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Keep it Simple

Have you ever gone through a season in your life when you simply couldn’t juggle another thing?

You know, those times when your schedule was too full and your brain was fried?

When that happens to me, I pour myself a cup of coffee (or green tea) and sit down with my planner for an hour and have my own crisis intervention, looking for all of the ways I can simplify to get through this season.

Here’s what I do:

  1.  Simplify my schedule:  I look at our schedule and see what I can cancel or postpone until later.  I’m not a proponent of procrastination or breaking promises, but the sanity and health of our family trumps anything else.  It is hard to say “no” to fun activities and social events, but too much is too much.  I find that when our schedule is too full, we are just one busted water heater or flat tire away from a complete falling apart.  Our life needs a little bit of margin around it to handle the overflow.
  2. Simplify my home:  Our home needs to be a place where my family can come home to rest.  I put away projects or supplies that aren’t going to be used in the next few weeks.  Since our schedule is already being pruned, we won’t have time for extra projects anyway.  Putting them away helps create a calmer environment and keeps my brain from focusing on an unfinished job.  Home function becomes more important than home decor in the crazy seasons so I put away the extras to let our eyes rest.
  3. Simplify my menu:  When life gets hectic it seems like it would make sense to let someone else do the cooking – as in fast food or restaurant meals.  This plan often backfires, though, because it’s not necessarily good for our bodies or our wallets.  By pre-planning quick and simple meals for a week at a time, I can keep meals healthy and our budget under control.  I utilize my crock pot for many meals and also use quick skillet meals or sheet pan meals.  I also like to cook one large meal like a ham or a pot of chili and use the leftovers for lunches and dinners for a few meals during the rest of the week.
  4. Simplify my clothes:  I try to make sure I do a load of laundry every day.  That helps to prevent the lack of clean underwear or uniforms.  On Sunday night, I can plan some simple outfits that don’t take much effort in the mornings to put together for the rest of the week.  Of course, I want to look at the schedule to make sure I’m planning for special events.  Don’t forget to plan for shoes and accessories too (I can’t remember how many times we failed at having the right shirt-shoes-belt for a child’s band concert!).
  5. Simplify my paperwork:  Look ahead for bills that need to be paid or cards that need to be mailed.  If necessary, mark on your calendar what needs to be mailed on a certain day.  I love to shop for gifts and cards but, when my schedule is hectic, shopping online saves the day.  Don’t forget to coordinate with the hubby and kids about what they have going on.  Does your husband have a work dinner that needs an RSVP?  Does your child have fundraiser money due or field trip form that needs signing?  Take care of it as soon as you can so you don’t have it hanging over your head.

I hope these ideas will help you get through your hectic season as unscathed as possible.  Remember that the health and sanity of you and your family are more important that what other people think.  Do what is best for your family during this season.  It won’t last forever!

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