Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Joy of Simplicity

simplicity(Today’s post is for the letter S in the A-Z challenge.)

In 7 Steps to KISS the Spring (Reclaim balance when your life is crazy) by, Victoria A Davis, Cool Cat Teacher, gives great steps to keeping life simple. Check out her whole post to get the full benefit of her ideas. She is one of my favorite bloggers that I follow (not creepy stalking kind of follow but fan-girly hero worship type of follow because she has such valuable ideas and information to share). She asked her sister for some advice on not being overwhelmed and her advice was to

"Keep it Simple, Sister."

I thought this was great advice that I need to keep reminding myself to do.

Sometimes I bog myself down with all the details. I make lists, lots of lists! I have lists that list the lists. I spend lots of time reviewing and checking off items from my list. Then I stress out about what I may have forgotten to list. If I add things to my list, I have to go to the original spreadsheet on my computer to edit the master list so I will have it next time. I spend all day agonizing over the lists and wonder why in the world I even want to go anywhere!

Suddenly I realized that I was getting too wrapped up in the lists! This week we decided to go tent camping at our local state park. Of course I had my list and I decided to pack the car on Sunday but only spending an hour doing that. After that, I stopped and made myself do something that I enjoyed doing. That afternoon, I reviewed the list again and gave myself an hour to do what else needed to be done. That time in between gave my brain time to rest and keep me from stressing out. I was able to pack calmly and actually enjoy the thought of going camping.

My husband is so much more laid back about traveling than I am. He has no lists and waits for the last minute to pack his suitcase. His theory is that if he forgot anything, he could go buy it as long as we have our money and/or a credit card. He keeps things very simple and seems to enjoy himself a lot more.

On a daily basis, I have decided not to bog down on too many stressful things. As Vicki suggested, I am keeping a list of must-do items on my calendar. Each day I have assigned specific chores to do in the house. After I accomplish that one thing, I am done with my chores. Over a 2 week period, I have my whole house clean and start the routine over. Since there is just the two of us living here, we really don’t have a dirty house. It is more cluttered than dirty. This gives me more time in the day to do the things I enjoy without feeling any guilt. It really is working out well.

So, if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, try to spread out the things that overwhelm you. Do you really have to get everything done right now? Can you do the routine things on specific days instead of all at once? List the things that you have to do (immediate one time things along with routine things). Have a calendar at hand and see if you can schedule these to be done over time rather than right now. Sometimes if you have a visual of when things need to be done, it can help you see that things are not as bad as you thought.

Once you get your life simplified, you can share this strategy with students. Many students are pushed into seeing the urgency of everything. Sometimes they get overwhelmed that they feel paralyzed (even I have felt that way before). Wouldn’t it be great if they learned to simplify their lives too at an early age?

What do you do to simplify your life? Please share?

Image: '8/52 - Simplicity'

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