I strive to simplify my life. Here are five ideas that I currently use.
- Eat The Same Meals Regularly
People tend to forget how much time food takes in ones’ life. The planning, shopping, prepping, cooking and clean up. I used to watch my mother prepare meals for hours only to have them eaten in 10 minutes. It is a multi prong activity. Some people really enjoy it. I am not one of those. Several years ago I made a general outline of meals that I could see myself being able to make consistently. I could eat the same types of meals weekly.
My breakfast consists of no cook, refrigerator steel cut oats. Here is the recipe:
- ¼ cup steel cut oats
- 1 tbsp flaxseed
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- ½ tbsp pumpkin seeds
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp craisins (optional)
- ¾ cup almond milk
I add the ingredients into a 2 cup mason jar, mix the contents and store it in my refrigerator. I make these on Sunday afternoons and have them ready to eat all week.
My lunches usually consist of a green smoothie or avocado toast.
My dinners consist of one of three meals that I rotate throughout the week.
- Sweet potatoes made in my instant pot, ½ cup beans, vegetables and salsa
- Tofu fried rice made in my rice cooker with additional vegetables
- Pasta with additional vegetables
I find these meals easy to make, store well, and finicky eaters can easily add extra to their meals with this general template. Furthermore I am able to leave about one night per week for randomness. We tend to dine out, eat frozen pizza or have a “no rules, no cooking night.” The kids love this as they see that many things could constitute dinner. Because that’s how many people survived university!
2. Simplify Exercise
I am a huge believer that my weight and health are likely 80% dictated by diet. Therefore when it comes to exercise I tend to be efficient. I group exercise into two basic categories.
- Weight training with compound exercises
- Bench press
- Improve/ add weight consistently with a plan
- Go for a run or walks daily
None of these take much time. I have free weights in my basement which allow me to have zero travel time. My current workout is a one-lift-a-day routine. For example, on back squat day, after warming up I proceed to perform 5 sets of 5 repetitions with a 1 minute rest between the sets. This has been working well since it takes about 10 minutes a day. The goal with strength training is to keep it simple and to keep track so that I can plan for increasing weights. I also started running in 2018. I run about 1-2 miles and it feels great to start again. It ain’t pretty to watch but I have a massive grin for the rest of the day after I complete my run.
3. Limit Shopping To Once Weekly
I really, really, really dislike shopping. If my groceries could be delivered each week, I would be supremely happy. I do not use grocery delivery companies yet as I find they are not the best value. So for now I still schlep my rounds through my weekly grocery stores. I definitely use a list and tend not to stray with my purchases. I also set up a metal rack in my basement and buy extras when items are on sale. That allows me to “shop” my own supplies rather than run out at the last minute. Very effective and efficient for your non perishable goods.
4. Limit Laundry & Cleaning To Once Weekly
I make a list for cleaning. But I use the list to make sure I do NOT clean the same thing again. It is not so much a to do list but a make sure I do NOT do this twice list! Once the week is over, I review the list and start the next week with the area that I had not cleaned the previous week.
I tend to do most of my laundry on Sundays. This allows everyone in the household to know when to throw all their clothes into the hampers. Limiting laundry to minimal dry cleaning items also simplifies your life.
5. Have An Outfit
I have been wearing my own version of an outfit since I was in high school. My outfit in the 80’s comprised of a sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers. During my final year of high school I bought five sweatshirts of different colors and 3 pairs of jeans- grey, blue and black. NO ONE appeared to notice that I wore the same types of clothing. It certainly made getting dressed a snap. I understand many women love fashion. But I sure didn’t enjoy it so this worked very well for me.
Nowadays I have continued the theme. I buy most of my clothing from Patagonia since their clothes are very durable and many of my clothes have continued to last and last and last. And since no one noticed what I wore when I was 17 years old, they certainly tend not to notice nowadays. Sweet!
This is a short list of things that have worked to simplify my life. I crave simplicity. I enjoy doing less and to allow myself breathing room on a regular basis. Being busy is not my modus operandi. I often reply “not much” when people ask me what I am doing. I notice most people start stating how busy they are ALL. THE. TIME. Seriously, I spend a lot of my time doing not much. It could be that I have worked to develop systems in my life. I regularly see how little I can do to get similar results. Most people would be surprised if they ran those experiments in their lives.
Thus my proposal for most folks is to start making a “to do less” list. It is very refreshing indeed. Continue to cull not only your possessions but your activities as well. And all the obligations, question those too. May your 2018 year be less busy!