Inside: Are you exhausted just thinking about what is on your plate these days? Do you long for a more relaxed family schedule? Here are five ways to help you simplify your life and slow down.
Are you exhausted just thinking about what is on your plate now that school has started? Do you long to simplify your life and slow down?
The Concept of Scarcity
When I was doing a course on microeconomics I learned about the concept of scarcity.
Scarcity is a problem that arises when people have many wants, but limited resources.
When this happens we must make choices between our wants. We make these decisions by giving up (trading off) one want to meet another.
At times I experience scarcity in our garden. We have a limited amount of space and I have to choose what I want to plant. Sometimes I will give up my desire to grow one plant, so I can plant another.
One of our most valuable resources is our time. Yet I have noticed that there is a tendency in our society to treat time as an unlimited resource. Our responsibilities and activities fill our days to overflowing. As a result we are all frantically busy.
Our Time is Limited
Our time is a limited resource, so we have to make choices about how we use it. When we over-schedule our days we stress our breaking points. When that happens we experience scarcity. We find ourselves multitasking and juggling commitments. Sound familiar?
I talk to a lot of parents at the library and in the last few weeks have heard comments such as
“Hockey is starting, so the time we have together as a family will be severely limited.”
“And so it begins! Every night is full of out of school activities. It’s going to be a busy school year!”
There is nothing wrong with organized sports and extra curricula activities. They all have a place. But we run into trouble when we try to cram too many activities and commitments into our lives.
Then we start giving up some things to satisfy others.
Unfortunately we often neglect what the important to get as much done as possible. Thes include things like shared meals, converasation, family time, exercise, spiritual practices, or creativity. These things are easy to put on hold. What is urgent and pressing tends to take over.
“We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that the important task rarely must be done today or even this week. ” Charles Hummell
Does any of this sound familiar? I understand. I’ve been in your shoes. Now I want to encourage you
There is a solution to a calmer pace of life
- Slow down
It isn’t as hard as you might imagine. It just takes a little practice and commitment, but as you start to simplify you will find yourself creating space to.
- Spend time with your children.
- Talk with your love
- Do what brings you joy
5 ways to simplify and slow down
- Limit your commitments: List your commitments, and pick one to cut this week. This will start to free up time for what’s more important to you. When you are considering a new commitment, think carefully about the time it will take. What will you have to give up to do this thing? Is it worth it?
- Learn how to say no: This is a tough one, but recognize when your schedule is full enough and start saying no to anything more. You are not obliged come up with an apology as a simple, “no thank you” is enough.
- Unplug: The Internet is a tremendous gift, but it can also be a curse. When you go on-line you’re distracted. This makes it hard to connect with others, hard to stop and slow down. Schedule some time every day to unplug. Then go for a walk with your love or just hang out with your kids.
- Delegate: some of the things on your to do list. List some of the things that you need to get done this week and pick one to delegate.
- Get rid of some stuff: Clutter weighs us down and steals our energy. Start to declutter and reap the benefits.
- Slow Down. My friend Liz over at The Connected Life has written a brilliant post about the joys of slowing down
Now it’s Your Turn
Tell me where could you stop, slow down, and simplify? Could you give up one commitment in order to create some space? How might that benefit your family life?
Want to read more?