Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but I limped into the final month or so of December without a lot of energy left for the busy holiday season.
I am not sure if I overestimate my time or just need to budget my time a bit better but the past few months have reiterated my need to simplify my schedule.
While simple living is different for each person, for me and for most folks in general, a simplified life means that you are getting rid of any extra mental and physical clutter, so that you can have more time for the things that actually matter to you.
In 2019, my challenge to myself and to you — is to identify those things that bring you joy and purge those things that do not.
Get Organized: I don’t know about you, but I waste a lot of my time looking for things.
Statistics indicate that the average person spends 12 days a year looking for things.
Can you imagine what you could get accomplished if you had that dozen or so days back?
Use the New Year as an excuse to hit the reset button on your life and get you and your family organized!
Buy an organizer, subscribe to one of the many organizational apps and purchase storage cubes or other organizers to help consolidate your physical items.
For example, my kids spend each day looking for their shoes.
I cannot tell you how many days I have stood outside, waving to their bus driver to hold tight while my son runs through the house, looking for his shoes!
My solution? All shoes have a home in a specially designated cubby — next to the door — so they are easy to take off and put on, right where they need them.
The same goes for coats and gloves — anything that we can streamline to make coming and going is a good place to start.
As far as organizers go, keep this simple, too.
Why spend money on a paper organizer if the rest of your life is highly digital?
Research both paper and digital organizers and see which suits your life — and put it to you in 2019!
Digital Detox: Oh boy, am I guilty of spending a ton of time on social media.
Social media can be a great way to stay in touch with people but I can really get dragged into the aimless scrolling and before I realize it, an hour has passed by.
I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent scrolling through my social media feed.
Between Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and others, there are a lot of ways to waste a lot of time.
I tracked my usage one Saturday at three hours!
According to some articles I have read (on my social media feed of course), the average person spends over five hours a day on their devices!
Can you imagine all the productivity you would have even if you put half of those hours back into other tasks and activities!
If I had even two extra hours, I could add exercise, more sleep and meaningful time with my kids!
Those activities give me a lot more joy than any aimless scrolling ever could!
Here is my challenge to you in 2019: Limit your social media usage to just an hour a day — that can be at the beginning or end of the day or even three or four 15-minute increments throughout the day.
Do this for a week and write down some things you were able to get done instead.
I suspect the detox will be easier than you think.
Cut the Cord: While we are talking about screen time, let’s look at the amount of time we spend watching television.
Cutting our screen time can help you save money by cutting out costly cable and streaming service bills.
Our family has gotten to the point where we would all be recording so many series that we were becoming slaves to our television.
Growing up, television for our family was something you did when there was nothing else to do, or if the weather was inclement.
While I am not advocating that you stop watching television altogether — I am not sure I can miss my weekly “This is Us” fix — cutting back on the television time can free up a ton of time for things you may not even realize you are neglecting!
It may seem to be a relaxing way to spend your free time, vegging out in front of your television but if you tracked all those hours, I am pretty sure you would be stunned at how much time you actually spend embracing your inner coach potato.
Can you imagine what you could do by just taking half or even a third of those hours back each week?
You could have more time for your family, friends and all of those things that you never have the time to get to.
Swap out one hour of TV time a week for an extra hour of sleep, try swapping another hour for a family game night, a date night with your sweetheart or a friends’ coffee or tea time.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you don’t miss that time in front of the TV — and how much happier your heart and mind will be.
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)