Monday, June 30, 2008

Simplify, simplify, simplify

I was reading this post on Simplifying your life over at Zen Habits, and it's made me realize how much I want to cut back and simplify. I already talk a lot about being frugal and simplifying my stuff and consumption, but I also need to be more frugal with my time.

There are several reasons that living a more simple life would make me happier:

1. I would have more time available to devote to things that I love and enjoy, things that I find meaningful.

2. I would feel less rushed and overwhelmed.

3. I would feel less guilty for not accomplishing all my (often perceived or invented) obligations.

I think I have gotten myself into a very bad cycle with my time. First, I perceive a problem or absence in my life. I decide what it is that I want to do or wish to do. I decide it's impossible and instead fritter away my time on things that don't add to my life. I realize that it now really IS impossible, and dig deeper into the existence of the problem.

Part of this has to do with my complete lack of understanding of how long tasks will take, part of it has to do with my learned helplessness, but a lot of it is just procrastination and helplessness.

So, I'm going to start cutting back. In order to have more time to do the things I want to do (Read books! Go outside! Talk to friends! Spend time with my husband!), I'm going to spend less time doing the things I don't want to do.

1. I'm going to spend less time online. This will probably solve 90% of the problem. I spend hours searching for solutions to problems instead of just taking action. I fill my head with information that I have no time to process and which instead just makes me feel more stressed in the end. I actually feel guilty or anxious when I can't read all my RSS feeds or check my email, or keep up with every free online class I've ever looked at. I don't care about these things really, I don't value them, they're just easy, but they take time away from the things that do matter to me, so I have to say enough.

2. I'm going to develop a more doable routine for housework and laundry. I waste so much time re-washing laundry and get so overwhelmed by overflowing laundry baskets that I could just get it done instead of worrying (and medicating that worry with more mindless procrastination).

3. I'm going to stop checking my freaking blog stats, and my bank balances, and anything else that doesn't change significantly on a day to day basis.

4. I'm going to look for ways to streamline my other routines and I'm going to start timing some of my more frequent activities so that I know how long things take and don't find them as overwhelming.

And, above all, I'm going to make sure that I spend all of my found time doing things that add value to my life instead of just finding new ways to fritter it away.


sunny said...

I am so with you!

I need to think less and do more. (for instance, I can dread unloading the dishwasher and wiping down the kitchen counters..but if I set a timer for 15 minutes and just start those tasks..I'm usually shocked that it only takes 3 or 4 minutes maybe. so...50 minutes of dreading it vs. 4 minutes of taking care of it. yeah - too much mental energy is what I spend on household tasks)

I am trying to put the routines at into practice... it's helped a lot.