If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it is to plan ahead. For everything. Am I perfect at it? By no means. But this I know, when I do not plan, I do not do. And when I do not do, let me tell you, it is a slippery slope my friends!
When I fail to plan, or fail to follow my plan, things seem to set off on a collision course to chaos. And it is never good.
I am a note taker. And I have planners – I love my planners! I like to make them messy and use colors and stickers, quotes scripture, and record my dreams and goals. I enjoy making lists, and checking them off as I complete each task. I like looking back over the month to record my successes and determine where I could use a nudge the following month.
Some people may think this doesn’t sound like simplicity. Well, for me it is just that – a method to keep on top of my priorities and make sure that things get done. Because I am way too good at multi-tasking myself into an impatient, forgetful, angry, hurried, harried, and burnt out mess. Which is when I am the farthest from simplicity, and left feeling like a hypocrite for even entertaining the idea that I can blog on the subject!
Amazingly, however, with a little bit of planning I can be on time. I can have everything I need, and will remember to dress for that afternoon meeting. I won’t forget that I need to mail that package, pick-up food for lunches, or complete the activities for my study. I can have dinner prepared for my family, not get road-rage in the traffic on the way home, and get my girl to dance lessons with time to spare.
There are other ways to plan ahead as well. By figuring out a weekly menu you can shop for what you need, cook from what you already have, or thaw meat ahead of time. You can also plan meals in your crockpot, make dishes ahead, cook and freeze double batches for later, or prepare freezer meals months in advance.
Some folks like to have a specific day for each activity they need to complete, like a specific cleaning task or laundry on one day, errands on another, decluttering or bill paying on yet another. I am trying to develop a plan like this that will work for me. Not quite there yet with my crazy schedule.
Recently I did sit down with my planner and block out the time that I spend each day and on what activities. I’m working on creating margin in my life and have been really surprised at how I have been able to do so. Not loads of extra time, but a bit here and there. With careful planning and smarter use of what time I’ve got, I am enjoying a bit more margin.
We all have 168 hours in a week. 42 of mine are spent sleeping. 50 are used up working or commuting to work. 25 are unscheduled obligations (ie: Laundry, cleaning, decluttering, meal prep, gardening, doing dishes, grocery shopping, running errands …) and 12 are spent during scheduled obligations like my daughter’s dance lessons, church and church activities, chauffeuring or volunteering.
That leaves 39 marginal hours. Sounds like a lot, I know. Most of them, however are between 8-10 PM. The rest are weekends which seem to have a way of filling up too easily. So, I’m being careful what I allow to encroach upon my time. It is precious and I am not living a life of simplicity when I let it get away from me. Time to be more mindful of time!
S – Spend less
I – Identify your priorities
M – Minimize your possessions
P – Plan ahead