Minimalism: Simplifying Your Schedule

Feel like you’re running in a million different directions?

Most of the time, I think Americans run their life from 3 feet above their head. We don’t take time to sit and be here. In the moment, in this room, on this chair. It’s a rather disjointed life.

Simplify your schedule.

Children: When did it become a requirement that in order to be a good parent we have to enroll our children in martial arts, gymnastics, sports, music lessons, art and dance lessons? Do they really need that to be well rounded individuals?
What would happen if they just got to be kids? Develop an imagination, perhaps?

Adults: Say no. Our value doesn’t depend on the projects we take on at work, in the PTA, at church or clubs. Learn to relax, sit on the front porch. Visit with the neighbors that happen by.
Some volunteer positions are very worthwhile, but be picky. Put your current relationships first: Is God your priority? You spouse? Children? Parents? Friends?

Is it beneficial to join another book club, community band or choir? Think through your schedule very carefully and step back from activities if it lowers your quality of family life and health.

Meals: Striving for real foods… food takes time. Yes, we can simplify the process and ingredients, but it’s still “slow food”. Allow yourself time to slow down as well.
The more activities planned, the more excuses we come up with for getting pizza delivered… and the guilt that comes with it, knowing that’s not the type of dinner you want to feed your family.

Have an errand day: This does take some forethought, but it does simplify ones life. Keep a grocery list going through the week and write down the errands that need to be done: bank, post office, etc.
Purchase as much as you can online, having it mailed right to your door. Amazon is a great way to get groceries or household goods without having to be out and about all day.

Limit screen time: The TV sucks too much of our life away. Prioritize your viewing and your children’s viewing. Don’t allow it to be background noise all day. If you have shows you enjoy watching, analyze why you are watching them. Are they worthwhile?

If you’re ready to take the plunge- get rid of the TV altogether!
If you’re not there quite yet, limit times of day the TV is on. Don’t allow yourself to be on the computer all day either. Figure out how much time you really need in the morning to check your emails, close the screen and go enjoy life.

Life isn’t facebook. Don’t allow facebook to rule it.
30 minutes a day is plenty of screen time for children- let them choose how to spend it: TV, movie, video games. Give them a timer to keep track of their own time and as soon as it buzzes, they can turn off the screen and go exercise their mind!

Get outdoors: Take time to walk. Go to a wildlife park or garden in your city. Watch for wild animals- even in the city you can spot different birds and squirrels. Slow down enough to notice. Take up gardening in your own space- community gardens, container gardens on apartment patios or if you have a large enough yard, start one there. Watch something grow. This is where you live, give yourself the freedom to see what it’s like.

Lead by example.

Most people do not want to work so much plus have so many extra activities. There seems to be a false sense of value attached to activities. But it’s relationships that add value. Can you build relationships in your activities? Or is it time to let some go?

Leave a comment and tell me how you have simplified your schedule.

For more on minimalism, click here.

About the author, Rachel

Hi there! I’m the Joyful Space Specialist. it’s my desire help others create a joyful space of their own and enjoy their time spent at home.


  1. Rozy Lass on 09/26/2012 at 3:19 AM

    Excellent advice, thanks for sharing.

  2. Natalie on 09/27/2012 at 3:58 PM

    Love your blog, Rachelle! Great tips! We are constantly working on simplifying because it is SOO neccesary with 7 people in a 3 bedroom house…. as you know. 🙂 Keep ’em coming!

    • Rachel on 09/27/2012 at 8:41 PM

      Thanks Natalie! Glad you “stopped” by! 🙂

  3. Natalie on 09/27/2012 at 4:00 PM

    Oops! Sorry I spelled your name wrong. That is my middle name (pronounced “rah- shell”)

  4. The Crunchy Mama on 01/24/2013 at 6:51 PM

    I occasionally speak to MOPS groups and in my speech I share basically what you are saying in this post.

  5. Christine on 04/28/2013 at 12:35 AM

    I need to read this post with my husband.
    Thanks for posting.

  6. vinceleste on 06/17/2013 at 11:20 PM

    I’m fond reading articles like this. Helps me deal with my goal… “Live Life with Less” 🙂

  7. DKA on 11/23/2013 at 2:11 PM

    Well said. Thanks for the reality check.

  8. DKA on 11/23/2013 at 2:11 PM

    Well said. Thanks for the reality check.

  9. Mira Dessy, author The Pantry Principle on 11/23/2013 at 5:57 PM

    Great tips. It’s so important to maintaining a healthy life that we stop and evaluate every now and again if what we’re doing is really working for us or if we’re just spinning more plates.

  10. Cate on 08/03/2016 at 4:04 PM

    But what if your kids want to do extracurricular activities?

    • Rachel on 08/04/2016 at 2:14 PM

      It definitely depends on your family and your children, so you know best. When we have done extracurricular activities, my boundaries was one at a time/per year. My kids took piano lessons for several years, and then, after that one of my boys was in cross country. I have a friend that her boys only do soccer, and so they are busy, but it’s just for a season and they are doing it together.

  11. jake hoff on 07/01/2017 at 9:11 AM

    I am now past the children stage, and have found that one of the issues of the older adult is that everyone expects you to be volunteering and doing stuff, and I thought that also when I first retired. People say they are so busy in retirement, busier than when they were working, but this is all self caused. I do babysit my grandchildren in the summer, but take regular days off, my son in law is aware that I will not babysit when he is golfing….because I believe that golfing is an extracurricular activity that is not necessary and he needs to get his priorities straight. I volunteer with one charity only…..a wonderful sewing mission and i can do that at home also. This year I made a huge mistake that i will never repeat…..I bought too much material. However, my plan is to work through it for the summer and not stress about it. I washed it all, folded it and put it away in the closet, so it is not looking at me all the time. But it is another lesson learned. I do not volunteer for any other charity, and find it easy to ignore requests to please ‘come and work in our charity store, we need volunteers to clean up after Bible School, we need volunteers to pick strawberries etc.” When I volunteer I do it on my on volition. I still have an 88 yr. old mother in a nursing home with dementia. I used to go and see her once a week but it is a 350 km. round trip, with basically a 5 minute conversation before she wants me to leave her. So it was with some difficulty and guilt that I decided to cut back on my visits & now go once a month and call the nursing staff in between times. We have to do things to make our life easier, and not to feel guilty about letting things go, about running to all sorts of charities, of not babysitting our grandkids enough. I want to enjoy my life at this stage, reading my kindle – as physical books was part of the decluttering, enjoying travel on my schedule, and just enjoying life. I have purged and downsized even though I have not moved. I got past the fact of the emotions attached with items. My next project to tackle in the fall is the pictures and picture albums. But on my time.

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