Saying no is a really good thing and I’m a firm believer in the importance of saying no to good opportunities in favor of the best ones.
But sometimes…sometimes life is just busy. A new baby, a new routine, a intentional choice to build a business, say yes to an opportunity, or pursue your passion. Needing to work extra to make ends meet.
Is being busy a sign of failure? Should it be avoided at all costs?
I don’t think so. While there is certainly danger in accepting busyness as an inevitability, there’s also danger in making simple living such an important goal that you miss out on the things that matter, the things you’re making time for by simplifying in the first place.
That said, when we’re in these seasons of busyness, it’s harder to be intentional about our decisions. We tend to go on auto pilot or enter survival mode, focusing on getting through each day rather than our priorities and values. And that’s okay for a season; it really is.
If anything, though, simple living becomes even more important during these times of busyness; however, it’s a time to look for easy wins rather than focusing on long-term goals.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
1. Identify your priorities and non-negotiables.
We talked about both of these earlier, but when things get busy your list of priorities may change or become much smaller and more focused. It’s important to identify what those essential priorities are—the most important things that you’re not willing to give up to a season of busyness—so that you can check in and see how you’re doing along the way before you get too far off course. I know sitting down to think about these things can feel overwhelming all by itself when you’re already stressed, so consider taking a short walk or a long, hot shower to just think through your list.
2. Create an easy menu plan.
If ever there was a time for an easy meal plan, this is it. Take advantage of your crockpot and embrace casseroles—both easy options that you can often throw together in a single dish with all of your food groups covered. Don’t be afraid to serve sandwiches or make exceptions to your normal eating style in favor of a few convenience foods (especially those that enable you to keep eating healthier than fast food overall!). If you’ve taught your kids to cook, now is a great time to let them loose and take advantage of their willingness to help. And finally, consider cooking double any time you do cook so that you can freeze half for another meal!
3. Set aside one day to declutter and organize.
If you can swing it, setting aside a day to declutter and organize—before you enter a busy season or even in the midst of it—can have huge benefits. With less clutter and mess, clean up will be easier each day, things will be easier to find, and the extra space will feel like a breath of fresh air.
4. Involve your family.
I think as women we often feel like we need to carry it all, especially when the thing that’s making us busy is a personal opportunity for us. But families are created to support one another, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for help from your kids and husband while you’re juggling a full plate.
It’s worth noting that it’s important to ask for or accept offers of help from friends and your community as well. People like to help, and your relationships will come out stronger if you’re honest and willing to accept their help!
5. Say no to extras.
This is probably an obvious one, but in all honesty, I have a harder time saying no to opportunities when my plate is already full, probably out of guilt. However, it’s so important to treat survival mode as its name implies and just focus on those things that are essential to survival. That may mean making time for getting together with friends if that time will leave you refreshed and ready to jump into another week, but it’s probably not the right time to say yes starting a new ministry at church or taking on other obligations.
6. Reevaluate often.
As I mentioned, the danger you have to watch for is settling into busyness as your new normal rather than a temporary state. (Ask me how I know!) One way you can do this is by regularly reevaluating your schedule and your commitments and being willing to be honest with yourself about why you’re busy and whether it’s really necessary.
ACTIVITIES & QUESTIONS
- Are you in a season of busyness or preparing to enter one? What things can you do to help simplify your life during this season?