5 Lazy Ways to Simplify Your Days

by Ivory Soap on 08/25/2009

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WOW, that calendar is blue, huh?  Trick of the camera, but the more important thing is that it’s also really EMPTY. And this is a really busy week for me!

1.  We shop only once a week and refuse to go back. If we’re out of milk, that’s just how it goes, drink water.  If we’re out of apples, eat oranges.  There’s no need to have one of everything we like in the house at once.  Except toilet paper.  I will go back for that, but nothing else.  Multiple trips to the store to pick up this or that really crowd my days, so I don’t do it!

2. We use a calendar–everything on the calendar is a commitment, nothing is a commitment until it’s on the calendar.  And the calendar stays at home.  Which means, I can’t agree to anything until I think about it.  And don’t buy one of those ones where a day is a whole page, you might actually be tempted to fill it!

3.  We only agree to do what we really want to do. Saying NO is a very important part of keeping your day simple.  Just because someone else thinks we SHOULD do something as often as they wish has little impact on our decision.   “Sure I’d like to volunteer.  You can have me once every six weeks.”  “But, but, but…”  “I’m sorry, that’s all I can offer.”

4.  The day is organized around benchmarks. I have four things on my mental to do list.  8:35, 3:45, 5:00, and 7:30.  When the kids are off to school, when I get in the car line, when hubby gets home, and the kids’ bedtime.  There’s no scheduling to the minute, ever.  I just know what has to be done for those four things to happen.

5.  We have one planned activity per day. If it’s swimming lessons, then there’s no going to the PTA meeting.  If there’s a party, then there’s no meeting friends at the park.  Now, I know that sounds drastic, but if you’re like me, planning one thing a day means you’ll probably end up with two. But setting the bar that low means when something springs up on me, (as it always does) I have room in my schedule to deal with it.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa May 14, 2011 at 7:16 am


Would you consider updating your thoughts on this now that your kids are a little older and you are homeschooling? I wonder if you are sticking to this plan or if you have tweaked it abit. Just curious.

Ivory Soap May 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm

HA! I didn’t realize how old this is. Actually, homeschooling was a way to further simplify. No room moms calling wanting me to do all kinds of things.

Now that I look at it, I still do all of this. Even the benchmarks, though around different events, are at the same times.

Appliance Parts San Francisco July 30, 2011 at 3:16 am

Everybody needs to simplify the day, these are great suggestions.

Camille August 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I love, love, love this! We are starting homeschooling this year with — right from the get go as we have a 5 and a 2 year old. I am just dreading having a “schedule” (even though I am a very “scheduly” person!). I keep thinking I need a daily schedule and a “household binder”, but I don’t feel like I actually really need one. I love your guidelines and the freedom this system creates.

Wanda October 13, 2012 at 10:23 pm

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Mary October 16, 2012 at 3:27 pm

This is a great idea. Thank you!

Farmer Doug October 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm

These are great tips! As someone recently laid-off, so consequently now a full-time “farmer”, I can appreciate the temptation to fill my days with busy-ness to justify not having a formal income currently. Your tips will assist in keeping my planned accomplishments balanced and in perspective. Best regards, “Farmer Doug” at “Ladybug’s Mew in Yellow Point”.

Sara November 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Came back by to double check the laundry recipe, and saw this post. I love you! Thank you for helping me to feel less “extreme!”

I spent my children’s younger years doing way too much volunteering – newsletter and leadership for church women’s group, and similar roles with a community singing group and parent-teacher organization. Then I found I needed to homeschool.

In the course of transitioning to this new lifestyle, I realized just how much precious time I had given to these outside groups and how much I had neglected my family. Of all of these organizations that I spent so very, very much time serving, not one is in touch with me now. There were no lasting relationships – not even at church – once I wasn’t “working” for them. It was somewhat deflating to face this truth.

My scheduling has become similarly “tight” and I worried and wondered if I was reacting in this way to protect my feelings, or simply being a wiser mom. Your post is encouraging me that perhaps I’m reaching a place of balance with our commitments. Thanks so very much!

Andrea Martin June 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I *love* everything about this!
As a new mom, I have found myself “spinning my wheels” for the past 5 months (guess how old my daughter is) and desperately feeling like I need a schedule or SOMETHING to keep me feeling semi-productive. So, thank you for posting this.
I realize the most important thing I’m doing these days is raising my child – but I think I can squeeze in a few other things, too.

Ivory Soap June 7, 2013 at 11:00 am

Andrea, I was just talking to a friend the other day that is a teacher. She is home with three litle kids for the summer and is going through the same thing. It’s a weird adjustment to be off the clock. It’s like begin a farmer, where things are dictated by when people need feeding and napping. But what do you do in between? You can’t GO anywhere. I went through so many hobbies and stuff. I turned to writing and gardening to fill the time and give me a sense of accomplishment.

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