There’s lots of great information out there to help simplify your day or to change bad habits. I just wanted to share with you a few of the small intentions which have had huge impacts in my life.
1. Waking up Early.
Now, I’ll admit, I don’t do this as often as I’d love to, and I invite tips on HOW to make this happen in the comments. But, this seems to be a theme with all successful people, from billionaires to moms who can drink an entire cup of coffee before it gets cold.
Waking up early gives you time to prepare for your day before it really “begins”. My favorite way to do this is to start with my devotions and a jog. I love to have my mind and body in a good place before the kids start their day.
2. The 2 Minute Rule
This is a tiny little change with some huge outcomes. The idea is, if something needs to be done and it will take you 2 minutes or less, you do it right away. No procrastinating on the small stuff, no adding it to your to do list. It’s a small task and it can be done quickly, so you do it now and get it out of the way.
When we don’t practice the 2 minute rule we are setting ourselves up for more work later. A single dish in the sink will multiply into full countertops if we don’t take care of that one little thing when we see it.
Not only are we letting one chore turn into two or three, but it’s a Broken Windows effect as well.
“The broken windows theory is a criminological theory that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes”
I’m not referring to this theory in terms of criminology here, but in terms of disorder and chaos. Think of it this way: if your kitchen is spotless how likely are the members of your household to leave a mess behind them? What if there’s already a dish in the sink? Will they take care of their new dish, or add it to the pile?
Every little mess you leave unchecked, is a broken window. And a house left with a broken window, unfixed and unattended, will fall into ruin. Because who cares to pick up their dog poop or a dropped soda can from the yard of a house with a broken window?
3. One Load of Laundry a Day
Washing, drying and folding ALL the laundry in one day is a noble feat. But washing, drying and folding one basket is realistic. If you focus your energy into one basket of laundry, you’re a lot more likely to complete the full task and not leave unfolded laundry on the dining room table, or worse yet, undried laundry in the washer!
Doing one load of laundry a day isn’t the hard part. I find that the hardest part is actually getting into the rhythm of only washing one at a time and not falling behind. What I initially tried was creating a plan to wash different specific loads each day, and that was where I went wrong. Trying to control this too much and over planning it, kept me from the simplicity of it all.
My suggestion, start where you are. If you are behind on laundry, pick out the things that are priority to wash (kids’ sports attire, husband’s work clothes, your favorite leggings, towels, whatever) and let that be your one load for today. Wash it, dry it, fold it, and put it all where it belongs.
If you’re caught up on washing, but it’s all over your dining table, wash one new load today. While that load is in the wash, fold a basket of laundry off the table and put it away. When you move the laundry to the dryer, try to fold another basket full off the table. Once your dryer is done, fold all that (DO NOT TAKE IT TO YOUR TABLE, DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT), and put it all away.
Every day will get easier if you simply start and continue.
4. Meal Planning
I used to run to the grocery store two or three times per week to get things to make dinner, because I didn’t plan ahead.
I also used to spend a lot more on food than we needed to. If you subtract the price of formula, I think we spend a lot less on food as a family of four, than we did when it was just my husband and I.
Knowing what you’re going to have for dinner each day is a huge stress relief, even more is knowing you already have everything you’ll need to make it! This is why I meal plan and only shop once a week.
It saves time because you don’t run to the store multiple times.
It saves money because you don’t buy extra things you won’t need, plus saves on gas from those extra trips.
And it save sanity because you’re not stressed trying to put together a meal with out all the ingredients, or panicking when it’s 5:30pm and you haven’t even thought about dinner yet.
I have two articles that can help you meal plan!
5. Using My Planner for Everything
I use my planner for EVERYTHING. I used to have all kinds of notes all over the place in a notebook, on post it’s, and on a wall calendar. When I finally got the great advice to write it all in my planner, it was life changing.
I now have one place where I can see everything.
I write down bill due dates, birthdays, future goals and the things that need to happen to get me there, free admission days at local museums, discount days at the zoo, camping trips, beach weekend getaways, Christmas shopping days.. it’s all planned already!
I use the priority section of my weekly planner to write down my To Do List for the week, then I’ve got the deadline to finish it before the week is over and I turn the page.
I want to mention how your planner can help you achieve your goals. My big goal for the year is to participate in the Trail Race this September. It’s a half marathon. Right now, I can’t even run a full mile. So I have an extensive training plan that starts this week, and I’ve gone through my planner and already scheduled EVERY training day with exactly what needs to be accomplished that day.
The mindset I’ve adapted here is that every little thing I schedule for myself to do, is one less thing I have to think about doing.
6. Keeping Clear Counters
*this is not my kitchen, but it’s #goals, isn’t it!?
This was my biggest take away when I began my decluttering kick: clearing off my kitchen counters has lifted my mood every time I walk into the room.
Think to yourself, how does it feel to walk into your messy kitchen? How does it feel when you walk in to a clean kitchen?
It makes me feel like a super hero. That’s how awesome I feel when I see I don’t have to clean the kitchen. Remembering this feeling, is what motivates me to clean it. I no longer clean my kitchen because it needs to be done, I do it for that natural high I’ll get when I come back later.
How I cleared my counters: While decluttering I started asking myself, does this need to be here?
My coffee maker lives on the counter because I love it. I love to come downstairs in the morning and see that beautiful machine that gives me liquid joy. But my coffee grinder? That little thing gets used for 30 seconds, it didn’t need to sit next to my coffee maker like its side kick. Now it’s stored with the coffee filters, in the cupboard.
Toaster and blender and all over appliances that used to sit on my counters and only get used a couple times a week, those are stored under my kitchen island. They don’t need to take up precious counter space when not in use.
I’m sure you could think of one or two things on your counters that don’t NEED to be there.
7. Taking Time for Yourself
It’s seems like such a new concept that we practice self care, but honestly it’s thousands of years old! Ever hear of the Sabbath? It’s one day each week that the Jews were commanded to not do any work, because even God took a day off when creating the world.
It’s a great thing to practice. Work hard and REST regularly.
I love how Rachel Hollis describes this at her Rise conference. To paraphrase:
Imagine you’re a tall, glass vase, standing there. You get poured into but you’re always trying to give every bit you are given to your husband, and kids, and work, and the house chores, and and and… so you tip to let what you’re being filled with, fill others instead.
What happens to a glass vase that tips over? It breaks.
I bet you’ve felt so empty you were broken. I have.
Instead, we need to stand tall and let ourselves be filled. Let all the good things flow into us, so we can overflow into the people and things in our lives that need us.
Let them have us at our best, not near our breaking point.