One of the quickest ways you can simplify ANY AREA of your life is to give yourself fewer choices.
There are many studies that tell us that having too many choices is a problem.
When we have to choose from 100 menu items, or 17 career options, or 200 books to read – our brain feels overwhelmed and we encounter DECISION FATIGUE (we lose our drive to make wise and thoughtful decisions) and DECISION PARALYSIS (we freeze and can’t make a decision at all).
It is TOO MUCH information to even filter through to know which is the best option for us.
We live in a saturated world of decisions we need to make for us and our kids and we feel the overload of options, we might avoid choices, we might be scared we will make the wrong choice, we might be second-guessing our choices, we are wondering if we are doing life right, wondering why it is so hard for us, and how to make ‘good decisions’.
YOU AREN’T DOING IT WRONG, you just need less of the distractions that keep you from making the choices that give you a healthier and simpler life!
Here are some places you can give yourself fewer options so you don’t experience decision fatigue or decision paralysis.
I have experienced the benefits of this first hand [Related: 6 Unexpected Ways Having Less Clothes Has Made My Life Easier]. I have spent the past few years really editing down my wardrobe to clothes I love. I know that I can put on most anything in my closet and it will work together and I will enjoy wearing it. [Related: Style for the Reluctant Mom]
Some people even wear a ‘uniform’ to work and I love that idea! Maybe they wear a white shirt and black pants each day.
I find myself doing that by accident, wearing the same ‘uniform’ for work days or different routine events in my week.
Less menu options
I call this the ‘food uniform’ – you may recall I told you a while back I often eat the same 2 options for lunch and for breakfast. The guesswork is gone, the ingredients are in the fridge, I show up and make the food.
Some people even use this for their weekly meal plannings ‘pasta night’ ‘soup night’ ‘sandwich night’. It reduces the need for decision making.
I’m a big fan of less toys. You may remember the time I took half my kid’s toys away when they covered their room in baby powder, twice in one day. You can read about it here: What happened when I took away half of my kids’ toys When I took away all these toys, they were fine!
Do you ever notice that kids play with whatever is RIGHT IN FRONT of them? A rock, old slippers, a roll of tape. They don’t NEED a lot of toys to play. On the flip side, when they are in a room FULL of toys they seem to just bounce from one thing to another without really engaging in one spot for very long.
If we get overwhelmed with so many toys and options, it would make sense that they are too.
When you give yourself fewer options about how you will spend your time, the priority things will come to the forefront. For instance, most afternoons when it is just me and my youngest (4.5yr) we watch a cooking show together and I do laundry. Or he watches a cooking show and I make phone calls, make appointments, and send emails. There are a lot of things we COULD do – I could take him to different activities or places – but I give myself these two options to make sure these things get done, we get time together and I am not rushing around to different activities before the older kids get home.
There are a few ways people give themselves fewer choices when it comes to spending. Some only shop at the same stores – which I can appreciate every time I go to the mall. Some stick to a budget that dictates the few places their money can be spent. Some ditch the loans and credit cards so you don’t have all these options to pay your way with. For us, we have loved using this envelope tracking system from Fun, Cheap or Free.
My older two kids are in elementary school and it seems every month there is a birthday they are invited to. For a while, I would stock up when we were out of town on bday gifts. Lego and Uno for the boys, craft stuff for the girls. I live in a small town and can’t always keep up on this, but I did notice how much easier it made prepping for birthdays.
If you love something, or your kids love something, buy a little supply to give away as gifts to your friends and theirs. Better yet, keep a list of EXPERIENCES you can gift them [Related: Giving Experiences Instead of Gifts]. Even stock up on the same card to give out for different occasions. It saves an hour of your life shopping around town.
less ‘fly by the seat of your pants’
Becoming a mom has made me more of a planner. Mostly because, if I don’t have a plan or routine, then things don’t get done. [Related: Plan Your Day, Change Your Life]
When my husband is at work for the week, me and kids follow a routine of movie nights, bath days, chore days, etc. This helps us make sure these things get done and then I plan in all the other stuff around this time (unless something good comes up, like sourdough waffles or a hike with friends!)
less social media/groups
As a blogger, there is a lot of pressure to be on all the social media. I don’t think it is just bloggers. I think everyone feels like they need to be in the ‘right place’ but aren’t really sure which place that is. Whether you are looking for ONLINE COMMUNITY or OFFLINE COMMUNITY – the right place for you is wherever you go ALL IN. Don’t join 5 different clubs, don’t download 5 different social apps – just pick one or two and SHOW UP there.
I mean, a minimalist blog will always tell you to have less stuff. But think of the overwhelm you feel when you look at a garage full of sports equipment, or a pantry full of baking supplies, or a cupboard full of hobby supplies.
We all accumulate this stuff we ideally would like use/do/wear but we don’t make the time to use it/wear it/do it.
You can let this stuff go. It is cluttering up your identity and your home. Focus in on the things you love doing with your time/space and get rid of the excess. [Related: The Simplify Your Home Page]
Where can you use fewer choices in your life?
Join in Simple Saturdays
Simple Saturdays is bi-weekly encouragement to help moms simplify their life and live with more passion and purpose.
It is an email newsletter, also in podcast form!
It isn't just any old email! It is a fun, quick read of insights, tips and references for everything simple, on purpose, and waffles.