It’s been 6 weeks since I resigned from my nursing career. There’s been no alarm clock ringing in my ear. No hour-long drive into the city to work a 12-hour shift. No days spent piled up on the couch, exhausted from the crazy schedule I kept. It’s been absolutely wonderful!
The problem is that the days keep slipping past me. I know I’ve spent some wonderful time with my family. I’ve done some spring cleaning that included much needed decluttering. I’ve tackled the necessary freshening of my flower bed. Yet it doesn’t seem to add up to 6 weeks’ worth of living. That long list of things I had hoped to knock out has barely been touched. I thought I’d have so much time and I really can’t say where it all went. Obviously, this drifting aimlessly through my day isn’t going to work long term if I want to achieve my goals.
I thought simple living was suppose to be carefree. I thought I didn’t need a schedule while living in the moment. Apparently, it’s about balance. As Catherine Pulsifer says, “Time and balance: the two most difficult things to have control over, yet they are both the things that we do control.”
We do have control. We control time and balance by making decisions every day about our priorities. Minute by minute; hour by hour; day by day, we make choices. Some we make deliberately with much consideration. Others we make passively with little thought. We start each day choosing how we’ll spend our time: aimlessly or purposefully. We choose the activities that will fill our day. We choose the people, the thoughts, the projects, and the schedule.
Today I’m choosing to better control my time. I’m choosing to balance relaxation with my pursuit of goals.
I have goals. Big ones; small ones. In order to successfully reach them, I’m going to need a routine to my days. Pursuing a simple life means I need to carefully consider what‘s on my schedule and what becomes part of my daily routine. I need to determine what holds enough value to warrant a spot in my weekly planner.
A routine will provide the structure I need in my day. This will allow me to succeed at the things I wish to achieve. Now I must be realistic about creating my plan. Though I’d like to fill every minute on my planner with things to accomplish, I’m aware I have to allow time to enjoy the little things. I will seek to find a healthy balance.
If you are inspired to create a better plan to manage your time, begin with a morning and an evening routine of 5 steps that will start and end your day on a positive note. Don’t overwhelm yourself by filling in the perfect schedule. Let’s keep it real here. Beginning with simple steps will give you a good foundation.
When you look at the blank page in your planner, start with the simple basics of your day. A consistent sleep schedule is important. A body can do amazing things when it’s well rested. Decide when you will start each day and when you will call it a day. From there, create your plan with the essential steps of your day. As you master these basic steps, add time for the people and activities you value.
- Dress and Make bed
- Check your planner for the day’s schedule
- Dishes done
- Load of laundry
- 15 minutes decluttering
- Check tomorrow’s schedule in your planner
- Dishes done
- 15 minutes putting things in their place
- Lay out clothes for morning
- Do one thing to calm your mind: gratitude journal, reading, meditation, etc.
You might consider a way to reward yourself. Perhaps you could mark your accomplishments no matter how small they are. Think of those gold stars you got on your chore list when you were a child. A gold star was amazingly motivating for me. I loved a line of shiny stars on my paper at the end of the week. If a gold star no longer works for you, allow yourself a guiltfree indulgence. Have a favorite sitcom to watch? Crave a cup of joe at the local coffee shop? Whatever it is, set a special reward for yourself acknowledging the beautiful change you are creating in your life.
I have no desire to return to those exhausting days of trying to do too much and live too little. The very thought of that hectic rat race makes me a bit nauseous. At the same time, I don’t want to get to the end of another week wondering where 168 hours of my life went. Today I’m making the choice to take control of my time and create a nice balance in my life. I’m going to start with that simple morning and evening routine, then add deliberate choices, producing time purposely spent.
I hope you’ll join me in taking these first steps to create a simple life with purpose.