3 Ways to Simplify Everyday Life

3 Ways to Simply Everyday Family Life | Fit with Flash

Everybody’s stressed all the time. I get stressed too, but I’m ruthlessly efficient with what I take on (and what I don’t) in order to keep life as simple as possible.

I don’t have all the answers & I also don’t have small babies/toddlers around, so that makes my situation easier than others, but I refuse to let societal pressures drive my decision-making. The following are things that work for me individually & for me with my family.

Here are 3 ways to simplify everyday life:

1. Be realistic with how much time certain things take. (And pad it)

We tend to underestimate how much time certain things take to complete and overestimate how much we can actually get done in the time allotted. Having kids in the house makes everything a toss-up as well. Something that should take 5 minutes could take 45. So for the most part, give yourself a little padding.

If I know that it takes 12 minutes to drive to school, I try to leave 15 minutes early. If we’ve got an extra packed day, we put the kids on the bus.

Things always pop up whether you’ve got kids or not. It could be a missing shoe or you could hit every red light ever. Do the best you can, but planning for things to take longer than they should ensures that when shit goes wrong, you’ve got a few minutes built in to deal with it.

If I’ve only got 5 minutes before I have to leave the house, I don’t try to start laundry, load the dishwasher, & pick up the living room. I might load the dishwasher, but that’s it. I don’t try to squeeze anything else in because I know it won’t work & I’ll just be late, setting off a chain reaction of lateness & stress for the whole day.



2. Be OK with saying no to stuff you don’t realistically have time for. 

If you asked your friend to do a favor for you and they said that they would have to skip making dinner for their family & have to go through the drive-thru for dinner in order to make it happen, would you still pressure them to do it? Probably not. So don’t put the same pressure on yourself to say yes to things that will force you to miss other important aspects of life – like taking care of your basic needs.

Some things you can’t say no to – like taking care of a sick child or aging parent. Other things you can… or not volunteer for in the first place – like going to another fundraiser or party.

If I have free time to volunteer for school things like field trips or making a dish for an event, I’ll sign up to do it. If I’ve already got a ton on my plate & it’ll stress me out to take on something else, I won’t volunteer. It’s that simple.

I know it’s easy to feel pressure to be involved all the time, and if you don’t participate in extra things, you feel like you’re being judged for not be as involved as you “should” be, but there are only so many hours in the day. We don’t have to be super heroes.

Extra: See this post on Self Care & taking care of the basics before anything else. If you’re not getting these things in, you don’t have time for extras.



3. The kids will survive if they don’t do 20 sports/activities at once. 

When I was a kid, my parents allowed my brother and I to do ONE thing at a time. If I wanted to take ballet, I had to wait until I finished tee ball. If I wanted to play softball, I had to finish dance. It’s something I think is good for families, especially those with more than 2 kids. There are a shit-ton of reasons for this, but here are my top 10:

  1. Doing one sport or activity at a time keeps down costs. That shit ain’t cheap.
  2. If you’ve got lots of debt or aren’t putting money into savings/investments each month, you shouldn’t be shelling out hundreds of dollars per month into multiple kid’s programs.
  3. Having to keep track of only one or two nights per week per child is plenty.
  4. Driving to and from practices or rehearsals eats up time and gas so keeping things close to home as much as possible is ideal.
  5. Having more nights of the week where we can all have dinner together than not is important.
  6. When they reach high school, they’ll be at higher levels where they’ll be busy ALL the time. While they’re little, we might as well savor the family time and keep as little stress as possible. If your 4 year old isn’t in football, it’ll be alright.
  7. They’re not going to “miss out” on any certain thing by only doing one at a time. There are always going to be piano lessons, or soccer teams, or martial arts classes starting. It’s not like they’ll disappear.
  8. Most kids like down-time and it’s ok for them to be bored every now & then to figure out how to entertain themselves. (Our oldest would do 20 sports if we let him, but he doesn’t need to when he’s only 10. Our youngest loves being at home and playing with his toys or reading books.)
  9. Parents need time for their activities too. I take dance classes. My husband plays basketball. We both like to go climbing. Kids don’t need to get all the attention and it’s best for them to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them. As a family, we all deserve time/resources for at least one of the activities we love.
  10. When you read the thousandth story of Millennials who weren’t prepared for the workforce when they graduated, it was because their parents had them over-scheduled from the age of 3 and didn’t make them work at all. Teens don’t need to be working 20 hours a week or anything, but a small job is important for high-schoolers. If they’re doing too many sports/AP classes & don’t have time for a job, they’re going to be in for a rude awakening come graduation.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. ; )


Like I said above, I don’t have all the answers and not every work/family life is the same, but this is how I keep stressors down in my life.

What are some ways you simplify? Please share!

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