Apply Minimalist Thinking to your Schedule: One commitment a day

One major task per day in your calendar can make your life more enjoyable

Several years ago I shifted to having an minimalist approach to scheduling my life and my families’ activities. This shift has made a huge improvement in our happiness and as a parent to two sensory needs/sensitive kids, I see real evidence that it makes their lives more enjoyable as well.

I’m the ultimate minimalist, because I’m a minimalist in ONLY one way.picture of a calendar on an ipad discussing minimalist schedule

I’ve got enough seed packets to grow a entire farm. My pantry has more spices then we need. I have been paring down my clothes, trying to get to a capsule wardrobe for two years and can’t seem to get under 20 shirts per season. But I have found one delightful place where I can let minimalism blossom. It has given me so much freedom, happiness, and ease.

What I am about to tell you will probably seem ridiculous at the onset. Hear me out and experiment with this in your life. The results could convince you. 

I only commit to one activity/meeting/arrangement a day. 

Minimalist Scheduling: What happens when you create more space in your schedule?

Now before you freak out, think of this as a goal like a morning routine or daily exercise. While your goal may be one meeting a day, sometimes more meetings creep in. You aim for just one and acknowledge that one commitment (outside of your daily routine) is enough. Your job might not allow one meeting a day, so then you can play around with this in your personal life. 

It is essential to plan to keep open spaces in your schedule.

Planning to have blocks of open space in your calendar will improve your life radically!

When I became a stay-at-home-mom with my first child, I could create my own schedule.  Because my daughter stopped napping at 6 months we never planned our lives around naptime; I had a long day alone with no break with just the two of us. I packed my days full of playdates & activities, because I needed something to do with my child to make the 9 nonstop hours pass more quickly. 

After a few months of having our days filled with 2-3 activities/playdates/appointments per day I had a realization. I didn’t enjoy that type of day. It felt hectic and harried. I felt like I was on a campaign trail for domestic happiness, constantly going from place to place showing how much fun I was having with my daughter. Keeping her active and engaged.

In addition to not enjoying these days, I didn’t get to just be.

An overscheduled life is not necessarily a happy one. Even if you’re an extrovert, ambitious woman. 

We need unstructured time. Lots of people are aware of the need for children to have unstructured time, but who is parenting the grownups and making sure that we get it.

Create Space and Rest in your schedule

Rest is essential. The industrial age has slowly allowed the idea of nonstop action and activity to be normalized. We can re-normalize another way. 

We are moms, humans, living beings who need times of space & rest- not just sleep, although I love my sleep time. We have an actual biological need for space and openness in our lives in order to feel happy and fulfilled. 

Being productive and getting all your tasks done will feel good in the momentum, but we need those pauses in between to allow us to notice and feel the flow of life happening. 

Seriously, look at your schedule and see how much empty & open space there is. If you’re a go-getter, goal setter type of gal, probably not a lot of time. 

We’ve slowly let main hustles, family, household responsibilities, and side hustles dominate all of our time. And we can even have fully filled days that are all enjoyable activities. But we were not designed to run from morning to night with no pause. I know I have used my phone and scrolling through my social channel of choice to take the place of the pause in my day. While it is a ‘mental’ break from the day, the social channel does not provide an emotional or spiritual pause that we desperately need.

Although initially it might feel uncomfortable to pause and observe our natural environment, it is an entryway into presence. 

Adding Space into your Calendar gives room for Being Present

Think of the people you know with presence. They are fully here, fully attentive in the moment. Its kind of sexy actually. I feel the blood pulsing through my veins more quickly when I’m fully present or talking to someone who is.

Dang, it’s crazy to think that we can up our sexiness quotient by just being present and attentive, but it’s actually true. Maybe upping that quotient isn’t your priority, but I can imagine that presence and feeling truly IN the moment and present with the moment actually gives me more energy, more happiness, and relieves any nagging anxieties that might be rattling around in my mind. 

None of us aspire to be rushed and scattered. None of us intend to fill every waking moment with to-dos. None of us intend to pack our schedule till it bursts, but many of us keep adding on one more thing to the day. We can easily be overly scheduled without noticing that it has happened. 

Will you try this takeaway of planning only one major commitment a day?

So now we only plan one ‘big’ thing a day, whether its a playdate or tea with a friend. And sometimes I feel inspired or motivated to do more, but I never to require it of myself. I recognize my own limits. You can start with just one day where you have 1 commitment if this method seems too extreme. Or even one day with no commitments. Play around and look at where you could experiment with adding space to your schedule. 

Curious about the minimalist lifestyle movement?

I am not an accomplished minimalist, although I do live with less items than the average American or Westerner. My favorite YouTubers who are minimalists are Pick up Limes, Matt D’avella, and Break the Twitch. My favorite minimalist podcaster and writer is Erica Layne. Joshua Becker and Leo Babauta were the first two minimalists who’s writing and thinking deeply impacted me. If you haven’t read Zen Habits before, pull up a chair and a warm drink cause there is quite the archive to explore. 

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woman sitting near lake thinking with a notebook in her lap looking at flowersI want to support your creativity and your life’s expression. Do you want some support with identifying your next steps to take and how to create a road map, based on your individual gifts and lifestyle. Be sure to sign up for the free 7 Easy Ways to Lift Your Spirits and free affirmation printable at SoulPioneer.com

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