our septic tank. Consistency should be the rule rather than the exception.
You waste time searching for things and feel disorganized
Don’t you hate it when you put something somewhere, but you can’t remember exactly where you put it? Time is money, and we waste it by having to search for things because we’re disorganized.
One of the best ways to get rid of the clutter is to go room by room and take inventory of everything in it. Then you need to make piles in the room labeled “KEEP, SELL, and DONATE”. You must sift through E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Be honest with yourself about the stuff you choose to keep.
Why do you feel the need to keep it? Does it bring you joy? Will it help you simplify your life even more if you were to get rid of it?
RELATED POST: Here are some great tools to get you organized.
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Urgent things take precedence over important things
We all have urgent things to do, but will the world stop spinning on its axis if we don’t do them right now? Probably not.
If your child asks you to play with them, checking your email can wait. The dirty dishes in the sink can wait another 30 minutes too. It’s ok if you get interrupted while working on one of your projects.
Time is so short, and we should be spending it on the things that matter most to us.
Manage your time and think ahead to those urgent to-do items and plan accordingly, which will, in turn, give those important items much more time and value.
Slowing down to prioritize your to-do list will not only help you think more clearly about what needs to be done now but will also make you much more productive.
These are my favorite notebooks and felt-tip pens to use for list-making. I take them with me everywhere and keep track of my to-do list.
If you have trouble balancing your time, try keeping a time diary and write down how you spend each minute throughout the day.
Are there segments of time that you could reduce or take out completely? Is getting on social media becoming a time suck throughout your day without you even realizing it?
When it comes to tackling our list, we “divide and conquer” because it helps everyone involved. The urgent action items get done faster, and there’s time left over for our other interests.
You don’t have enough time in the day to pursue your own interests and passions
Each and every one of us has interests and passions we would love to pursue. Time to pursue those interests will make itself available when you simplify your life.
Taking time for yourself and your passions help recharge your creativity and improve your focus. This goes back to time management. Learn to say “no” to some things in order to have more time for yourself.
Find the tasks that are your least favorite and find ways to reduce the time you spend doing them.
If cooking is not on your “favorites” list, find simple recipes you can cook that will not only help you stay healthy but will also help improve the budget.
You don’t have time to hang out with friends or go on a date
We all need to spend time building relationships with the important people in our lives. When we go through the motions day in and day out without adding value to each other’s lives, we run the risk of becoming disagreeable with each other and getting into arguments over trivial matters.
It all becomes a very cyclical pattern if something doesn’t change.
There are only 24 hours in a day, and we all have to fill them with so many things. Relationship building should be on that list.
We are naturally social creatures and have the innate desire to talk with others. Time must be planned in order to foster these relationships, whether with a friend, a spouse, or even your children. It’s amazing how a short walk around the block, small-talk over a quick drink or while cooking dinner can do wonders for a relationship.
You don’t feel healthy
Without being healthy, all the other aspects of simplifying your life won’t matter because you won’t be able to enjoy the extra time you’ve created.
Healthy doesn’t have to be working out at the gym 5 days a week or eating only vegetables for all your meals. There are plenty of healthy recipes and easy at home workouts you can find online.
Maybe getting up a little earlier to make a healthy, quick breakfast will be what it takes to kickstart your day of eating healthier.
Meal planning helps with sticking to a healthier lifestyle. You plan all your meals when you aren’t hungry so there is no temptation to grab random unhealthy items while at the store.
How many times have you gone into the store to “grab just a few things”, and you’ve come out with more than planned and not all of it was the best for you?
Meal planning does take time, but from my experience, it takes less time than wandering aimlessly throughout the grocery store trying to figure out “what’s for dinner?”
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Find what works for you when it comes to working out. Maybe small 15 minute chunks throughout your day are the only time you have to do some easy exercises or get in a walk. Plyometric exercises, where you use your body weight, are the easiest to implement anywhere. No extra equipment necessary.
You also need to remember that you don’t have to be picture perfect, but staying healthy will simplify your life even more.
If you can relate to any of these signs, not all hope is lost.
The very first step in order to simplify your life is changing your mindset. You must become aware of your need to change something in your life in order to know where to start.
If you’ve read to the end of this post, you’ve actually already started. Now you must become mindful of how you spend your days and keep a list of areas you feel could use some adjusting and start from there with small changes.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!
To truly simplify your life, you must enjoy the journey and not focus on the destination.
How does your family deal with the stresses of life and keep things simple? I’d love to hear your thoughts below in the comments.
Thanks for stopping by!
Want help simplifying?
This checklist will help you get started with taking small steps towards creating a simple life for yourself and family.
I love this so much, thank you for this post!
Callie, thanks for the kind words.