Yesterday my husband and I flew home after spending a week in Colorado. I’ve learned to schedule a “buffer day” to lower my stress levels after being away. At the end of every vacation or work trip that takes me away from home, I dedicate an additional day without work, so I have a successful “reentry.”
You might think I’m a weakling. Or you might think I’m a genius! Whatever you think, this has been a game changer for me. Before I implemented this strategy, I’d come back from being out of town and go to work the very next day. (After all, I wanted to have as many days of “vacation” as possible!) Now I either schedule an additional day off or shave off a day of vacation so I have my reentry day.
Yesterday’s trip home was a doozy. It started at 3:00 a.m. Mountain Time when we had to wake up and catch a ride to the airport. Two flights and a long drive home from the airport got us home at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The upshot of that awful 3:00 a.m. wake up was that it corresponded to 5:00 a.m. at home, which is when I usually get up. Yesterday evening meant reconnecting with my daughter, getting my calendar and desk organized, and zoning out until an early bedtime.
Today was my re-entry day. Here are five random things I did today that helped simplify my life and save some money, too.
I unpacked and did laundry
When I come home, my usual protocol is to unpack immediately. This time, however, I left it until this morning. It only took about five minutes to unpack my tiny, minimal suitcase and sort my laundry into piles which went directly to the washer, and load number one was underway. I get annoyed by unpacked bags or suitcases sitting around – it makes me feel lazy and irritable. Stowing my empty suitcase got my day off to a good start.
I “shopped the closet”
In the shower, I used the last of the shampoo. Instead of adding shampoo to my shopping list, I thought I might find some extra in my daughter’s bathroom. And I did! This reminded me to always look in our supply closet before assuming we are truly out of something.
I procrastinated grocery shopping
I had originally planned to go to the grocery store first thing to stock up when we returned. But I was enjoying a leisurely morning and put off a shopping trip all the way through breakfast and lunch. Just like I “shop the closet,” today I also “shopped the pantry” and found enough to put together two meals. That meant I didn’t go to the store hungry, which is always dangerous.
I made a grocery list
Shopping the pantry also enabled me to create a thoughtful grocery list, rather than a hurried one fueled by hunger and impatience. I planned to get supplies for office lunches which will save additional money: I won’t be tempted to eat out for work lunches.
I “shopped our bookshelf”
I hope you see a theme developing here! One of my big tasks today was to get our homeschool organized for the fall semester (which starts this week for us, since we homeschool year-round). As I was completing my records for the prior year, I realized I could simplify my record-keeping going forward and save a bunch of time. This was really a matter of my pausing and questioning the way I’d always done this particular activity. Could I do this more efficiently without sacrificing the information I like to track?
I quickly created an entirely different spreadsheet for the new tracking method. Creating spreadsheets is always fun for me, by the way, so this was not in any way a tedious task. Once my new spreadsheet was complete, I surveyed the curriculum needed.
As a rule, I dislike most forms of shopping but books and homeschool curricula are two big exceptions. I started to get excited thinking about ordering a couple things to get through this fall and winter. A-Googling I went, and I won’t deny it, it was a thrill. But wait, did I truly need additional materials? What might I already have? I left the computer and went to our homeschool bookshelves.
I found a few things I had totally forgotten about. I tweaked my plan which allowed me to use what I have, versus buying new materials. I wasn’t even disappointed not to purchase the new curriculum, since a) the research and the hunt are more exciting than the actual purchase, and b) I saved money, which is always satisfying.
Voila, five random things I did today that helped to simplify my life and reduce our expenses. Here are the take-aways you might find helpful:
- Be proactive – Just do it! Don’t procrastinate! (I unpacked and did the laundry right away.)
- Be mindful! (I thought to check what we had on hand (shampoo) versus automatically adding it to the list.)
- Be creative! (I was forced to make meals creatively from the pantry.)
- Plan ahead! (I made a grocery list for the coming week to avoid spending on eating out.)
- Question your assumptions! (I questioned the way I had always done homeschool recordkeeping and decided to streamline it. In addition, I checked myself when I automatically assumed I needed to buy additional curricula.)
In what little ways did you simplify YOUR life this week? Share your thoughts below. Or if you want some like-minded friends, join the free SimpleMoney Community on Facebook to share your simplifying wins!
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