Simplify Everything

2018 has been rough - started with my mom's hip surgery at the end of January and then my dad had a small heart attack shortly after that in February.  And then of course the end of March sucked.  We all know that.  The beginning on April was full of the usual sad events and feelings of intense anger and frustration.  Along with a general lack of wanting to do anything but read books, because entering a totally different world and mentally leaving yours behind is clearly appealing, and decorate our house, because it's nice to nest and completely control something, anything, when the life outside your walls is something you can never control. And then in May, I suddenly felt a huge desire to simplify absolutely everything in my life.  Which was sort of a weird feeling to have come out of all that, but let me explain.

I just had too much to do that I didn't want to do.  It's not necessarily a feeling of overwhelm.  I really don't have that much to do, it's not a matter of scheduling or falling behind.  I think it's more like a matter of the things I am spending time doing or worrying about, things I keep putting off and clearly don't actually need to get done if I've been able to avoid them for 2 months, don't align with my core values.  Mine, if we're just talking the top 3, would be family and friends, security (stability, loyalty, order, comfort of the familiar - adventurous non-planner I am decidedly not), and simplicity.  And I think that organization and frugality are high on my list just because of how they relate to simplicity (and security) in my mind.

I landed on this idea of core values after I (a) easily blew off my word of the year, health, in April and May, because clearly health is not a core value of mine, even if I want it to be and (b) started working one of the 101 list tasks I set up - identify and simplify 10 things that normally stress me out, pretty much solely due to the fact that I make them too complicated.  I went into that goal knowing that I could simplify my makeup routine in the morning and downsize the contents of my purse.  I didn't realize how much better I would feel once I started doing those things, but it makes sense when I think about how important simplicity is to me, across my entire life.  Not just minimizing my stuff, which I'm obviously a pro at, but weeding out all the things that I stress myself out with.  The more I work through these things, the better I feel, so I've been making a list and systematically simplifying everything.  Every time I feel myself resisting something on my to do list, I question whether it needs to be on there at all, and why.

One that I wasn't really anticipating was simplifying social media.  Which I just took care of and it's been a big weight lifted, because it's been one less thing to spend my time on, a thing I didn't really value in the first place.  Isn't that silly?  That things like sorting out my Pinterest boards and hashtag lists were even on my to do list in the first place?  (Silly for someone who doesn't make or even want to make a living online, that is.)

I haven't had Facebook in a decade, so I've never had it for the blog and I figured at least that was simple, right?  But it occurred to me (as I was checking 'streamline the Instagram process' off the 101 list) that I was definitely still spending way too much time on the other sites.  And that's probably one of the reasons that I haven't felt much like blogging the last couple of months - not because I didn't want to do the writing aspect of it, but because I didn't want to do all of the promotional nonsense that's 'supposed to' be done after you hit publish.  You have to have pinnable pictures and then you had to re-tweet the post multiple times a day and then publish a photo to Instagram that had something to do with the post and then pick 30 perfect hashtags with it and then and then and then.

No more 'and then.'  (Picture Ashton Kutcher yelling at a Chinese lady in a drive thru right now.  Jeez I wonder how old that movie is...)  It's not worth it to me to focus on Instagram hashtags and Pinterest page views, since it all really just comes back to being able to make a profit off this blog and the various social media accounts.  Which is not a priority for me anymore and certainly not something to spend a lot of time trying to perfect, because 'wealth' and 'hustle' are not among my core values.  No judgment if they're yours, of course, they just aren't mine.

Wondering what I did to consider it simplified?  Well, it still auto-tweets my new posts to Twitter but that's about it.  I don't sign into Twitter, I cancelled HootSuite, turned off the 'business account' version of Instagram and Pinterest so there's no information hitting about stats or anything like that.  Deleted BoardBooster for managing Pinterest, and saved myself $5 a month in the process.  I don't use many hashtags (and none that would be considered promotional.)  Deleted all the apps on my phone except Instagram, and I only post when I feel like it.  And all my stories are just of Hawkeye.  It was always easier to apply minimalism to stuff than it was to time or digital clutter, I guess, but I'm working it out.  Simplify everything.

There's other things that are already running through my mind that need to be simplified.  My meals don't need 27 ingredients.  Nor do my cocktails.  Meal planning should take mere minutes and I should be able to get out the door before work in under 10 if I wanted to.  The shopping ban I'm in the middle of has been a big one on my mind - the original rules for my shopping ban are here.  But it's not that easy, or at least it hasn't been.  Because there's a lot of categories I didn't have restrictions on at all, a lot of things I made too many loopholes for.  Too many things to track.  And then the whole thought process of 'is this a shopping ban violation or not?' spirals out of control which is the exact opposite of how simple it should be.  I have an idea of how I'm going to address that, but this post is already too long so maybe that will come next week.

Clearly, I value simplicity for simplicity's sake, for the calm in brings to my mind and the time it frees up in my schedule.  But that's also why I value it in relation to my other core values.  It brings comfort and order and security, and the time it frees up allows me to drop anything and everything if my family needs me, like when my cousin needs a drink or my dad needs a ride to a doctor's appointment.  So that's where I am right now.  Simplify everything.

Like leaving the office today by noon to enjoy my long weekend because I simplified this week's work right off my calendar.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  You can also join me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.  In addition to minimalism and organizing, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #notentirelyperfect on social media so I can see your beautifully unstaged life.  On the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or subscribe via e-mail to be alerted to each new post.

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