In 2010 Francine Jay’s “The Joy of Less” was published and slowly but surely ‘Decluttering’ has become a thing. As Maureen O’Connor said “Decluttering is the new Juice cleanse”. We all love the idea of a minimalist home. A minimalist lifestyle and potential minimal stress the lifestyle promises. However, only a few of us actually manage it.
Personally I am clutter queen. As I sit writing this I am surrounded by a few piles of projects I am working on and I have a bag of donated clothes and belongs to explore on my break. (Kindly donated by someone who is decluttering their own home. There is some irony there). Let’s face it I am a borderline hoarder.
This coming month I have decided to dedicate a month to clearing and decluttering my life. (It’s a part of my happiness project February theme). And I’d like to invite you along for the ride. But before I throw myself into reaching my goals of 50% less stuff, cleansing my diet and clearing my garden. I want to share with you a secret. A secret that I believe is the biggest key to work/life balance and in general a life of minimized stress. The art of decluttering your time
This is one aspect of my life where I am am a master declutterer. My time. For the last 4 years I have become seriously good at not overloading myself and becoming efficient. My work is done and my free time, is mine. No matter how much stuff I have around me, I know what I am doing and when I am doing it. Decluttering my time has given me, well more time. More freedom and funnily enough the ability to accept and let go of things in a way I didn’t think possible. So would you like to know how?
Here is my simple guide to decluttering your time. It takes a little while so don’t expect to have this in the bag overnight. Just keep on going taking baby steps. And eventually you will find that like me you have become the Master of your own time and have time to spare!
Minimize decision stress and create healthy habits
This was the ultimate step for me. There are many mundane things we have to do in a day that take time and energy. Hundreds of decisions about when are we going to wash up, food shop, what am I going to eat, have I remembered to do the washing. I like many of us got so sick of these tasks. I resented them. Procrastinated, which took more of my energy and it all became an unmanageable mess. Until I created a habits schedule. Basically I looked at my skeleton week. And plotted these things in. Empty the dishwasher in the morning. Create a weekly meal plan and then shop one day a week. I minimized the clothes wash down to 3 times a week and allocated a time when I would actually put the clothes away. I also plotted breaks, training and me time in. Now the week doesn’t always run to schedule. However I have this back bone rhythm in my life that I return to as a foundation. It gave me a huge boost of time and things got done. Maybe not in the Disney princess the animals come in and magically clean the house situation. But in a way that I felt as if they had.
So the trick is simple. Look at the mundane tasks you have to do in a week. See how you can dedicate specific times to doing that in your weekly rhythm and then plot them into a weekly schedule. This is my current schedule which you can use as a template for your own.
You will notice I don’t allocate specific times for jobs just an area of the day to do them such as morning, afternoon and evening. I also don’t fill it with the little five minute jobs like emptying the cat trays or getting the post. This schedule is for the big jobs that take chunks of time. And the bonus if you have kids is that they really respond well to this kind of structure too.
Choose an end of day time
This has been another light bulb in decluttering my time. And a light at the end of the tunnel on the more challenging days. An end of the day time is that point in the day where you are doing nothing you have to do. No house work. No work. No calling people. No just have to send that email. Nothing. I am lucky in that we don’t have kids so my end of day time is earlier than most people with a family. Mine is dinner time. I make the food so Mr T does the dishes. 5 days a week after dinner that is it. I am done. That is my time to indulge in my hobbies, relax, take a long bath, read. It means that I have to plan my work day according to the time I have from getting up to 19:30. And as that end of day time is so damn precious to me I get my stuff done. It reminds me to put myself first. And means I have gotten good at saying ‘well I didn’t get that done today but that’s OK. I will rest tonight and make it the most important thing to do tomorrow’. I have more energy and more freedom. My clients who have kids do this too. Even if it is just an hour before bed, having the end of day time allows you to relax, reboot and be ready for the next day.
These are the two most important starting bricks for decluttering your time. There are many other time management strategies out there and you can read some of my articles about them here on the blog. These two are special because they focus on your life. And it’s all well and good having things you want to achieve and tasks to do, but if you don’t have your everyday life in order and know when you are taking some rest you are not going to have the energy to do all that stuff.
Take a step to declutter your time this week and join me next week as I embark on my month of February cleanse and find out which area of my life I am going to declutter next – right after I check out that bag of stuff 😉
Have a great week <3