**Post by guest blogger Gretchen Kingsley**
The last couple of weeks we have talked about why you should simplify and ways to simplify but really, talking about it is worthless if you don’t DO anything about it.
That pile is never going to diminish by just saying you want it to go away.
Your schedule is never going to become simpler if you just complain about how busy your schedule is.
Nor, will my floundering in the kitchen become any less “flounderful” if I don’t go ahead and make some committed effort to ALWAYS have a meal plan (or at least ideas) on hand.
With my due date less than 4 weeks away, I’m on the attack these days. All of those things that I’ve put off are now hot on my heels and I’m quickly trying to check them off one by one. There are days that I become overwhelmed but the only way for me to remedy it is to get down and get dirty. Rather than wallow in my long list of to do’s, I pick one (the easier the better) and do it.
Yes, actually completing just ONE task is so fulfilling and boy, does it feel great to check it off your list. At that moment that your pencil is crossing out, scribbling over, or erasing one of the dreaded tasks, you feel invincible. Keep that feeling going and attack another item.
I wish I wasn’t such a procrastinator and could find the energy to do these things (even things I LOVE) during normal circumstances. But I do things differently. I wait until there is a major life event and then try to tackle all of those things that didn’t really seem to bother me too much before. And I get them done…at least most of them.
Unfortunately, this is all to the chagrin of Chris. He dreads life-changers. Not because of the life-changer itself but because of my ideas of what we should be doing leading up to the life-changer. Some of my ideas are completely against the idea of simplifying. Making a list of 100 MUST-DO’s is not in the spirit of simplifying. It makes my hubby stressed and it makes me stressed that he doesn’t enjoy doing these items. And I’m sure it makes my parents stressed when I then have to ask for their help as well!
Other ideas are only simplifying in theory . My idea of landscaping our backyard in such a way that I would hardly have to mow or clean up after my dog was a great simplifying idea. But actually landscaping it while I’m pregnant was definitely not in the spirit of simplicity – considering I’m the one that enjoys working outside. Let’s just say that starting a major lawn overhaul is not ideal when you are seven months pregnant nor is it advisable (by your doctor, your mother, or any level-headed person) to push wheelbarrows full of pea gravel around your yard. So my eagerness and invincibility got the best of me and I hurt myself which led to spending more money and utilizing more time. The money spent at the chiropractor was well worth it. Even my doctor recommended that I continue seeing him because of the improvement of my situation. Though little does he know that it wasn’t just normal pregnancy symptoms that caused my pain but rather my stubbornness and stupidity to not let landscaping wait until post-baby. And it now takes me twice as long to get out of the car, walk up the stairs or do many normal activities as well as having to rely on Chris for many of my daily tasks as well as finishing off this-once-grand-idea-turned-dreaded-task. Simply put…working outside is not something Chris spends hours daydreaming about.
So, in the next four…or five…or let’s be real honest, six weeks before baby arrives, I need to make (and stick to) an attack plan. Though some of these necessities that must be done before baby arrives aren’t part of what I need to simplify, the process plays out the same.
:: ATTACK PLAN ::
If you want, take the opportunity to get away, sip some coffee, and really focus on how you are going to go about the simplification process. None of us allows ourselves enough time to just be by ourselves, so this is a great excuse!
- If you need to, start by writing EVERY.LITTLE.THING down that you want to simplify. Then, prioritize. Which items are the most important?
- Keep your long list separate. A 2 page list can seem a bit daunting.
- Write down the areas that you see as most important for this time.
- Decide when you will tackle (and accomplish) each item. Make each task small so that you feel productive. Instead of simplify bedroom tomorrow break it down into smaller chunks. Each day simplify a different area in your bedroom. Simplifying your bedroom dresser in one day seems much less daunting. The next day…bedroom closet OR shoes in closet. How much stuff you have and how overwhelmed you can become in the process really determines how much you should attempt at one time.
- By yourself, with a spouse, or a friend?
- During kids nap times, early in the morning, or while they are awake (yikes!)
- Special tools: boxes or bags for items you don’t want. Binder or just a plain ol’ notebook if you are simplifying your schedule. What specific items do you need to make your simplification process happen? It’s important to have these items already on hand. If you don’t, make that priority #1.
- Do you need to revisit this area daily (clean up after meals; putting toys, books, dishes back in their appropriate spots), weekly (meal plan, cleaning, your schedule, or time commitments), monthly, or seasonally (home and yard maintenance)?
- If you are a buyer, you may want to consider the bring one thing in, take one thing out idea.
- Revisit your ATTACK PLAN on a regular basis to see what is working and change what isn’t.