I have been asked, “What do you mean simplify your life? What does that look like?” Here are a couple of practical ways I simplified my professional and personal life that has directly impacted my family for the better. You want to see depression and anxiety lessen in you and your kids? Taking a hard look at your schedule is an absolute must.
I stopped saying yes to coffee meetings
I can’t tell you how many people ask me for coffee weekly. I’ve stopped going out for coffee for meetings, not because I am impersonal, but because I realized going for a coffee meeting was literally taking up my entire morning afternoon. If I met someone at 9:30am, even when I limited the meeting to one hour, by the time I arrived home it would be almost noon. I found it hard to get back into my routine of either work needing to be done or homeschooling my son. Next thing I knew it would be 2:00pm. I also found that what was discussed over a coffee that took 2 hours (including commute) could be discussed in a 30 minute phone call or even FaceTime.
Some may find this impersonal, but as a business owner and homeschool mother (I prefer unschool but many don’t know what that is), I have to align my schedule with my values. However, connection is a personal value so I try to meet people for the first time face to face. Business meetings after that can be done over FaceTime or phone.
Meeting friends for coffee rarely happens as well. I would much rather have our friends over for lunch on a Sunday afternoon. That’s when our family loves to host friends for meaningful conversations over yummy food.
I am done my most important tasks by 10:00am
I am done work by 10:00am most days. By 10:00am I have had my morning quiet time, workout, shower, social media posting, morning chores, and all my big items for the day have been completed. As you may of guessed, I’m up between 5:00-6:00am depending on the day (summer has been more around 6:00am).
I do this because I have children who want to enjoy their mother, not watch her work all day. During the school year, I can then focus on homeschooling tasks (in which we are done between 11:00am-noon). But I also do this because honestly I think we all work way too hard. When I was in Italy some years ago, it shocked me that in the afternoon every business would shut down for a couple of hours for siesta. At first it was utterly annoying to my “Western” mind, but then I realized how relaxed the people were. They were warm, connected people who lived a rich life. I wanted this too. I am a recovering workaholic, but I will never go back to being overworked and stressed, not able to have enough energy or patience for my family. Much of the issues we faced with our son’s mental health was caused by my driven, wound-up nature that never allowed myself or anyone else around me to feel relaxed.
What do I do for the rest of the day? I enjoy the sun if it’s out. I water the flowers, take our dogs for a walk, play a game with my boys, or do something creative like work on items we sell at The Jakab co. I read books and journal. My children and I watch documentary’s that interest us. We look up Air BnB’s around the world and dream of where we would love to go.
Imagine what you could do if you weren’t running frantically here and there after work? It’s not something to imagine, it’s something you can actually LIVE.
If my kids don’t show true interest, we don’t sign up for it
Some parents believe that we must put our children in activities. This is bogus, expensive, and honestly frustrating. I used to sign my boys up for all kinds of activities feeling this is what good mothers did. I would be so upset with my boys when they would beg to quit half way through the year. Dragging them to activities they didn’t enjoy was draining. I do believe in finishing what is started, so I endured the torture of attempting to convince them to go, which often either used bribery or threats. I would pressure them to come up with something extra curricular to have them only sign up for something to get me off their backs. This wasn’t great for motivation. I spent an incredible amount of money on activities that only frustrated me, my children, and exhausted us all.
Once I stopped putting my kids in activities I noticed they became quite creative at home. They would read, write stories, make videos. They were able to rest and have the downtime they needed. What a refreshing life it is to not have to rush here and there. I didn’t realize how much rushing everywhere was increasing my son’s anxiety! (more on that in last week’s blog post here)
My new rule of thumb is I will only sign my children up for activities if they have expressed interest themselves and are motivated to see it through. If it’s not a passion, we don’t do it.
Getting clear on your values
How do you know how to manage your time or create a schedule if you don’t know what your values are? You’ll run around here and there without any clarity as to what you desire for your life and your children’s lives. I am challenging anyone who wants something more for your life or the life of your family to book 2 sessions with me where we will get clear on your values and HOW you can redesign your life to match what you dream.
Are you up for the challenge? Book a time with me by contacting me here and let’s start making those dreams a reality!