Last month, I offered a similar blog post stemming from the things I had done in January to simplify my life. That post was very popular, leading me to believe maybe I’d hit a nerve. I think people like to read about real people, and sometimes this simplifying work is not all that earth shattering. Sometimes it is the small, mundane things we do over time that can add up to big changes in the long run.
So, without further ado, here are six things I did in February to simplify my life.
I feel embarrassed even including this on the list. But in the interest of possible entertainment, I’ll let you be the judge of this “duh” moment.
My husband Greg and I use Cozi* for our family calendar. This holds information about dental appointments, vacation timing, and what days I will be at my office to work. In addition to Cozi, I still keep a paper calendar, because I just love having a paper calendar. The Cozi and paper calendars certainly do contain duplicate information, no debate. But I am not to the point of abandoning my paper yet.
Things got a bit crazier in our lives with the launch of our SimpleMoney business in 2018. Routinely, there are podcast episodes to record and produce, and videos for the membership course to record, edit, and get uploaded. Suffice it to say, there are many tasks in a given month.
I thought it would be smart to have a prominent calendar that Greg and I could use to make sure we were staying on top of various deadlines for SimpleMoney. With that in mind, I proceeded to make a laminated calendar to hang in our den. Unfortunately, I didn’t like that it was too small for even the smallest-tipped dry-erase marker. The thing looked like a mess when I wrote in tasks.
It only took about ten minutes of stewing about this calendar fail before it dawned on me. I could just enter the deadlines on our Cozi calendar. Oh my, I felt like a dumbass for not thinking of it sooner. In addition to the obvious fact that it was simpler to have only one calendar (ok, two if you count my paper calendar, but we aren’t counting that!), I know Greg checks Cozi religiously. What were the odds he would walk into the den to consult the wall calendar? Probably not good.
Only ten more minutes were required to load the deadlines into Cozi, and voila, a streamlined system to keep Greg and me on schedule.
Minimized my iPhone
During a Facebook browse, I saw a post by a newer acquaintance about how he had followed the lead of one of HIS friends and had minimized his phone. Several screens of apps were narrowed into only one or two through the use of folders. Why hadn’t I thought of this? It has crossed my mind on multiple occasions that there are plenty of apps on my phone that I don’t use, and many others that I access very infrequently.
I estimated it would only take a few minutes to enjoy the benefit of a streamlined phone, so I jumped right into action. Many apps were deleted, and I formed a handful of folders. My final result? One and a third screens of icons for apps I routinely use, and then an additional screen with all the apps contained in folders.
This was a VERY satisfying way to spend five minutes, I must say. That was a few weeks ago, but I still smile when I have to find an app on my phone! (Listen, I know you probably ALL have already done this, but I’m a bit of a techno-dinosaur. A late bloomer on all this tech …)
Tidied up computer files
Galvanized by my iPhone project success, a few days later I was listening to a webinar on my computer. When the speaker hit a topic I was familiar with, my attention drifted, and I started poking around my Dropbox folder. I’m often lazy about saving things directly to the folder required, so my main Dropbox page was full of orphaned files.
A few minutes of dragging them into the appropriate folders had a huge impact on the white space in my Dropbox! I confess that I tuned out for most of the rest of the webinar as I gleefully moved through ALL my Dropbox folders and organized them. This took about thirty minutes, and what a difference it has made! Now I have the ability to get my hands on the file I need quickly.
Sorted my files for my taxes
My simplifying work in February wasn’t limited to technology, thank goodness! Tax season is upon us, and I usually get my feet wet by doing an initial file sort. I needed to find a piece of paper I knew was in my “To File” file (more about my VERY simple filing system another day), and while I was in there, I impulsively decided to start pulling out all documents related to tax preparation.
Five minutes maximum was all it took to sort the entire file. I pulled out a blank folder and labeled it “Taxes 2018” and it was done!
There is nothing I hate more than feeling like I spent the entire week running all over town. My preference is to either tack an errand onto my way to or from the office, if it is a quick one. Alternatively, I try to get errands all lined up into a single day.
In February, I had several errands to do. I made a plan to batch them all into a single afternoon. Rowan and I had Girl Scout cookies to deliver, so I constructed a route that would get the cookies delivered and other errands completed in the least amount of time. Since most times I dislike running errands, I try to at least make a game out of the organizing of them to make it just a wee bit more enjoyable.
The cookies got delivered, the errands were completed, and it only took half a day. That was a win in my book.
Switched to a minimal wallet
Back in the fall, I did a project with my SimpleMoney Studio group where we took a critical look at what is in our wallet. Why do we carry around all this junk, and what credit cards could be closed? My goal at that time was to find a small wallet/purse that would hold my wallet stuff, but also my phone. I found the perfect purse on clearance and shifted my newly pruned wallet items over.
At that same sale, however, my daughter Rowan bought a tiny wallet. It has a window slot for an identification card, a small zippered change pocket, four (only four!) slots for cards, and of course, a section for paper money. I thought about that minimal wallet for several months, and I often commented about it.
In February, Rowan emptied her items out and gave me the tiny wallet. I thought, what the heck, I’ll experiment. I had to be very thoughtful about the four cards (plus my driver’s license) that would live in there. All the rest of my cards were put in a stack with a rubber band around them. Those cards, which include business credit cards, loyalty cards, AAA, health insurance card, etc., live in my purse, but not in my wallet.
It’s been about a month since the switch, and so far, I am loving this minimal wallet.
It all adds up
None of these recent things I did were major lifestyle changes. Instead, they were small projects or subtle shifts that led to some gains in white space in my life. Are you trying to simplify your life? Consider what small things you can do today to move you further down the path.
It all adds up.
What small steps have you taken recently to simplify your life? Share below! Or if you want to start a discussion with some like-minded friends, join the free SimpleMoney Community on Facebook to share your thoughts!
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