July 13, 2024


Mad about real estate

Simplicity – Paring Down and Preparing For the Year to Come

Simplicity – Paring Down and Preparing For the Year to Come

I was reviewing 2008 and my journal entries for the past nine months; we made ourselves very busy and perhaps we didn’t really need to. After careful thought and consideration I was contemplating how to make next year simpler and reduce the constant excessive details that seemed to consume all our time. Always, when certain things get done then we can relax. Things like: when our porch is finished, when we finish winterizing our trailer, when we finish insulating and warming the pump house, when we finish re-building the enclosure for McMuddle, our horse and of course, when we finish building the platform for our indoor wood stove and place the stove, ready for use…. the list just never seems to end. Is your list as long as mine!

In examining the inventory of things that kept us so busy, I came up with some interesting parallels. The busyness seemed always to surround most of the routine and some of the special events that came up so I created a partial list of these items which fall into two main categories: daily and important. Included in the typical tally were monitoring our investments, my endless errands to get the small stuff done, canning and making preserves for the winter, constant work for both of us, bill payments as they come in, ceaseless emails to send and answer, computer troubles to be resolved, ongoing business phone calls, conference calls, chiropractor and doctor visits, monthly mentor meetings, business meetings with our partner, income taxes to get organized and done, trade show attendance to promote our business, letters to our MP showing concern over Bill C-51, fixing the brakes on the car and the vehicle inspection for the van.

In the more specific inventory I have seminar attendances, other business meetings that came up suddenly; our plans to build our own cottage, then the constant search for a livable trailer and purchase of the one we now live in. Moving the building to the acreage and the constant cleaning I had to do. Priming the well to pump water and hooking everything up to our new residence to prepare it to be moved into. The major repairs being done to it; packing and moving! Unpacking and the months it took to set up a home again. Now that we are finally settled and have most of the work done, we have summer fallowed the garden for next spring.

In my bid for more simplicity in our lives for 2009 I have started to draw up a program to limit some of the areas that could be better managed and liberate the time that is currently being consumed by the tasks that could be grouped together and accomplished in a shorter time frame, taking my hodgepodge of commonplace chores and collecting them under certain headings to organize them. For example, under computer I have assembled the following: monitoring investments, paying bills, emailing, resolving computer difficulties, income tax information, writing letters, searches for recipes, etc. Under a sub-heading of what is required to do on a regular basis I have listed: investments, bills, emails and searches. Now I can assign a specific weekday to this sub list and follow through in the mornings on these items. I do the same with all the rest and I have a working plan to perfect as I put it into use.

To manage other elements of this continuing list, such as canning and preserves is easier because there are certain times in the year to handle them. In this category I have to arrange my garden and porch pantry. If you continue to use an agenda like this before you realize it, you will have most of what made you busy all year under control. Another huge area the requires attention is children and all that concerns them. School, trips, sports days, exams, projects, activities, lessons, special days, parent-teacher nights, early dismissals, swimming and music lessons, report cards, graduations and so on. Yet another area is birthdays, anniversaries, family and friend occasions and reunions… It’s nothing short of every single detail that makes up our daily lives and makes living worthwhile for us all! No small task when you consider what is involved in preparing a strategy to pare it down into something that is not only manageable, but simpler to use for you and the family.

To be more concise and this will take awhile to do, sit down and record everything that you and your family are involved in. From work to business obligations, school, birthdays and special events, everyday tasks. Consider who makes up your family and what part they all play in your daily life. Parents, aging parents, siblings and their families, children, teens, friends, relatives. Are some of these relationships long distance or close to hand, what do they involve for you. Also include business partners, acquaintances, etc; they require your time and attention too. Then, categorize the frequent tasks from the special; what do you do on an everyday basis and what does each component involve or require of you or a family member. Cluster the like with the like and group them together. Decide what can be done on a certain day, even time of day and if a particular feature can be delegated.

Also choose the projects you have in mind for next year to make these day by day events easier for you and yours. Mine is to plant my garden this spring so we are summer fallowing it now to prepare the soil for less weeds we will have to pull, then adding manure and shavings to it for the winter months. Planning when and what I will do for canning and preserves, from what I can and how much I will make and store in my winter pantry is also a project I am working on. Designing my winter pantry and starting to use it this year will give me a much better idea for the improvements I will need to make for the coming spring.

Making these preparations now will take the “busyness” out of being busy so I will have scaled down my schedule to something both habitual and special that we can both manage with ease, thereby gaining more enjoyment and productivity out of our time. See if some of these suggestions will work for you and help you wrestle more time out of your upcoming year for the better things in life.