Most people have heard of the idea of using minimalism to declutter their lives. If you buy fewer materialistic possessions, you have less “stuff” to take care of, and you have more money and time. While that is certainly a good foundation, minimalism is an approach that can be applied to other areas of your life as well.
Taking Control of Your Schedule
If taking control of your clutter could make you feel better, imagine how much better off you would feel if you took control of your schedule. Learning how to organize your life will help you a lot, taking away that constant nagging feeling that there’s not enough time in the day to do everything that you need to get done. Read on to learn how you can take minimalism in your life one step further with minimalist scheduling.
The Art of Saying No
Many individuals were raised to be people pleasers. If someone needs help, they’re inclined to say “yes” automatically then figure out how to fit whatever they just agreed to into their schedule later. Learning how to say no politely but effectively is the biggest leap forward you can make in learning how to organize your life to take the stress away.1
Figure Out Your Priorities
Think about what is important to you. What do you really care about? Not the things that you think you should care about, but the things that you really cannot do without. For most people, family and close friends will be somewhere on that list.
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You might also decide that you really have always wanted to learn a new language, and if you need to take classes with that one great teacher, you would turn down a promotion at work if the longer hours would clash with the classes.
Perhaps you’re moving and need to balance being close to family, having a big house, and living in an area with hills to go running in because you love the countryside. Would you take a smaller house or a longer commute if the location was better? What will you spend time on, and what isn’t worth your time?
Use a Paper Schedule
A lot of people use bullet journals to help them organize their day. This is a minimalistic way of journaling that helps people keep track of to-do lists and notes easily.2 Bullet journaling is easy to learn, and the best part is that you can do it in any notepad—you don’t need a special journal.
If you write something in your bullet journal and then keep moving it to another day without ever getting it done, consider scratching the task off your to-do list if it is not one that is a legal or financial requirement. Anything that you never get around to doing clearly isn’t that important.
Trim Your Friends List
Think about the people that you spend time with. Do they really bring you joy? You may have heard the saying “you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with,” and there’s a lot of truth to that saying.
In fact, some researchers believe that the “influence of friends” goes further than just that immediate small circle.3 Your friends, and their friends, and even the next level out will have an impact on you by association.
So, think carefully about who you spend time with, and what you’re doing. If you’re not really looking forward to going to that school reunion, don’t do it. If you’re meeting up with friends and it feels like the connection isn’t there anymore, maybe it’s time to move on.
Everyone has limited time, so spend it with people that are a good influence on you and that make you happy. Whether that means joining a writing group, taking up a sport, or spending your time volunteering for a charity, everyone has their own values for what really matters. Be true to yours.
Make Time for What Matters
Minimalist scheduling means reducing the list of important things until you can fit everything in without stress. This may mean adding some more structure. Get up at a fixed time, and designate a time of day that you will get work done—this is particularly important if you work from home. Accept that you might have to let things slide sometimes in order to make time for others, but don’t let yourself procrastinate.
Log out of Facebook while you’re working, then relax properly when you’re done—which will probably more quickly if you’re not splitting your attention between your work and surfing the web. When you’re done, give yourself some time to relax with a bath, yoga, or essential oils.
Essential oils can be used topically or aromatically to enhance productivity for later on in the day or to relax you before you go to sleep at night. Try Vibrant MONQ to inspire you so that you can get creative or pick up Forest MONQ to make you feel powerful before you head to the gym.
Scheduling should be a long-term practice. Most people are creatures of habit, so figuring out what matters on a month-to-month basis will help you to build a schedule that really works. Set a pattern, and start saying “no” to anything that might threaten that pattern or isn’t truly that important to you. For instance, if you always get ahead of your schoolwork on a Sunday afternoon, make that a hard boundary and don’t let people convince you to go out on a Sunday.
If you’re committed to taking your child or little brother to soccer practice on a Tuesday night, you can’t really back out of that commitment, so if you’re struggling with it, think about what else you can do to make Tuesdays easier. Could you meal prep so you’re not rushing to cook? Could you change shifts to start later on Wednesday so you have a bit more time the following morning? There’s usually something that you can do to make your life work for you.
Be patient, set boundaries, and you’ll be able to successfully take control of your schedule.
Photo credits: JosieElias/shutterstock.com, fizkes/shutterstock.com