Less Choice Equals More Time
The more you have the more you have to choose from. The more you have to choose from the longer it takes to make a choice. Weighing the options about everything in life takes a lot of time. By simplifying everyday life you can actually give yourself more time. Everybody wishes they had more time. Let me tell you exactly how I have given myself 62 extra days a year.
How I Gave Myself 62 Days a Year
I knew simplifying was going to save me time but I had no idea that my Big and Small lifestyle would add up to literally 62 days a year. This is time shaved off of my daily routine simply by giving myself less to choose from. I have not, even once, regretted my decision to make parts of my life Small, because the rewards have been bigger than Big. Here are my personal tangible time saving results from living Big and Small.
The smaller I make my wardrobe the less time it takes to get ready. I know this because I started with an extremely large wardrobe and it took me forever to get ready and now I live with much less and I can get dressed in a fraction of the time. I currently have about 50 items in my closet including shoes. I also have one small dresser with three medium sized drawers that include my pajamas, t-shirts, workout stuff, shorts, bathing suits, lingerie and socks. It is wonderful to open my closet or my drawers and be able to see everything I have. When my laundry is all done, everything can be put away without stuffing it in (I used to have to keep some of my laundry dirty because it would not fit). My wardrobe is still a work in progress and I intend to write a lot more on this subject in the future as I know this is a big issue for many people. I did not sacrifice style for convenience as everything I own I love and feel good in. I started to take control of my wardrobe by doing Project 333. This micro-course is fun, easy to follow and changed my life more than anything else. I was able to modify it to fit my lifestyle as there are no strict rules (as you can see I chose to keep 50 items and not 33). I went even further by finding a job where I could wear a uniform. Wearing scrubs to work makes getting dressed in the morning a no brainer. I work two days out of the house wearing my scrubs and the rest of the time I work from home, so basically every day is casual Friday. Here is the breakdown of how much time I used to spend per year picking out my wardrobe verses how much time it currently takes. I included workdays, weekends and time it takes to get ready for travel. Then you will see how much time I have saved making my wardrobe choices smaller.
260 weekdays per year x 14 minutes per day = 60.66 hours
104 weekend days per year x 20 minutes per day = 34.66 hours
10 trips per year x 60 minutes per trip = 10 hours
Total time spent in one year picking out my wardrobe = 105.33 hours or 4.39 days
104 weekdays per year wearing scrubs x 1 minute per day = 1.73 hours
156 weekdays per year working at home x 5 minutes per day = 13 hours
104 weekend days per year x 5 minutes per day = 8.66 hours
10 trips per year x 20 minutes per trip = 3.33 hours
Total time spent in one year picking out my wardrobe = 26.73 hours or 1.11 days
ANNUAL TIME SAVINGS ON WARDROBE: 3.28 days per year
Planning meals, food shopping, cooking and clean-up takes hours a day for most people. I love preparing and eating delicious and healthy foods, I just don’t like all of the time it consumes on a daily basis. We have been buying our weekday meals from Fitlife Foods. We order the meals online and I just pick them up, bring them home and we just heat and eat. They have tons of meals to choose from and we can choose small, medium or large sizes. The best part is the food is healthy and delicious. We do lunches and dinners and I make smoothies or oatmeal for weekday breakfasts. On the weekends we either cook or we go out to eat. Our grocery bill is a little bit higher than it was but it’s consistent and we would never get the variety of foods that we get with Fitlife Foods for the same price. Another bonus is we never have to throw out spoiled food. I am in love with this new program. If you can’t imagine not cooking your own meals, I highly recommend checking out the blog Stone Soup, which has wonderful five ingredient healthy meals. It is my go-to when I want to make something healthy and delicious. I especially love that most of the recipes have options for different diets like vegetarian, nut allergies, etc.. Saving time in the kitchen doing everyday cooking has allowed me to spend more time doing something that I really love – baking! I have tried and loved many recipes from The Minimalist Baker. The recipes are simple, healthy and amazingly delicious. Here is the breakdown of the time I used to spend on meals and how much time I spend now. Then you will see how much time I have saved making my meal choices smaller.
Cook dinner 260 weeknights per year x 40 minutes per day = 173.33 hours
Plan meals per week = 1 hour
Shop for meals per week = 1 hour
Clean up after cooking 260 weeknights per year x 30 minutes per day = 130 hours
Prepare lunch 260 weekdays per year x 10 minutes per day = 43.33 hours
Total time spent in one year planning, procuring, preparing and cleaning up after meals = 450.66 hours or 18.77 days
Warm dinner 260 weeknights per year x 2 minutes per day = 8.66 hours
Plan meals per week = 10 minutes
Warm lunch 260 weekdays per year x 2 minutes per day = 8.66 hours
Picking up prepared meals per week = 30 minutes
Clean-up after warming up meals 260 weeknights per year x 5 minutes per day = 21.66 hours
Total time spent in one year planning, procuring, preparing and cleaning up after meals = 73.66 hours or 3.07 days
ANNUAL TIME SAVINGS ON MEALS: 15.7 days per year
We decided to cancel our cable for multiple reasons. We wanted to make our bills smaller and besides the Macy’s Day Parade we never really watched network television anyway. We enjoy movies so we bought an Apple TV and kept our Netflix subscription so we could watch our television with intention. Now we watch documentaries, nature shows, movies and highly rated television series’. We watch what we want, when we want. Having fewer channels to choose from stopped the mindless channel surfing. I am no longer pulled into things that I really don’t want to watch. I listen to NPR in the car and my Mother calls me any time we expecting weather. Here is the breakdown of how much time I used to sit in front of the television when I had cable and how much time I spend watching television now. Then you will see how much time I have saved making my television choices smaller.
260 weekdays per year x 4 hours of television per day = 1040 hours
52 weekend days per year x 4 hours of television per day = 208 hours
Total time spent in one year watching television = 1248 hours or 52 days
156 days per year x 1 hour of Netflix per day = 156 hours
52 days per year x 2 hours of Netflix per day = 104 hours
Total time spent in one year intentionally watching television = 260 hours or 10.83 days
ANNUAL TIME SAVINGS ON TELEVISION: 41.17 days per year
My make-up bag used to be as large as a carry-on suitcase. It even had wheels! My make-up was the last thing that I simplified because I loved it and wanted to keep it all. I knew from my past experiments in the kitchen and in the closet that the more I tossed out the easier my life was, so I trusted myself and threw most of it away. I kept a nice selection of natural colors and most of my wonderful make-up brushes and tossed the rest. I now have a manageable amount of make-up that all fits in a 12×5 (inches not feet) zipper case. Now it takes me a fraction of the time to put on my make-up because I use the same things every day. I also save time when I travel because I can just grab my small make-up bag instead of separating out what I think I will need on that trip. The other way I save time is that I don’t wear make-up every day. I have designed my life so that I work out of the house two days a week and I only wear make-up occasionally on weekends. I don’t have to spend as much time going through and cleaning out my make-up either, but I will just consider that a bonus. Here is the breakdown of how much time I used to spend putting on my make-up and how much time I spend on it now. Then you will see how much time I have saved by making my make-up choices smaller.
312 days per year x 15 minutes per day = 78 hours
156 days per year x 5 minutes per day = 13 hours
ANNUAL TIME SAVINGS ON MAKE-UP: 2.71 days per year
Grand Total Days I Saved from Simplifying = 62.86
That’s Two Full Months!
Trimming the Fat
Here are some additional things that I have done or suggest doing to save even more time:
- Commuting: Design your life so that you work in the same neighborhood or part of town that you live in. The difference between a 15 minute drive each way and a 30minute drive each way adds up to 30 minutes a day that you would be sitting in your car. Saving money on gas is a nice bonus!
- Adjust Your Work Schedule: See if your company would be ok with working four days a week instead of five. The difference between driving to work four days verses five can add up to an hour per week (based on a 30 minute drive each way). The additional time it takes to get ready, unwind, pack a lunch and do the extra laundry will also save you time each week. Having three-day weekends is also a great perk!
- Get Ready Faster: Keep the same jewelry on every day. I choose special pieces that were gifts and change them once every two or three months, or for a special outfit only. Choosing a low maintenance hairstyle can save hours a week. The unique style that I have chosen not only saves me hours a week but gives me flair so I don’t have to spend so much time choosing interesting clothes and jewelry. Using multi-purpose beauty products like my moisturizing body wash allows me to skip a step in the shower without skimping on my daily pampering.
Analysis paralysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.
Simple, Not Boring
As you can see, if you design a life with less variety on a daily basis you will create more space and time to do a variety of activities that will make your life much more exciting than changing your earrings three times a week or searching through your stuffed cabinets looking for something to eat. Keeping your drawers light, your cabinets lean and your choices Small will give you the time you have been looking for, with little sacrifice, to live the Big life you deserve. At first, taking away the excess from your daily life may seem like you are giving away a part of your individuality. Personally, giving up my clothes, jewelry, make-up, creative cooking and television has given me the time to grow, learn, and expand my horizons. I have given myself the permission to choose life instead of choosing a bunch of stuff that just doesn’t matter to me anymore.
What in the Heck Do I Do With All This Extra Time?
It would be lovely if you could just have all the time at once and go on a trip around the world (you might even save enough money to do that if you stop buying so much!), however the time you get back may not be noticeable at first since it will happen in small doses. Instead of letting that time just absorb into more chores or useless tasks I use this extra time intentionally. Here are some of the things that I do with my extra time that I have created.
- Up to three walks a day with Bongo
- Bongo massages and “doga” (dog yoga, she’s 13 now and loves to stretch)
- More time for my Morning Routine and taking care of myself
- Explore my new neighborhood
- Develop more intimate relationships
- Take photographs
- Work on my new business
- Long daily walks on the beach
- Watch the sunset
- Playing in my new band!
The possibilities are endless. What would YOU do with 62 extra days? Please let me know in the comments!
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