My favorite season of the year is here and once again, despite my vow to not overextend my schedule too much, I have once again done just that.
Do you feel this way too?
I feel like I work more and play less — and my down time is spent recharging my batteries rather than enjoying the fun activities of the season!
As much as I know that having these commitments is a true blessing, I wish I had more time — and energy — to spend with the loved ones I am working so hard to provide for.
Sound familiar?
I went back and re-read some past journals and blogs of mine and I know exactly what to do — and I am sharing some of my tried-and-true life simplification hacks to hopefully help you recharge your own batteries.
While we cannot create more hours in the day or clone ourselves there are, of course, lots of ways to maximize our waking hours so that we have more time (and energy) when we do have enjoyable downtime!
• Clean Every Day: Yes, you read that right!
How many of you are tired of spending your day off cleaning the house?
Clutter makes me crazy and tends to be what often slows me down from really giving my home that Saturday deep cleaning that it so needs after the busy work week.
I’m amazed at how quickly things pile up in my house.
By midweek, there are piles of books, mail, clothes — you name it — on counters and in piles throughout the house.
Having two teenage boys at home means that there are shoes, sports gear, school papers — you name it — pretty much all over my house.
I tell my kids that an uncluttered brain is one that learns better – and tend to find that when my house is clutter-free, my mental state is much improved.
A simple strategy to de-clutter for good is to simply take five minutes a night to de-clutter a room.
Tackle one pile at a time, de-cluttering your house space by space.
Keep a bin at the foot of the stairs to collect any piles that linger downstairs and another bin at the top of the steps.
Pick a room each night and de-clutter it for five minutes,
On Friday night, put things away and be prepared for your Saturday cleaning routine to go much smoother.
Even if you do not have time during the workweek to put everything away properly, having a place to put those piles helps eliminate a lot of mess that would otherwise make your house look a lot messier.
Give it a try and see what it does for your energy.
• Online shopping: During the height of last year’s pandemic, I discovered how much I truly loved online shopping — so many local vendors began offering home delivery and/or contactless pick-up, and so what used to take up about half of my Sunday afternoon was now accomplished in about a half-hour with my phone — usually with my feet propped up with a good Hallmark movie on in the background.
I plan meals around what is on sale anyway — and it not only streamlines my day but saves me money on those impulse buys that I was prone to get when I shopped in-store!
While I still have to shop in person for some things, I have shaved a ton of time off what was otherwise a very time-consuming chore.
Are there shopping trips that you can have either delivered or picked up outside the store?
Go ahead and try it for a week or two!
• Ditch the Device: OK, admit it: How many hours do you spend each week, perusing things on your Smartphone?
Yes, I am fully aware that I literally just told you to use your phone to online shop but what I am referring to is mindless scrolling of social media that is less than productive.
I’m as guilty as the next person — I never leave the house without my phone and often delay my bedtime by as much as an hour by aimlessly scrolling through my social media feeds.
As much as I love the connection I get from seeing photos on my Facebook or seeing updates from friends and family who I don’t see on an everyday basis, I have noticed for some time now how much time my life has become consumed by a screen.
When I was growing up, if I had to wait at the doctor’s office, I would read a book or magazine.
If we were waiting to be seated at a restaurant, we would chat or play a fun game of “20 Questions.”
These days, I spend the time perusing Facebook or Instagram instead.
Try leaving your phone in your pocket: This is harder than you think but try leaving your phone either in your purse or pocket — or even in the glove box of your car — during your next outing.
Track your usage for just a week — then find ways to use that time for something more productive or enriching!
Use the half-hour of time spent on social networking to add an exercise routine to your day or read a book.
Designate “No Phone Zones:”
My son’s school introduced a cell phone policy that I absolutely love.
While students are discouraged from bringing their cell phones to class, if they do, they are required to stash them in designated cubbies at the classroom entrance.
Try introducing this in your own home with a cute bin that stores them during designated hours.
Simply removing the temptation to check your phone will open up more opportunities for distraction-free, quality time with the ones you love — and more free time in general!
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)