Monday, 17 July 2017

simplifying for a calmer life

Good morning, happy brand spanking new week!

I've been thinking a lot about how to get more motivated and organised.
I spent some time over the weekend, surrounded by diaries, notebooks, bullet journals...planning and plotting, to try and instil some clarity and routine into life.
Then this morning I saw a post on Instagram with a word on the image, and I knew THAT was what I needed most right now.

{ S I M P L I F Y }

When doing anything (and I mean anything...planning, buying, cooking, sorting, cleaning, gardening, entertaining, holiday packing, present wrapping, and working) I will be keeping this one word in my head.

I'm going to be using the Summer holidays as a test period for working towards making life more simple - 

  • I'll stop trying to tackle dozens of things at once; 
  • concentrate on one task at a time giving it my full attention; 
  • I'll be clearing out the brain and the house clutter (the house sort out will most definitely help with the brain sort out...2 birds 1 stone & all that); 
  • keep my spaces clear and clean, especially my desk tops...walking into My Room on a morning, and seeing crap all over the place is hugely demotivating, and, quite frankly, pretty depressing.
    I already have two golden and very simple rules that have become firm habits, and which make my life calmer - I always make my bed in the morning, and I aim to always leave the kitchen clean and tidy before going to bed a night.
    Both of these are pretty magical. I get up in a morning and come down to a tranquil scene in the kitchen, all ready for me to start the morning routine. At the end of the day, I get to go up to bed to a welcoming room that soothes my eyes and mind, helping me wind down for sleep.
    It makes absolute sense to extend what I already know to work into other areas of my life and home;
  • make sure I have at least a rough schedule for how the week will pan out - this can be flexible and tasks/appointments can be moved around, so long as they get done by the end of the week, or I know to carry them forward to the next...bullet journal tricks!

I know that over time, there will be others to add to the list, but I'll wait until they pop into my head like lightbulb moments, rather than dredging my mind for ideas that are really just fillers for this list/post.

Without realising, I'd already taken this idea on board this weekend.

I've got a few big jobs that need tackling, all sat at the back of my mind, chuntering away whilst they await their turn.

One of these was tarting up the front garden - the gate and posts, and the black metalwork on them were in need of their annual face lift, as were the two metre box covers. 
Instead of putting them off, or doing a bit, getting distracted, and having the gate stuck in the garage for a month, obstructing the path to the door, waiting for me to get around to finishing it...I just got on with it. 
On Saturday, I took the gate off it's hinges, carried it around to the garage, cleaned it, dried it, and painted the wood and metal work on one side. 
On Sunday, I got up, turned the gate over and painted that side, then went outside and did the gate posts and latch, then cleaned and painted the metre cupboards. 
By late evening, everything was dry and Paul carried the gate back round and put it in place. 

Done. Simple. I did one job and I did it well and completed it. Lesson learned.

Now to continue the challenge!

Are you good at focusing on one task, and doing it well? 

Or are you a flitter like me, flitting from one job to the next, leaving everything half done...with no satisfaction of a job well done, and a house and garage filled with unfinished tasks, piles all over the place and in need of moving/sorting/giving to charity?

I confess though, that I find it MUCH easier to employ this one at a time rule, when there's a big project involved. 
In fact, I can get positively excited at the thought of a big project such as a big garage clear out. I wonder why I can't apply the same anticipation and diligence to lesser tasks? 
Is it due to degrees of job satisfaction? Not enough to really get my teeth into? The bigger jobs feeling more meaningful?
That's a daft way of thinking, as it's usually the little jobs that are the everyday stones in the shoe of life, and getting a couple of those out of the way could make an enormous difference to daily life. 
For example, I recently tidied a couple of shelves in our pull out larder - game changer when cooking, as I know where all the sauces, condiments etc are, and I know they're all in date! 
Hmm, yet more proof of the value of this here lesson.

SIDE NOTE: Interestingly, the art I love best to create, is the most simple* - the minute I overwork a piece, I can feel jars, and doesn't give me the same feeling of peace when I look at it.
Yet more evidence that simplicity is key for me.
(*still with lots of detail and intricacy, but 'just enough')

Right, let's do this!

Do let me know your top tips for simplifying and focusing on the task in hand...all will be welcomed with open, eager arms :)

Cheerio for now


  1. This rings so true for me too Sarah. I'm going to give this simple life a go too .
    At the moment whenever I feel the whirling dervish coming on I say the word calm, And make myself move very slowly ( instead of 100 hundred miles an hour ) It's funny because by moving with intention like that I actually get more done.
    But it's a practice, I don't always get it right. Sometimes the panicky get stuff done me takes over .
    Well done on getting stuff sorted and getting out of your frustrated funk. It's a constant annoyance for me as well ;D probably an artist thing x

    1. Oh I love that idea Helen, I'll be trying that out this week! I do think it is a personality related thing...artist + Pisces = mega daydreamer and people pleaser.

      Not great when trying to run my own business, but I can work through it, and learnt to deal with my character traits.

      I'm sure that the more you practice your 'calm' method, the sooner it will become habit, and you will find yourself automatically doing it, without realising. That can only be a good thing :) xxx

  2. I have been trying to put this into practice for a while.
    Starting the day with a manageable to-do list often leaves me with some unexpected leisure time.
    However I am a bit of a last-minute person which can get me into a panic so I need to work on that!

    1. That's great Sue!!

      I have a to do list, but I'm a beggar for not referring to it! I had a bullet journal for a few months, and found that to be really successful. I changed to a Filofax and planned on using it the same way, but it's just not happening. Perhaps I need to admit that, and go back to the bullet journal?

      In fact, I'll trial that tomorrow and see how I go on! Ooh thanks for the (inadvertent) nudge :)

      I was always a last minute, use the pressure to push me on, kind of gal. There aren't many 'must be met' deadlines when it's me pushing me - but that's whole other blog post I think! ;)

      Do you find that the last minute panic makes you dig in to get it done, and also to make those hard to make final decisions? I often thought of it as an advantage, as it the decisions I made were usually the right ones.