What is the opposite of simplicity? Overwhelm! Guard against the stress in 2021 with these tips on how to take time and make time. And as you’ll see, healthy scheduling begins with the right attitude. It’s time for some soul searching, and I’m right there with you.😊

 

PERSONAL REFLECTION

What is your attitude towards busy-ness?

  • Do you wear it like a badge of honor?
  • Does it make you feel important?
  • Is it essential to your identity?

Perhaps it’s time to find your identity apart from what you do (and how much of it you do!).

Do you need to feel indispensable?

Or can you trust God with the lives and health of loved ones without micro-managing every detail?

And, how much do you care what others think of the way you spend your time?

 

A SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE

Good questions, all these.

And there’s One who knows the answers even better than you do. Because He knows you better than you know yourself! And He loves you even more.

First off, invite God into the space of this New Year. Ask for His perspective.

Time is a gift. Use it wisely. Ask how He would like you to use your time.

What are God’s priorities? Ask Him to help shift yours where they don’t match up.

Furthermore, don’t be too proud to ask for help. Other people like feeling important too, and you might just create an opportunity for someone else to use their gifts.

 

THE TWO SIDES OF SIMPLIFYING — TAKE TIME AND MAKE TIME:

 

1. MAKE TIME

So, what does simplifying 2021 look like for you?

First, it means guarding time for things that matter most.

More personal reflection. 😊

  • What is your life about?
  • What are you about, and what matters most?
  • Go ahead and set those priorities.

Maybe this means spending more quality time with your family. Developing better listening skills when hearing those you love.

Or, it could simply be enjoying more time alone!

How to Take Time and Make Time - a woman's feet in the bubble bathtub - Shutterstock

This is always at the top of my list. Because, of course, you are never really alone, are you? Moments of solitude are ripe for deepening your relationship with God.

At work, do you need to let perfectionism go, and with it the title of “best”? This “letting things slide” (where possible) frees up time — and conserves energy — to be used where you’ve decided it matters most. You’ve only got so much to give. Be wise.

 

A Simple Tool for Making Time

Making time is active. It takes courage and tenacity to save those margins for what matters most. In short, it makes simplicity possible.

Enter the pocket planner! Ah yes, you all have smartphones, but there’s something far more permanent about ink. And, did you know that writing (instead of typing) actually helps engage your mental focus?

I encourage you to try it! Give up the digital planner, or at least augment it with pen and paper. Here’s the best little purse-sized calendar I’ve found:

Emily Ley’s Simplified pocket planner (click on the image below to order yours).

 

Thin Colored Stripes - Cover of Simplified Planner by Emily Ley

Why is this such an amazing tool for time management and getting your life organized? Along with the pretty colors (which stimulate your brain and help with memory), each Monthly Overview leads with one of her Simplicity Tips. Take a peek inside:

 

Pretty Pocket Calendar - Monthly Overview with Simplicity Tip

 

 

There’s a reason why this girl is so successful. She’s got wisdom, people, and she shares it! Here are a few tidbits:

Emily’s Simplicity Tips:
  • Clean out your medicine cabinet. Trash anything expired. Restock essentials.
  • Quit something this month. Just say no.
  • Detox your social media feeds. Follow inspirational accounts. Unfollow anyone draining.

 

Each Monthly Overview page is followed by Weekly Overviews. These are the pages I use most. I love their fresh, spacious design (see below).

Inside the Simplified Pocket Planner - One Week, each day highlighted with a different color.

Emily’s calendars (aptly named Simplified) come in every size and shape. Pick one from the link above that best suits your taste and lifestyle!

 

Learn to Say No — Without the Guilt!

Just because someone asks you to do something, doesn’t mean you have to say yes. Right? Be mindful about your commitments. Don’t answer right away. Offer to think on it, or pray about it before you give your answer.

Learn to say no, and feel the tension melt from your shoulders. Your time is valuable. Invest it wisely.

If there’s no one available to do a given task, maybe it shouldn’t even be done! Or it could be delegated. If you personally must do it (whether at work or home), remember to breathe and set boundaries. Give yourself a time-frame, and a “good enough” standard.

 

2. TAKE TIME

The second side of simplifying involves slowing down and savoring what matters most to you.

This is called creating intentional space. It’s all about leaving blank margins. Blocks of time to linger.

Consider inviting God into these spaces. Scheduling unscheduled time allows God more room to move in your life — to write His story (which will always involve detours). Take time to slow down and be willing to respond as He invites you into the grand story He is already writing.

In short, this gives you time to think. Not to overthink, but to rest your mind and shift your thoughts towards the spiritual. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He moves in those gaps between your to-do’s. In so doing, you are making room for God to speak into your life.

 

IN CONCLUSION: TAKE TIME AND MAKE TIME

Simplifying eliminates the clutter. It filters life’s static so you can think, move, and not miss the whole point.

What matters most? You must answer this question for yourself. But that’s not enough. You must act on it.

Making time is active. Here’s where you carve out space (using that cute pocket calendar 😉). Taking your time — enjoying the space you’ve created — feels passive, but it is just as intentional.

Perhaps you use a few extra minutes here or there to do some breath work.

Maybe you connect with nature.

Take a walk in the forest.

Sit on a park bench in the sunshine.

Sip a yummy cup of hot cocoa and nurture simple sensory awareness.

Whatever it is, preserve those blank margins that surround your To Do List. Don’t write there. These are the white borders that frame and bring focus to what matters most.

This is mindful living, and its fruit is health and happiness.

……………………………………………..

Do you have any tips or tricks for simplifying your schedule? Please share below! I’d love to hear what’s been working for you. Blessings, Ali 😊

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