Feel like your days are jammed packed and just always too busy? Consider for just a moment how your day would look different if you had more time:
- Your day would be would less stressful.
- Less mental chatter and more clarity.
- You will be a lot more productive and feel more satisfied
- You spend more valuable time with your loved ones.
- Some days you may have time for that yoga class you never got time for before.
- You would finally have time to meditate, if only for 5 mins
- Read a couple of pages of that unfinished book.
These days “I’m so busy” is worn as a badge of honour. There seems to be an illusion that if you are busy you are successful, being productive, or making the most of life. However this has nothing to do with being busy. Haven't you ever felt after a long busy day like you have achieved nothing? You can be busy doing a whole lot of nothing that can make you feel not only exhausted but frustrated too.
Minimalism and simplifying is only a vehicle to help remove the nonessentials, making space (and time) for more things you love. And the first step is taking notice and being aware of whether you are simply filling up your day or actually living the day.
Check out some of my practical tips that has helped me start to simplify which has already given me more time to dedicate to more things that I love and are important to me.
1. TO DO LIST, CHECK
This isn’t ground breaking but if done right it really works. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by your mental endless to do lists where you spend most of your time worrying, prioritising, procrastinating or making excuses simply write a to do list. Whether you write one daily or weekly, see what works for you as long as you are consistent.
Here are my top tricks for making an effective to do list:
- Dedicate a time to write your list. Whether it’s in the morning, before bed or once a week… I find if I’m jotting things throughout the day/week I lose focus easily and waste time on things I actually need to be done.
- Use pen to paper. I find having it somewhere written down and visible holds me a lot more accountable and easier to prioritise than writing it in my phone. Plus I don’t want my phone to distract me from the mission at task.
- Add boxes next to each task. Physically ticking something off the list once completed feels so satisfying!
- Keep your list short. You may have 1000’s things to do but don’t overwhelm yourself otherwise you’ll waste time stressing or making excuses about the things that you’re not doing on your to do list.
- Be specific in what you want to achieve. This is where I was going wrong in the past and those tasks usually was continually ignored or moved to the next day basket. This simple technique made a huge difference, as I felt accountable. For example instead of just listing “write blog” write, “finish writing blog”.
2. STOP COLLECTING STUFF
Each week, how much time do you spend in cleaning, putting away, organising, storing, maintaining, dusting, repairing, replacing your stuff? All I know is that I spent too time doing housework when I much prefer to be doing other things - anything else!
The thing is, is that I actually love collecting things... especially the treasures you find at antique/second hand stores and markets. However the only difference now is that I'm a whole lot more conscious of what I bring into my home.
No matter if something is on sale, new, pre-owned, or even free ask yourself “do I actually need it?”. The answer 97% of the time is a big fat NO. It’s simple, the less stuff you have the less stuff you need to look after (and less things on your to do list) and more time you have for doing things you actually want to do.
Start small and stop collecting stuff. If you are keen to take that step further and start decluttering check out these great tips from Becoming Minimalist. Or if you're like me and love listening to podcasts I would highly recommend Slow Your Home.
3. TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
Does this sound familiar to anyone? You go to check the time on your phone, see a social media notification on your screen, you check it out, then you start to scroll through the feed seeing if there is anything you missed or interesting, there isn’t anything but you keep scrolling just make sure until you’ve realised you are in a rush so you put your phone away – realising you still don’t know the time. Story of my not-so-old life!
I never thought I spent so much time on my phone as I don’t sit for hours at time on social media but these little episodes through the day and week all add up! Did you know there is a free app call Moment where you can track how much time you spend on your phone? Check it out you may surprise yourself. I learned that I can spend an average of up to 2 hours on my phone a day... and I never thought I had time to meditate.
Turn off phone notifications for social media, emails and anything else that is unnecessary that you have popping up that could tempt you getting up caught in cyber world. I know what you are saying… but what if it’s urgent? In reality most notifications, especially social media, we receive are not actually urgent.
4. DINNER PLANS
We’ve all heard the benefits of planning weekly meals but if you’re like me just the thought of doing this makes my skin crawl and feel completely overwhelmed that I don’t do anything! So instead of tackling on what seems to be a mammoth task, I simplified it to just dinner plans.
‘What’s for dinner’ is still something that I dislike to hear but since planning out our dinners for the week has made the process a whole lot less painful. Not only do we save time deciding what to have cook each day but also reduce the number of trips we make to the supermarket. Plus, I've also noticed that by having dinner plans makes healthy eating so much easier... and less of those last minute “I’m too tired let's order in” episodes.
Remember that if you make a plan you are not stuck to it. You can change it up but it’s a whole lot easier (and time efficient) knowing you have a plan to fall back on.
5. KNOW YOUR WARDROBE
Whether you suffer from “I have nothing to wear” syndrome or spend too much time (and even a little stressed) deciding what to wear each day, which I can definitely relate to, here a couple of ideas that’s worked for me:
- Hang all your clothes. I like to do to this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, so I can see clearly exactly what I have and secondly so I hope gravity works in my favour so I don’t have to iron them.
- Lay out or at least plan (I prefer the latter) your outfit for the next day the night before.
- Embrace those outfits you love to wear. And wear and wear again.
- Ask yourself these questions when you need to add to your wardrobe (preloved or new):
- Do I really need it?
- Do I love it or do I just love that it’s a bargain/on sale/free?
- Do I love it on me?
- Can I mix and match it with my current wardrobe pieces?
These little tricks has saved me a lot more time and unnecessary stress too. You may want to go the next step further and start decluttering your wardrobe. Make a few piles – donate, sell, up-cycle or recycle. Start with the clothes that you no longer wear. You’ll be surprised how much you can remove. If you love a challenge check out Project 333 (the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months).
6. IT'S OKAY TO SAY NO
How many times have you commitment to going somewhere or doing something when you just really wanted to say no. But why do we feel the need to commit? Perhaps we may feel guilty, ‘not supportive’ or maybe our plan was to have some downtime but we think that wouldn’t suffice as an excuse. This isn’t particularly easy but it is simple. Be true and easy on yourself and remember that it’s okay to say no.
We want to know...
What tips or tricks have worked that saved you time? Please share in the comments below.
Here at Cork Leaf we're passionate about intuitive living, minimalism and sustainability. We hope to inspire, educate and hold space for people to connect with their natural flow, their journey within, to enrich their lives....check out our other blogs to help you start living the life you really love.
Founder + Director of Cork Leaf. Introvert who loves to practice yin yoga and is chocolate obsessed. Lives life with her heart, strives to live a more sustainable life and dreams of moving to the countryside with her family.