Time is finite. We all know that right? 60 minutes in every hour, 24 hours in every day, 168 hours in a week, 52 weeks in a year. Everyone has the same amount of minutes in an hour and hours in a day. And we can’t buy, steal, or beg for more time. So if we can’t add more time to our day, what is our alternative option? To continue to run ragged, stressed, and worn out, unable to fully focus because we are so hyped up on coffee and sleeping pills? I sure hope not.
Over the past three years, we have been on a quest to simplify our schedules and lives, minimizing our commitments in order to make the small commitments we do make all that more valuable. They idea of making a hard-and-fast rule about what we don’t do is something I first heard from Shauna Niequist but, ironically, never prioritized the time to actually write out a list. And then last week, Val from Val Marie Paper (her prayer journals are so wonderful) wrote an amazing post about how she doesn’t do it all, including a list of things she specifically doesn’t do.
I ‘m now heading into a busier season of life as my final year of graduate school has started and we have several trips planned over the next couple of months. I know this list will serve as a beautiful reminder when the temptation to be busy or overcommit rises and I hope it will encourage you to make your own list.
1 | I don’t maintain an updated wardrobe
This is something I’ve struggled with for a long time, especially living in southern California. It seemed like everyone had a chic wardrobe, pulled together with the latest seasonal color or print to match the season. Even though I don’t love shopping, I continually felt the pressure to have new clothes that perfectly fit with my “style”. This has been something easier to let go of since moving to Colorado (I love that “hiking chic” is the standard wardrobe around here), but I’m learning to be okay with my desire to dress simpler – jeans, a blouse, sandals, hair straight or pulled in a bun. There are still the occasional fun date nights that I love dressing up for, but for the most part I’m learning to be okay with keeping it simple.
2 | I don’t have a Joanna Gaines-worthy home
This is very similar to my first explanation. I love a cozy, well-organized home. I like it to be simple, easy to maintain, and clean. And as much as I love the farmhouse trend right now and would love for a bigger kitchen, we are okay with keeping a more modest home. We pick our priorities – cozy blankets, warm neutral tones, fun pictures from our wedding, not a lot of clutter. And again, I’m learning to be okay with this – it’s okay to not have a perfectly stylized home.
3 | I don’t say “yes” to everything
Two weeks ago I wrote about why I removed the word “busy” from my vocabulary (more on that here). Too many times, I have caught myself overcommitted, stressed out, and overwhelmed. As a recovering people pleaser and perfectionist, it is way too easy to quickly respond “yes”, wanting to be viewed as capable and someone who comes through for other people. Instead, I’m learning to pause before making a commitment, to take a deep breathe and take sometime to way every option.
The no I said today is making space for yes, something I haven’t had space for in a long time.
4| I don’t check social media and emails in “off time”
Okay, confession – this is something that I don’t always get perfect and am having to work on right now. It is way too easy to open up Instagram, scroll through Facebook, or respond to emails when I’m supposed to be having quality time with my husband or watching a movie with friends. Because my day job is currently staying home and working on this blog and graduate school, it’s easy to take a quick break and respond to some emails or catch up on social media. There is not the need, then, to be on my phone or computer all night, multi-tasking the evening away. My current goal is to turn off my computer by 4:30pm every day, logging out of my emails and stepping away from technology for the night.
5 | I don’t overwork
This, too, relates to my passion for a slower life, but too often I have ended a semester of school or a season of insanity to be sick, burnt out and exhausted. In the past, I have struggled with high blood pressure, inconsistent sleep and even hair loss due to overworking and not managing stress well. I feel so incredibly thankful for this season I am in right now, not seeking a job because of school commitments but instead able to take the transition to Colorado slowly, adjusting as we choose and not just jumping right into a ton of commitments. In the past, though, this has looked like taking inventory of my schedule and commitments, taking fewer classes, or cutting back on volunteer work.
6 | I don’t frequently get my hair or nails done
I mostly keep my hair long, simple layers, and never get it colored, making it easy to maintain and keep up with (plus the lack of added color makes my hair healthier). And, especially after years and years of regularly playing the piano and often chipping and ruining perfectly good manicures, the same thing goes with my nails. Now, I keep them short, clean, and plain – easy and practical!
7 | I don’t read every book in every genre
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love reading. A and I usually spend at least 20 – 30 minutes each night before bed reading. But for a long time, I always felt like I was behind in my reading. I felt like I hadn’t read enough biographies or historical fictions or Christian non-fiction. I’d see people reading two or three or four books a month and fell into the comparison game, stating that I “should” be reading more. I’m letting go of that. And I still read. And I’d like to read more. But for now, especially when i have to do so much reading during the day for school work, I’m giving up the external (and ridiculously self-imposed) pressure of needing to read 100+ books a year. It’s not happening, and that’s okay.
// So much of this is about letting go of what you feel like you should be doing and being okay with what you actually are doing or enjoy doing. So what are your things? What are you giving upon order to make time for the most important things?
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