Family,  getting organised,  motherhood in the naughties

Chasing a Slow and Meaningful LIfe

It turns out, ‘simplifying your life` isn’t as simple as I thought it would be.

One of my personal goals for this year is to simplify my life. I am chasing a slower and a more meaningful life.

My ultimate goal is to live a life based on good decisions and values, spend as much quality time with my family and friends, and do all of those things I personally love to do – reading, writing, walking on the beach, chilling out, taking photographs, learning a craft etc.

Reality Check!

While simplicity sounds relatively easy, and it is in theory, its not so easy when you think of the long list of things that need to be done in a mothers day.  I have come to realise that the only way to have true simplicity 100% of the time is to sell the kids and all of their belongings on ebay.   However, this is not an option or a plan.  It’s also illegal, so while it is some days very tempting – don’t do it!

The truth is, if we really want to simplify our lives,  we have to understand that ‘simplicity’ is a work in progress.  We have to break some hard wired habits and put in place new life improving habits.   Its about defining whats important to you and simplifying life over a period of time.  Keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day!

So what does it mean to chase a slower and simpler life?

A slower and simpler life allows us to…

…make time for ourselves to just be in the moment.
…spend quality time with the people we love in our lives.
…reflect on our day or our week.
…improve our mental health.
…have fun without guilt.
…have time to dream.
…time to do things for ourselves.
…be okay with a manageable to do list.

 So how do you chase a slower and simpler life.  Like all life quests – you have to have a plan to succeed. Here are some of my thoughts on the topic.

 1.   Make a list of those things in life that are most important to you.   What do you value the most in your life?  What do you want in your life?  List your priorities.

2.  What are you committed to right now?  Evaluate everything in your life – work, home, kids activities and hobbies, community projects, side businesses or side projects?   Think about all of these commitments and think about the ones you most value and or love doing.  Think about how these commitments relate to the list of things you said you valued – do they match up?

3. Where do you spend your time?   Think about your day. What things do you do? Make a list of everything you do in a day, and reflect on how they fit in with your values and priorities.  If they do not match, these are the things that need to be reassessed and maybe put aside.  You are the only person who can redesign your life.  It starts with what you do each day.  What would you like your day to look like?

4. Simplify work and home tasks.    The key with both work and home is to focus on the most important tasks and find ways to eliminate the rest.   At home, have a family meeting and assign everyone a couple of jobs each day or week to do.  Many hands make light work.   If your kids know how to turn on a computer, they will learn very quickly how to turn on a washing machine or dishwasher.   Don’t be afraid to ask your kids to participate in family chores.   In our household, if everyone gives me 20 minutes, thats 2 hours of housework done and dusted.  Pardon the pun. Also learn some life hacks.  Get jobs done well but quickly.   Don’t allow chores to dominate your life.

5. Say NO to anything that doesn’t fit into your list of values.    If you can’t say no, you will never have the life you want.  You will continue to take on other peoples tasks and never have time for anything you really want to do.

6. Limit your time on Devices and Media consumption.  Only do email at certain times of the day, for a certain number of minutes.  Limit phone calls and social media to certain times too.   Maybe try a media fast….or just limit your time on devices.   For example, only look at social media for 20 minutes a day.

7. Declutter your home.   Whether you sell unwanted items or give them away, you will feel fantastic having gotten rid of clutter in your home.   Everyone needs to do this on a regular basis.   We live in a society where we simply have far too much stuff.   Get rid of clutter!

8.  Be intimate with your finances.   Cancel any subscriptions that aren’t being used, and cancel those that don’t add value to your life.  Question everything you buy from food, clothes, furniture, books, magazines, sports equipment, etc.   Go through your bills and see if you can get rid of any expenses, and call providers such as insurance companies no utility companies  to see if you can get better deals.

Knowing our finances intimately will help you make good decisions with your money.

9.  Create simple routines for your life.   The key to keeping your life simple is to create simple routines.   Knowing when certain things need to be done makes doing such activities easier.

10.  Learn what “enough” is.  We live in a society where people in general don’t understand the concept of contentment.   Its a never ending cycle of latest gadgets, more clothes, more shoes, more stuff.   We have to learn  to buy based on need rather than want.

11.   Create healthy and simple meal plans.   No more stressing about what’s for dinner, create a healthy meal plan for a period of time, and where ever possible double the recipe so that you can have a number of healthy quick meals in the freezer.

12.  Exercise first thing in the morning before your brain can tell your body it doesn’t feel like it. 

13. Find a creative outlet for yourself.   We all have a need for self expression and creativity helps us decompress from stress.   Whether you like to write, paint, draw, design websites, dance or skateboard – go for it.  Your life will feel so much better for engaging into your creative side.

14.   Live life deliberately.

15.  Create a morning and an evening routine.   What must be done in the mornings or evenings to make the day or next day simpler.   Maybe setting the table before bed, or having tomorrows plan ready for the next morning, or the clothes you need first thing in the morning.

16.  Fill your day with your favourite simple pleasures.   These are some of my simple pleasures!

  1. Walking barefoot in grass.
  2. Listening to good music
  3. Taking a shower.
  4. Read a book
  5. Listening to a favourite podcast
  6. Popcorn and an old movie on DVD.
  7. Watching the sunrise.
  8. Walking on the beach.
  9. Yoga or stretching or meditation.
  10. Snuggling in bed.
  11. Watching the sunset.
  12. Hugging your child tightly.
  13. Glass of wine.
  14. Telling jokes till your sides ache.
  15. A long conversation with a good friend.
  16. Being lazy on a Sunday.
  17. Waking to a clean house.
  18. An uncluttered room.
  19. Fries and a chocolate milkshake.
  20. Watching your child play.
  21. Fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.
  22. Homemade pizza
  23. Laying back and watching the stars.
  24. Making a sandcastle.
  25. Floating in the water.
  26. Taking a nap.
  27. Laying back and looking up at clouds.
  28. Watching the ocean.
  29. Going to the hairdressers
  30. Peanut m&ms
  31. Vegemite sandwich
  32. Soda water
  33. Taking a hot bath with a candle burning.
  34. Blowing bubbles.
  35. The feeling after a good workout.
  36. Checking something off your to-do list.
  37. Snuggling together under the covers on a stormy day.
  38. A clear bench and table
  39. Swinging on a swing.
  40. Visit an art gallery.
  41. Sliced apple and vanilla yoghurt.
  42. Playing hooky.
  43. Have a picnic.
  44. Swimming at night.
  45. Mums coffee nights

Always ask yourself this easy question – Will this simplify my life? If the answer is no, reconsider!!

When we chase a slower simpler life, we are saying yes to a happier, healthier life and a more abundant life.  Our relationships will be stronger, and we will feel a lot more joyful in our lives.   Isn’t it time we make time for ourselves to just stop and smell the roses?

We only have one life to live, so its time to live a slower and simpler life and avoid crazy and chaotic.     Don’t you think?

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