“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”- Socrates
How many times do you ask a friend or a loved one how they are doing and they reply with how busy they are?
Personally, probably more times than I can count.
I, too, have been guilty of this response. Of falling into the trap of wearing the term ‘busy’ as a badge of honor. Of thinking that if I am not busy, I am doing something wrong.
This is one thing, however, that I have been working on since embracing minimalism. I haven’t just been on a journey of decluttering my home and my possessions, I have slowly been becoming more minimal with my schedule as well.
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Each month, my husband and I sit down and fill out a whiteboard calendar that we have on the wall and map out what we have going on. And do you know what my favorite thing to see is? Lots of blank space.
For me, this is an ongoing process. A process of learning to finally let go of the idea of busy and take back my time. I have a tendency to say “yes” to everyone and everything and fill up that calendar real quick. (Which drives my husband crazy!)
My schedule is still more full then I would like it to be, but I can honestly say that I have made major steps in the area of decluttering my schedule. If you are like me and you are ready to break up with being busy, I want to share with you the four steps that have dramatically changed the way my calendar looks!
1. Say No.
Okay, you guys, this is the most important part of decluttering your schedule. (And the thing I have the hardest time with!) For the longest time, I never wanted to disappoint anyone and say no when I was invited somewhere. But, I was giving myself anxiety and wasn’t being true to who I am.
I am not someone who likes to go somewhere everyday of the week or always have plans. I cherish my time at home, with a book and my little family. So, when my calendar is full of obligations and plans, I am not at my best.
One thing that has taken me a very long time to learn is that it’s okay to say no. Repeat after me: It’s Okay To Say No! It’s okay to not want to do something. It’s okay to say no for the simple fact that you want to stay home. It’s all okay.
Today, I say no to a lot of things. I say no to travelling when I don’t feel comfortable or don’t want to spend that kind of money. I say no to holidays when there is too many people and I would rather a quiet day. I say no to running from house to house and too many plans in a week.
Tip: Practice saying no to the people closest to you who won’t get upset with you and you will start to feel more confident! Also, for help, read The Art Of Saying NO!
2. Realize You Can’t Do It All.
Particularly as moms, we sometimes feel like it is our duty to do all the things. Cook, clean, play dates, entertain the kids, homework, activities, etc are usually on our daily to do list.
But do you know what I have realized since becoming a minimalist? No one can or should do it all. No one.
When you are trying to do everything, what tends to happen is that you are taking away from the things that are meaningful to you and are important in your life. Identify what matters to you and prioritize those things first. This will make it easier to cut out the things that are cluttering your schedule and making you so busy!
3. Write Your Schedule Down.
Like I said at the beginning of this post, one thing my husband and I do each month is to fill out a dry erase calendar with important dates, birthday parties, work schedules, etc. Attached to the calendar is also a cork board where we keep reminder cards for doctor appointments, invitations for parties and the yearly school calendar with dates off.
Let me tell you, the first time we did this and saw what our schedule actually looked like, I almost cried. I had no idea until I saw it all spelled out just how busy we had become.
Writing your schedule down and seeing it all laid out in front of you is a good way to check yourself and may be a big dose of reality. Keeping track is a wonderful way to keep yourself accountable and help you decide on what to say ‘no’ to. Sit sown on the first of each month and plan out your time. Fill in as you go and make sure everything is written on the calendar.
4. Be Clear About Your Goals.
Last but not least, set your goals and be clear about them. Take some time this week to decide on how much you want to do, how busy you want to be and what you want to prioritize.
Do you want to have at least one day a week that you have no plans? Are you only willing to enroll your kids in one after school activity? Do you want to spend at least two holidays at home this year?
Each of us have different goals when it comes to decluttering our schedules and unless we figure out what those goals are, it will be much harder to accomplish them. Write them down on a piece of paper and stick them on the cork board next to your calendar or on the front of your fridge and stick with them. Make sure your partner is on board and let them weigh in with their goals as well.
Related: There Are No Rules To Minimalism
Find your balance and go for it!
At the end of the day, no matter how you decide to do it, there is no greater time than now to start decluttering your schedule and stop being so busy! Take back the time in your life for the things that truly matter and serve you where you are in your life today. This may change a week or three years from now and that is okay too!
What is one way you have decluttered your schedule?? I would love to hear from you! Comment below!