Decluttering isn’t limited to the items you may find in your house.
Sometimes it’s our hectic schedules that need to be reevaluated and pared down.
It’s no fun “running around like a chicken with its legs cut off”. That’s my sweet friend Christie’s version of the saying. I can’t remember where she adopted it from, but I prefer it to the original. It more accurately describes how I feel sometimes when my week is overscheduled and chaotic. I feel like I’m running on fumes and I turn into a ticking stress bomb. Maybe some of you have been there too.
Why do we do it to ourselves? What rule that shapes our universe says that each moment we’re breathing needs to be full of busy-ness? Well, I can think of some reasons, (cough Industrial Revolution cough), but I think we all need to chill out a bit!
This week, I wanted to share some of my tips for decluttering and simplifying your schedule.
Assign Days for Specific Tasks or Errands
I like to schedule specific types of errands on certain days of the week.
Mondays are grocery shopping days.
Saturdays are our established deep cleaning days, which honestly, only happens as needed. I like to save the harder cleaning tasks for the weekend when Jordan is home so we can tag team. One of us can take a turn doing chores and the other keeps our son entertained.
Depending on the week and availability of our babysitters, Friday or Saturday night are date nights. Or lunch dates or matinee movie, or whatever we can squeeze in. We’ve even counted a trip to Walmart as a date night. Hey! Whatever time alone you can steal counts.
The rest of our errands vary because some things are hard to schedule on a consistent day of the week: doctor’s appointments, family dinners or events, church activities, etc. I try to as many of these things as I can on certain days of the week, but not everything in life can be planned. Because the other tasks I’ve mentioned are already set in place, I feel like it helps me feel more grounded and have some consistency in my week.
If you’re able to do something like this with your regularly occurring events or obligations, it’s helped me! But you can put it to the test!
As hard as it may be, sometimes we need to exercise a little restraint when planning our week. Especially in the beginning of the week, it’s easy to be over-optimistic about how much we can get done. We want to do it all! All the things! We are superhuman!
Well, even superhumans have weaknesses. It’s important that you know your limits. Know your breaking point and when too much is too much. Then avoid reaching that point.
For me, I know that at the most, I can only handle one big errand per day. Whether that’s grocery shopping or doctors appointments. I can’t do it all in one day or I’m likely to explode. I also reach overload mode when I schedule too many social events in my week. I’m an introvert. I need alone time. We’ve had weeks chock full of birthday parties, wedding receptions, family dinners, and play dates. It’s too much! I try to avoid it if I can.
Do whatever works for you and makes you feel unstressed. Know when you’ve reached the limit and try not to go over it.
Cut Out the Unnecessary
Isn’t it true that many of us are always complaining that we don’t have enough time? There’s so much we want to accomplish, hobbies we want to pursue, vacations we wish we could take, time we want to spend with friends. But we’re too busy!
The truth is, we have an abundance of time. We’re just poor managers of it. And sometimes, we make things really hard for ourselves by signing up for things that just don’t add anything good to our lives. Why spend your precious time doing things that don’t add joy or meaning to your life?
First, we need to identify what these things are. The time wasters and spenders. It could be a weekly obligatory lunch outing with co-workers or Tuesday playdates with the mommy group you’re part of. It can be anything.
When I was pregnant, I discovered one of my time wasters. I had left my nannying job after becoming too pregnant to chase after a 1-year-old and so I had lots of time on my hands. I developed an unhealthy relationship with Facebook. I was on Facebook several times during the day. For up to an hour. Or longer.
When I realized how much time I was spending on there, I decided to take a break and went on a Facebook fast. After doing this, I realized that I didn’t miss it and I was actually much happier. Facebook was no longer adding anything positive to my life and was taking away time I could be using better. I said goodbye permanently. I still don’t miss it.
When you figure out the things that are pulling you away from the things you want to be doing, cut them out! We want to fill our time with things that add to our lives, not take away.
There will always be some things we can’t cut out that aren’t necessarily fun. We have to work. We have responsibilities that we must take care of and that takes up time. But if you look closely enough, I’m sure there are things that you think you need to do, but you don’t.
Learn to Say “No”
Some people are experts at this. I’m not one of them. I am somewhat of a people pleaser and tend to say yes to requests without a second thought.
I’ve learned the hard way that this is a sure road to self-sabotage and setting my stress bomb ticking away.
Slowly, slowly, I’ve been practicing the art of saying “No.”
It’s not easy. I still feel a lot of guilt at times. Especially when people don’t hide their disappointment. And it may happen to you. Some may even throw a tantrum and try to guilt trip you into giving in. Don’t.
There’s nothing wrong with knowing your limits and setting boundaries. It’s called self-preservation. Being a doormat sucks. It’s hard to declutter your life and try to find a happy balance if others have more control over you than they should.
Those are my tips for how to declutter your schedule. Nothing earth shattering. Probably things you’ve heard before. But I think they are the foundation for finding what works for you.
At the end of the day, you can use lots of different scheduling systems to stay organized. There are a lot of apps you can use and reminders you can set. You can figure that part out. I don’t recommend any in particular because I just use my calendar on my phone. I like keeping it simple.
I’m just here to remind you to be in tune with your needs and don’t overdo it!
Have you tried decluttering your schedule before? What works for you? Share your suggestions!