Ep 16. 7 Ways to Live Simply for the Sake of Enjoying More

I'm Ashley!

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I’m excited to share with you my favorite tips for living a simpler life for the sake of enjoying more. I want to talk to you about some strategies today that are going to pertain to time and how you manage your time, how you spend your time, but also your home and the things that you allow to come in your home and the things you allow to stay in your home. So, although we’re going to cover a variety of different topics, I want you to keep in mind, these are all going to be ways that you can slow down and simplify your life.

Hey, Mama, welcome back to the show today. I am so glad that you’ve decided to tune into today’s episode. I really feel like it’s going to be inspirational for you and help you really just home in on what’s the most important for you to live a simpler life. But before we jump into today’s topic, my heart is really heavy about the recent events that have been going on. And most recently, the murder of George Floyd. It’s been really difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that racism is still so alive and prevalent in our society. Because if I’m honest, I really didn’t understand how deep rooted this was and how real it is.

So, I just want to say to all of you that are listening right now that I am so sorry for how you’ve been impacted. If you are a black mama out there, if you are married to someone who is black or just have family members who are black, I just want to say how sorry I am that you guys have had to deal with this. I really just had no idea. So, my heart goes out to you and your family. And I pray for protection and unity as a society that we would all come together and raise awareness to put a stop to this injustice. So, I just wanted to share my heart with you guys, and let you know that I stand with you. And that I hear you and that I want to put an end to all the violence and the hate and the mistreatment and judgment that black people deal with on a daily basis. I’m here to support you in any way that I can.

Tip 1: Limit and Censor Media Consumption
So, leading right into tip number one to simplify your life is to limit and censor your media consumption. And I think this tip is such a perfect example of what we are dealing with right now. We get on Facebook and we get on Instagram and we are constantly bombarded with all of the issues that are going on in our society. Most recently, social media is blowing up about these recent racism events. But before that, it was COVID and corruption of government, and should we wear masks or not? And possible partitions going up for schools going back to session. It’s just I feel like it’s constant and never ending and it’s polarizing. We have people on either side of every situation, yelling for their side to be heard. And what happens is eventually, everyone stops listening, right? And we’re all just yelling, and the real issue is never getting solved.

So, I’m giving you permission, that it’s okay to step back, it’s okay not to be immersed in the media. It’s okay that you don’t have anything to say. It’s okay to take a break to figure out your feelings and process them. Everyone processes feelings in a different way and just because you’re silent about an issue doesn’t mean you don’t care about it. It just means that you haven’t decided how you want to take a stand yet. And shifting gears just a little bit, also media can make us want more and more and more. It’s kind of like keeping up with the Joneses, right? If you didn’t get on Pinterest and you didn’t get on Instagram and see that beautiful new bedroom set, you probably would never want it right? If you didn’t see that that Instagram influencer, just got a new Range Rover, you wouldn’t really care that your car probably isn’t the newest, right? So, we need to guard our thoughts and censor what we’re taking in, that’s going to allow us to live a simpler life.
I wanted to share with you two of my favorite verses that talk about this. So, in Proverbs 4:23 through 27, it says, above all else, guard your heart for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity, keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the path for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left, keep your foot from evil. I absolutely love that verse and I refer to it often because I do feel like as human beings, it is our job to guard our hearts. There is so much evil in the world and we cannot let ourselves be consumed by it because we will drown. It is so easy to get wrapped up in everything that’s going on and feel hopeless, but there is hope. God has given us hope and if we fix our eyes on him, He will bring about the justice that we are looking for.

This next verse is a verse that I actually quote to my children when I pray for them at night, and it is Philippians 4:8. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Again, I have to remind myself of this constantly, when horrible thoughts pop into my head, or I just start being consumed with what I’m hearing or listening to, I have to stop and pause and think, are these things pure and true and admirable? Because if they’re not, then I don’t want to be consumed by them. I’m not saying that I don’t think about the injustice in the world and I don’t think about the things that our society is dealing with. What I’m saying is that I don’t think of them in a negative way. I think of them in a way that that is something that is helpful because it’s not helpful to sit and dwell on negativity. What’s helpful is to seek out ways that we can actually be productive, how can we have uplifting conversations with people about tough issues that I feel like is where we need to be focusing our time and our energy.

Tip 2: Recognize your Capacity and Leave Margin in your Schedule
Let’s move on to tip number two, which is to recognize your capacity and leave margin in your schedule. And what I mean by recognizing your capacity, is you have to know how much you can take right? Again, going back to the media, you have to know how much influences you, you have to know what you need. For me, I get my news from my husband because I just want like the basics, I don’t want all the details. I feel really deeply about issues and I get very sensitive about it and hung up on it and I can allow it to spiral and to make me feel depressed and anxious. And so that’s one of the ways I protect myself. So that I can recognize is my capacity and my husband knows that and so you have to know what is your capacity.
Same goes for like time management, you have to know what your time capacity is. Right now, I’m in Arizona, and they have lifted the stay at home orders for COVID. And so, it feels like things are slowly starting to transition back to normal. And one of the things that I have always been a huge believer in, even pre COVID was leaving margin in my schedule and not overbooking me or my children’s schedules. So, you’ve heard me talk about in previous episodes, we do not allow our children to be in extracurricular activities or sports at the same time. We only have two kids, but we feel like we do not want to be controlled by practice schedules and responsibilities in that way.

So, when one of our children has an activity, the other one is resting and not doing anything and then they switch. And I don’t know what it’s going to look like as they get older, but for now that works for us, and that feels comfortable for us. So, I would encourage you to speak to your significant other, ask them what their capacity is? How many nights a week do they feel is okay for you guys to be booked? Do they prefer not to have stuff going on every night of the week? Maybe two nights a week is okay. I know for my husband and I, I try to make a rule of only being out of the house three nights a week because that puts him in charge of the kids when I’m working or doing sessions or meeting with potential clients and things like that.

So, it’s very important that you’re on the same page about what your capacity level is, and then making sure that you have margin in your schedule to rest. I also don’t like to plan things back to back, so I like to vary it if I have something going on one day, I don’t want to plan something that next day. And again, same with appointments, I don’t like having appointment back to back, because I always feel like I’m rushing. And that’s when I’ve noticed that my anxiety is the highest is when my schedule is too full. So I encourage you to take a look at your schedule and figure out how you can slow down, how you can stagger your appointments, and how you can live more simply by doing less and committing to less.

Tip 3: Consider the Cost of the Yes
So that leads me into tip number three, which is consider the cost of the Yes. So, whatever you say yes to, you’re saying no to something else. So, I know I talked about in my episodes that you should say yes more often to your kids, and try to get their opinion and do what they want, right? But now I’m telling you, it’s okay to say no. When it comes to your schedule, when it comes to your finances, when it comes to buying new things for your home that you might not need, consider the cost of the Yes. How is that thing going to affect you later on?

So, I’ll give you an example, I had a friend come to me and she was trying to decide if she should agree to a really amazing business opportunity. They gave her an opportunity where she was going to get a lot of visibility. She just had to do a live virtual presentation and she was super excited about it. I mean, it was the perfect situation, however, she has client work. She’s going out of town that weekend, she has a ton on her plate already personally and professionally. So, when she came to me, she was feeling very frustrated that she might have to say no to this really exciting opportunity. And I presented the question to her and I said, Well, what’s more important to you? The visibility or your sanity? And of course, when I presented it that way, she’s like, well, obviously my sanity is more important. But sometimes you have to do that, you have to consider the cost. If she said yes to the visibility, she was saying no to her sanity. So, when you are faced with those types of questions, you have to consider what I am saying no to and is it worth it.

Tip 4: Be Content Where You Are
Alright, let’s talk about tip number four, which is be content where you are. This has been the biggest game changer for me when it comes to living more minimally and more simply. I heard this quote once and I will never forget it. It said if you are not content where you are, you won’t be content where you’re going. And it’s such a simple statement, but it is so profound. We have to learn to be content in whatever season we are in. We have to be content with the things that we currently have, with the home that we have, with the financial standing that we have, with the relationships that we have. Because if we aren’t content here, right now, in this moment, it won’t matter how much money we make. It won’t matter the influence we have; it won’t matter because it will never be enough.

So, I encourage you, if you’re in that spot right now, where you feel like you’re always chasing the next best thing, because I’ve been there, and I still struggle with that. When those thoughts come into your mind, like, Oh, I need that new shiny thing, oh I need this, oh I need that. You need to take a moment and stop and think, what is it that I have right now? Why is it that I am not grateful for that thing or that relationship or that position? I think so often it’s easy for us to want the next best thing, and to just strive after more. But it’s a perpetual hamster wheel, we will never be content with more, until we learn to be content with what we have currently. And this goes back to that media consumption again, if we stop looking around at other people, and we stop comparing our homes, and our schedules, and our relationships and our income status. If we stopped looking around, we would have nothing to compare it to. We wouldn’t feel the need to have more all the time.

Hey, Mama really quick. I wanted to interrupt this episode, just to check in on you and see how you’re doing. I am so passionate about mompreneurs because I know the struggle that we all face. It’s so difficult trying to juggle raising a thriving family and a business that we love. But you know what else is really difficult, doing it alone. So, if you do not have a community of moms who are supporting you, I would love to be that community for you. You can join our free Facebook group just by visiting the, that’s M-A-M-A-S. We are waiting for you; we want to be that girl tribe that you’ve been looking for. We want you to lean on us, we want you to ask questions and get feedback and learn, that’s what we’re here for. So, Mama, if that’s you and you’re looking for our community, we would love to have you join us.

Tip 5: Declutter Often and Give Everything a Home
All right, so transitioning into these last three tips. These are going to be more heavily focused on the home. So, tip number five, for living simply for the sake of enjoying more is to declutter often and give everything a home. So, I know that you guys are probably familiar with Marie Kondo, and that whole Netflix series. It’s pretty amazing, I watched it and what stood out to me the most was, does it bring you joy? And if it doesn’t, then it shouldn’t be in your home and it’s just taking up space, it’s taking up mental clarity. It’s one more thing you have to dust, one more thing you have to think about, one more thing you have to clean. Whatever it is, if it’s not bringing you joy, and it’s not serving a purpose then it doesn’t belong in your home.
So, let me break this down a little bit for you; Organizing is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I know it sounds weird, but it is like therapeutic to me. And it’s not necessarily liked the process of organizing, although to some degree, maybe it is, but it’s more so that like transformation. So, it’s from taking a space that was completely messy and cluttered and then turning it into something that’s pretty and functional. So that to me is more of the exciting part, the actual process of like going through it and getting rid of stuff. I mean, obviously, like that’s not the fun part. I think it’s just the process of feeling a weight lifted off of me. I know as women; we tend to correlate our mental well being with the cleanliness of our home. I don’t know if that’s just me, but I don’t think it is. I think that the cleaner your home and the less cluttered it is, the more freedom you feel, the more creativity you express. I just feel like when my house is organized and neat and tidy, that I just want to start dancing, right, Like, I just have a little bounce in my step, and I feel like I’m on top of the world.

And so, what I recommend is to come up with a schedule that makes sense for you. Something that you can refer to, to help you remember to keep decluttering. So maybe you set up a day of the week, where you just focus maybe two hours a week on decluttering a new space every week. If you have more time, then that obviously, maybe it could be every day, maybe it’s 15 minutes a day and you declutter a space. It depends I guess, on how messy your space is, right? But just working that into your schedule, where you have time to sort through items, and you’re intentional about keeping the things that you absolutely use and getting rid of the things that you don’t. I know one of the big things is that we have a ton of like writing utensils. But it seems like they’re always out of lead, or the ink doesn’t work anymore. Or maybe the pen is missing a cap or it’s inevitable, right? We’re all going to find these areas that just get cluttered with so much stuff.
So, I want you to be intentional, just make the time to actually go through and do it. Some of the biggest problem areas that I think about when I think of decluttering is the kitchen; the kitchen seems to be a catch all for a lot of things. So one of the things that I work into my daily routine is I try every single day at the end of the day to make sure that the counter is cleared off, and that everything is put away that’s in the kitchen. So, we’re going to talk about this a little bit later in the next step about systems and things like that. But I think it’s important to note that there has to be time in your schedule to also clean and tidy. Because part of clutter is just a bunch of random things left out for a long period of time. So, if you have a daily clean-up time, which ours is at four o’clock every single day, my alarm goes off and says tidy up. And that reminds me that I need to remind everyone else like, hey, let’s clean up everyone, grab your stuff and put it away. And if we do that every day for 10 minutes, it’s not going to be a big to do every single week where it’s like, oh my gosh, the house is a wreck.

So, this has been a huge game changer for me is to make sure that our home is not cluttered with unnecessary things, but also that we’re maintaining it daily to keep it that way. The other thing I want to note too is that everything in your home needs to have its own home and if it does, then it doesn’t belong in your house. And I’m totally guilty of this as I speak to you. So, I want you to know that I’m not a perfect person because I have a junk drawer. But it is actually pretty organized right now because I do try to go through it and keep it intentional about what’s in there, but I do call it the junk drawer. It has things like detangling spray combs, the hair gel for my son, pens, post it notes, and then maybe a few miscellaneous things but it is fairly organized at the moment.

Then I have a spare bedroom that is full of so many things that I don’t have a home for yet. So, I’m not saying that this will be perfect all the time, it is a process and a journey, and I realized that. However, when I do bring new things into the house now I do not buy things that I do not have a home in mind for Okay, I don’t just buy things randomly, I really don’t allow my kids to bring things into the home unless they have a specific idea of where it’s going to live. A lot of the things in that junk room came from our old house when we moved, and so it’s just kind of a holding place, probably a lot of it needs to be sold. So, I just want to get your wheels spinning. I want you guys to be thinking of what can I declutter? Where’s everything going to live? And how am I going to maintain that?

Tip 6: Create Systems and Simplify Tasks
So, tip number six is going to be create systems and simplify tasks. Okay, so I want you to think about all the areas in your home right now that are driving you absolutely crazy. These are the areas that you’re just like, Oh, I don’t even want to look at it, I don’t even want to do anything with it. Those are the areas that you need to start with, because they’re the ones that clearly you use the most and they need a system. So, for us, paper clutter, shoes, dishes, calendaring. meal planning, all of those things are things that I used to dread. I still dread the meal planning, but I’ll get to that in a bit. But these are the things that you need to start with.

So, for paper clutter, I just felt like it was never ending. So, what I decided to do was to just give everything home, right. So, when my kids came home from school, and they had papers that they wanted to keep, they would go inside a little mail file that has their name on it, it would go right in there. If it were something that I needed to sign or look at, it would go in my little cubby. And then if it were just practice worksheets that they didn’t want, it would just go in the trash and I trained my kids that it was okay to get rid of things. And I do want to teach my kids that once they empty out their papers, they still do have to go through that bin. It’s not like it just sits there forever, right, it’s just kind of a holding place. So, all those papers have a home in the meantime until we can get to them. And so, it helps free up all the paper clutter that was all over the counters.

Same thing for shoes, we created a home for all the shoes to live. So, we have a bench that has specific cubbies for each of my kids to put their shoes in, and that’s where they live. And we continually have to remind them, where do your shoes go. And they’re learning that that is where their shoes live. I also mentioned that calendaring can sometimes be difficult as well. And I have a system for that, that I want to share in the next tip. Meal planning let’s get to meal planning. So that is something that has always been so frustrating to me is trying to come up with new meals, and the kids are so picky, they don’t like the meals I make. My husband and I have very little time together and we don’t typically want to sit down and do meal planning together.

So, we’ve created a very simple system that works for us. I’ve shared it before, might not work for your family. But we choose our favorite meals, our seven favorite meals and we just put them on repeat every single week. Our grocery menu looks the same, and it’s just super simple for us. And when we get tired of something, we swap it out for a different meal, but it just takes the guesswork out of it. Sometimes we change it up based on what’s on sale. But for the most part, our staples are pretty solid. We have a checklist in our cosy calendar that is like a master checklist. So, we can go in and uncheck the things that we do need and the things that we don’t need remain unchecked. So, it’s very simple for us. So, I just want you guys to be thinking, what are some different things that hold you up? What are some things that annoy you and bother you and are so hard and what are you over complicating in your life that you could completely simplify with just adding a system into your life?

Tip 7: Get Your Whole Family Involved
Okay, so let’s chat about the very last and final step, which is tip number seven, get your whole family involved. This is I feel like a no brainer, but sometimes as moms especially I feel like we do a lot of things for a lot of people. And it’s easier that way to not have to remind your kids and to train your kids. But honestly, this step is going to pay off exponentially in the long run. So, I totally encourage you to get on board with this, get your whole family involved, doesn’t matter what age they are, they can still help in some capacity. So that clean-up time that I told you about, my whole family is on board with that. It’s something that we just continually do, and my kids sometimes fight me on it, but the longer I do it and the more accountable I keep them, the less that they’re complaining.

I also make a really big deal about it when they help, saying things like thank you so much for cleaning up your space. It makes me happy to know that our counters are cleared off or that there’s no socks laying on the floor. It makes me feel happy to see that you are taking care of your things, you’re being responsible and you’re showing respect for our home. And when you put it that way, it helps empower your children to know that they make a difference in your home. So instead of looking at it negatively, like why is leaving your socks on the floor? Let them know that it’s important that they pick their socks up because when we clean up after ourselves, we show respect to our home and also to the other people who are living in our home.

So, one of my favorite tips for calendaring is to sit down with your spouse and do it together. Plan out a weekly time in your schedule where you can look at the upcoming week, look at the upcoming month. Discuss what’s going on maybe plug in date nights, schedule some time to go hang out with your friends. This is a really good time for you to actually take a look at everything that’s going on and evaluate, does all of this fit? Are we a little bit too booked this week? Maybe we should be keeping our next week open, right so we can have some rest. I also like to do the meal plan at this time too. So, I try to break it up into three different meetings, so it’s not just one big meeting. But it’s a meeting that we talk about our calendar, a meeting that we talk about the meal plan, and then a meeting where we talk about our budget. And I think if you plan out these little conversations in your week, it helps simplify all of the miscommunication that happens among families.

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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