living with intention – the freedom of simplicity

My photography business ebbs and flows with the seasons, but after taking three full months off to heal after surgery I was anxious to get back to work.  When my 2015 summer/fall schedule began to fill, I ignored the warning signs and took on more assignments than ever.

© Tina Vega Photography

And now that the dust has settled, I thought I would share what I learned from the craziness that ensued about money, time, and the accumulation of stuff:

The more I worked, the less time I had for doing things like grocery shopping, cooking, gardening, playing, or laundry.
The less time I had, the more money I spent on dining out, treats, and shopping online.
The more money I spent, more stuff was accumulated.
The more I accumulated, the more I wanted.
The more I wanted, the more I worked to pursue those things.

I was caught up in a vicious cycle with my overburdened schedule running the show.  Summer passed by in a blur.  By the time all was said and done, I craved simplicity.  I wanted nothing more than the ordinary, enjoyable rhythm of a pace that didn’t leave me breathless.

And now that I have it again, I feel free.  Free to say “no” to all of the extras, free to tend to my soul, free to feed my family, free to make time for others, and free to rest.  There is less clutter, less accumulation, and less stress.

We live in a world that screams “MORE IS BETTER” and we often accept this notion without second thought as we rush to achieve and accumulate far more than our schedules, finances, and bodies were ever meant to handle.  We live as if there are no limits and in doing so, create very complex and stressful lives.  The truth is simple is better and I am doing my best to live that out from this point forward.

Here are a few things I have found helpful:

1.  Remove the timewasting and money-sucking apps from your smartphone.  I haven’t regretted one deletion.

2.  Don’t say “yes” to anything new until you get a clear handle on your schedule.  Running from one commitment to the next, cutting one commitment short to accommodate another, juggling multiple schedules and activities, chronically running late, emotional eruptions – these are ALL warning signs of an overloaded schedule.

3.  Take a realistic look at your calendar before scheduling anything.  Plan ahead, giving yourself plenty of margin.  Know that parties require planning days (sometimes weeks) in advance, vacations require packing in advance, date nights require babysitters in advance – build extra time into your schedule to act as a buffer (it will save you a lot of stress in the long run).

4.  Stop, pause & think before giving away that “yes” (whether shopping or volunteering or signing your kids up for another activity).  What will that “yes” mean to your family?  Your finances?  Your schedule?  What will that “yes” mean to you?

5.  And remember, simple is better.

If you are interested living more intentionally, be sure to do your homework and visit my blog next Wednesday!  [If you’re looking to go even further, check out Intentional Gatherings.]

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