Simplify Your Schedule – Create space in your life

With everyone preaching hustle hard and do more, I feel like I have to constantly remind myself that more isn’t always better. Do you have trouble keeping a simplified schedule too? Here’s how to simplify your schedule to make life happier and more relaxed.

The first thing we need to do is define what a simplified schedule is. A simplified schedule has two main traits: it takes your priorities into account and leaves space for you to breathe.

In order to simplify your schedule, you first have to identify what your priorities are. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard people say: “family comes first.” But, they’re working 60+ hours a week and going golfing every Saturday. How is that putting “family first”? Is their family really their priority?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that they shouldn’t be allocating their time that way. That’s a choice that they have to make. What I’m saying is that we need to evaluate what our priorities are in order to allocate our schedule time.

As you probably know, I love planners. Finding a new and better planner (see our Planner Recommendations for my go-to planners) to fix my problems was always my answer when my schedule got full. However, the problem was never the planner I was using. The problem was that I was overcommitted and couldn’t manage it all.

Having a planning system that freed up brain space was important. We often forget just how much our overcrowded mental space contributes to our daily overwhelm. But a planning system can only solve so much of the problem. We also need to declutter our life.

Just like in decluttering your spaces, you need to take time and eliminate things in your life that aren’t giving you value. Remember, it’s not about doing ALL the things, it’s about doing what matters most.

We need to look at the roles that we have in our life. Things like family (mother, wife, daughter), employee, business owner, PTO president, soccer coach, anything that takes time on our schedule regularly. Then we need to decide if we want to be dedicating time to these roles. You need to declare what matters most and honor those priorities as you plan your days. And, eliminate the roles that don’t fit with your priorities, or not continue them when the next year comes around.

We also need to realize that the appointments on our calendar are not the only things making us feel overwhelmed. Emily Ley said this perfectly in her book A Simplified Life.

“Be aware that it’s not just straightforward, obvious commitments that clutter our schedules. We often forget just how much our overcrowded mental space contributes to our daily overwhelm. It’s imperative to remember that the commitments on our calendar are one way we spend our time, but the distractions in our heads also draw from that limited well. While we’re spending time with our children, if we are mentally distracted by work, we’re actually giving our hearts to work – not to the little ones in front of u. Instead, when we focus entirely on our work during work time, we’re much better able to be 100 percent present with our families.”

The commitments on our calendar are one way we spend our time, but the distractions in our heads also draw from that limited well. A Simplified Life - Emily Ley - quote graphic

It is not always easy to commit our time to one thing completely. Learning how to focus is a big part of simplifying our schedule. We all have competing priorities that we need to balance. The trick is in making sure that we are completely present in the role we are playing at any given moment.

We also need to redefine success. Success is just about the prestigious title and amount of money in the bank account. Our definition of success needs to include all the important parts of our life. Many times, this means letting go of perfection in one or more areas of our life. I am reminded of a saying “good enough and published is 1000 times more valuable than perfect and not quite ready yet.” What is good enough? Only you can define that for yourself but you need to realize that nothing needs to be perfect.

I encourage you to take inventory of your commitments and reduce or eliminate those that don’t fit with your current season of life. Take action today to simplify your life.

  1. IMPLEMENT AN ORGANIZATION SYSTEM: Choose whatever system works best for you; paper planner, digital calendar, huge dry-erase board, or phone app,
  2. COMMIT TO USING THIS SYSTEM DAILY: This is the big one. You have to use the system you choose for it to simplify your life, no exceptions.
  3. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid): Don’t over complicate and over organize. The more complicated a system is, the less likely you are to use it. Find the simplest option that works for you.

What things have you eliminated or reduced from your schedule? Let me know in the comments below or email me at janet@alifeofbalance.com.

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