Do you often find yourself wishing for more hours in the day? Do you feel like chores and errands chew up all of your free time? It can be mind-blowing (and kind of depressing) to stop and think of just how many hours of our lives we waste on things we don’t even like doing!
But you don’t have to let that thought get you down! With a few simple changes, you can simplify the necessary chores of your life, and reclaim all of that wasted time!
How To Simplify Your Life
1. Learn to say no
How much of your time do you give away simply because you want everyone to think you’re a “nice person?” Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to make everyone else happy!
If you don’t want to babysit, pet-sit, help your friend clean out her garage, or attend that that acquaintance’s birthday party – you can say no! Don’t be afraid to tell people that you’re already booked up (even if all you plan to do instead is sit on the couch with a good book).
You don’t owe anyone your precious free time. Save your energy for those people, tasks, and social events that leave you feeling warm, happy, and fulfilled.
2. Make it automatic
If you’re still taking the time each month to hop online and pay your bills and refill prescriptions, why not actually hit that “set up auto-bill/auto-refill” button next time? Automating the process will not only save you some time, but you’ll also say goodbye to those moments of panic when you’re about to fall asleep and suddenly question whether you forgot to pay the electric bill!
And what about the time you spend on weekly grocery shopping trips? Most grocery stores (including many small local chains) are rolling out curbside pick-up and home delivery services. You can set up discounted dry-good and toiletry subscriptions through Amazon or Target and order everything else from your local grocery store. Each store’s ordering software will remember items you’ve previously purchased, making refilling your cart with your staple items a breeze on future orders!
3. Disconnect from technology
The amount of time we waste scrolling through Facebook or checking our email (for the 10th time that day) adds up quickly. And while watching TV can be a nice way to relax, sometimes we get sucked into giving our attention to programs that we don’t actually like or care about, simply because they happen to be on.
Limiting your tech time really can help you feel happier and healthier, and you may be surprised at how much you don’t miss it! Try setting a few simple rules for yourself. Maybe only read and respond to email at one designated time per day. And set a timer each time you log onto sites like Facebook or Pinterest so that you don’t fall down rabbit holes of endless scrolling (a.k.a. time-wasting!). Plan ahead to catch the TV shows you truly enjoy and turn the set off when your show is over.
4. Get a planner, paper or digital (and use it!)
Whether you set up your smartphone’s calendar app or use a basic pen-and-paper planner, writing things down can really help you manage your time. In addition to doctor’s appointments and social events, you can block out “do not disturb” time that is just for you. You can also use your planner to organize your to-do list, making notes of which day to meal prep, place your next grocery order, or get your car in for an oil change.
However, the number one key to making a planner work is getting into the habit of actually using it! Make time every day to check and update your planner as part of your morning routine, or even before you settle into your bedtime routine at night.
5. Meal plan
You can save so much time by having meals at the ready that can easily be heated up, or pre-chopped vegetables that you can quickly cook up as side dishes. Not only do you cut down on daily dinner prep time, but you’ll save on clean up time, too!
Once per week, take a couple of hours to cook up a few big batches of soup, stew, lasagna, or other foods that freeze well. Chop up your side vegetables and portion out snack foods. Then run through all of the dirty dishes at once. Put on some music or a podcast that you enjoy, and make meal prep time into “me time.” For the rest of the week, cooking, cleanup, and deciding what to eat will be quick and easy!
6. Get into a nighttime routine
Before you settle in for the night, take a few minutes to make tomorrow morning easier. Pick out your outfit for the next day, put anything you’ll need to bring with you in the car (or nearly waiting by the front door). If anyone in your home needs to bring snacks, drinks, or lunch with them, get those prepared the night before, too. With all of that already done, getting ready for the day will feel like a breeze, and you’ll be able to save your energy for actually getting things done and having fun!
Having a bedtime routine can also help you fall asleep faster. It feels comforting (and easier to relax!) when we know that everything’s all set and ready for the next day. And when we associate certain actions with sleep (having a cup of chamomile tea, turning down the lights, and reading a chapter of a book, for example), our brains are cued to start winding down as soon as we start them.
Let other people help! So maybe you don’t love the way your husband loads the dishwasher or the way your grandkids fold the laundry, but is having the task done imperfectly worth having more free time? I think most of us would rather have extra free time than perfect piles of laundry!
Delegating household tasks can also include hiring someone to come through and mop your floors or letting the neighbors’ kid make a little extra cash raking leaves or pulling weeds in your garden. Wherever you can, try to delegate the tasks you dislike doing, or the ones that take up so much time that you tend to procrastinate doing them.
8. Ask for help
It’s impossible to do everything yourself, and you’ll drive yourself absolutely crazy trying. Don’t be a martyr! Rather than seeing you as an invaluable dynamo, people in your life are far more likely to be thinking “sit down and take a break, lady!” There are no prizes for “doing it all yourself” so stop trying! Most of the time, people are actually happy to help when you ask them! And if they do say no, hiring help still counts, and can go a long way toward keeping your sanity intact.
A clutter-free home is so much easier to clean and maintain! With fewer items to move out of the way to dust and fewer piles of “stuff” on your shelves, your house won’t look and feel like a stressful to-do list in its own right! Take the time to declutter any problem areas in your home, and see how much easier your space is to keep clean!
10. Do a little every day
Fit in small tasks where they make sense. If you get in the habit of fitting in simple little tasks every day, your housekeeping won’t get out of hand, and “big cleaning” days won’t even be that big. Make ongoing tasks part of your daily routine, such as starting one load of laundry while your coffee brews, cleaning the bathroom mirror after brushing your teeth, or sweeping the kitchen floor while dinner’s on the stove.
Each of these 10 little tricks is simple to implement, and each one can help you steal back an enormous amount of time!