Confession: I started playing Candy Crush last night. As I drifted off to sleep after not being able to “clear all the jelly”, I realized I’m making progress on my word for 2014.
For the first time in who-knows-how-long, I had nothing better to do at 11pm than play a silly game on my phone. I wasn’t crawling into bed at 1am with my mind racing about my to-do list. I was asleep by 11:15 and had a dream about Downton Abbey.
At the most basic level, I want to create space for choice. I’m tired of running from one must-do to the next and want to have a small moment each day where the most complicated decision I have to make is Candy Crush vs. a good book.
While one is certainly more enriching than the other, more space allows for moments of joy and playfulness. And I may choose to use some of those for Candy Crush, Pinterest, or an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives.
As I’ve thought about space, I’ve made an important realization about my relationship with simple. For me, simplicity is not about deprivation but about creating space for living.
With this context in mind, I’ve started to outline the domains or areas of focus in my search for more space. Three particular desires stood out: connectedness, peacefulness, and playfulness.
Space for connectedness.
This is ultimately about time and creating space in my day. I consistently overbook myself and end up burning the candle at both ends to meet deadlines. My family and friends suffer as much as my health does.
I cannot sustain the go, go, go nor do I want to anymore. These are a few of the actions I’ll be embracing towards this end:
- Choose fewer projects and do them better.
- Be intentional when adding new tasks to the list.
- Allow generous time for every task or project.
- Delegate and say no more than feels comfortable.
In the search for space, I’ve already had to make difficult decisions about what else I will take on this year. Since January 1, I’ve launched a new free monthly planner, a new free downloads area, a new members magazine, a new video series for members, and a new workshop. These have been intentional decisions.
But late last year I had an awesome idea and I was going to add one more thing to the mix. As I’ve spent time with the idea of space this month, I realized I would be doing me and you a disservice by adding more. Less is more and I will be constantly reminding myself of this fact all year.
Space for peacefulness.
This is ultimately about stuff and creating space in my home. My scrapbook area is quite tidy after two rounds of Stash Bash, but the rest of my home has been somewhat neglected.
I have been doing pretty good about keeping the everyday messes picked up and even getting some boxes to Goodwill. But I often feel like I’m just scratching the surface. There’s a under-layer of clutter that needs to be controlled, much of it literally under me in the full-size basement.
To be honest, this is the area where I feel the most overwhelmed and intimidated. It’s the journey the feels the longest, but I know these are the actions I’ll need to embrace towards this end:
- 15 minutes daily decluttering plus 1 hour each weekend.
- Consider style and simplicity when making purchases.
- Reaching out for encouragement and support.
Along with my nervousness in this domain, I also feel the most hope. I can best envision what space looks and feels like in connection with the physical spaces in my home.
Space for playfulness.
This is ultimately about distraction and creating space in my mind. My efforts towards the first two areas should significantly impact this one, but there is one issue I want to specifically tackle: spontaneity.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve forgotten how to have fun. I’ve always been serious, but perhaps never more-so than recent years. Part of this is my own personality and where I’m at in life, but I don’t think having an iPhone in my hand 24-7 is helping.
By living with less distraction, I will create space for more spontaneity and more playfulness. I’m feeling a little uncertain how best to move forward in this domain, but these are the actions I initially intend to embrace towards this end:
- No phone/computer between 5:30 and 8:30pm on weeknights.
- No phone/computer between 8:30 and bed two nights a week.
- Consider letting go of one social media space: Twitter.
I miss jokes, funny faces, heartfelt stories, and just so much when I am checking, checking, checking whatever on my phone. I love IMDB, but I don’t really need to know the full biography of every actor. And it’s OK if emails are answered within a few hours instead of a few minutes, it really is.
Space, let’s do this.
Great post! All your goals even seem so reasonable. Can’t wait to see how you grow with all this space. I still struggle with this and think I can take on the world. This year for me is all about CHOOSE and deciding where I’m spending time, as you’ve often reminded.
Thanks Marina! The action that seems the most difficult is the 15 minutes per day of decluttering. That kind of task always seems to snowball, so I will need to learn how to better compartmentalize. Think I might use my Start Fresh workbook sheets to help break down areas (like projects) into tasks.
Choose is a really good word, because it’s a healthy challenge. We want the freedom (or space) to make choices AND the habits/intentions to make ones that are additive towards our lives (as opposed to playing Candy Crush). 😉
These are so many of the things that I struggle with also–not taking on too many projects, not paying attention to right now, and keeping clutter at bay. Just today I was de-cluttering my son’s room and I got about half-way done before I had to do something else. At first I was upset that I didn’t get finished, but then I looked over what I had done, and I told myself that it was enough for today.
You raise an important point Kelly, that all-or-nothing thinking is a persistent and underlying challenge. Even when we do take steps, it can be difficult to even see that you’re headed in the right direction or moving at all. Not sure when we all started being so hard on ourselves.
Jennifer… Isn’t it amazing that so often the thoughts you have about your life and crafting are traveling the same road that many of us are on also? I have been working hard at changing my life to include intentional slowing down and BREATHING……to pick the best out of many good thing to include in my life..thing that balance me and stretch me and would be a blessing to others..I have also intended to tackle the dreaded lower-cell of doom …unseen but screaming at me from below, “you need to make me wonderful and inviting!!”
So I am tanking a timer and three weekdays and digging, picking away the clutter until that room is a smiling, inviting place to visit. Thanks for the musings…it helps so much!
Taking not tanking!
So glad my reflections are helpful for you and others. It definitely helps me to sort through my thoughts and feelings with words, so it’s a bonus to be able to share.
Slowing down and breathing through it is so important, helping you to trust the process and know that slow & steady wins the race!
Great post, and you’ve gotten off to a great start. I love your quote which is perfect for my OLW as well–simplify!
I love your quote about simplicity, Jennifer! I have pinned it and plan to share it with my readers sometime, too. Very insightful & inspiring. 🙂 Robin
I came across your your post OLW 2014: Areas of Focus via Pinterest and I was wondering if you would be alright with me including your quote “Simplicity is not about deprivation, but about creating space for living”in an ebook that I’m writing? I would link back to you in the notes section of the book 🙂
Hi love this phrase: “more space allows for moments of joy and playfulness.” I’ve been exploring simplicity throughout this season of lent, and finding depth, freedom and energy. Your post resonates well with my experience. Thanks.