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The Search for Simplicity

August 11th, 2009 at 05:34 pm

I've spent my entire adult life trying to simplify things (my LIFE!) and free up time for creativity. I have a birthday coming up and I'm asking myself, how am I doing in my quest for simplicity? The answer is not so good.

Semi-Rant forthcoming...

Other then planned vacation time, my only regular day off is Saturdays. And I often end up running errands that day. What's happening to my dream of waking up and deciding what I want to do with my day? It seems to be getting further and further away from me...

I have achieved some success at simplifying the financial area of my life. I'm debt free, except the mortgage. I have bills that are easy to pay. I have (and I'm building) savings and retirement investments. I balance my checkbook regularly. I have a budget in place and tweak the budget when needed. (I love budget tweaking!) This is still a work in progress and my spouse and my son tend to add complexity rather than simplicity to the area (notice I said "I" and not "we" have a budget in place), but there is no longer an urgency or discomfort about the financial area of my life. (Thanks to all you savingadvice.com bloggers for your inspiration!)

Other areas, however, need intensive work. I find I'm constantly frustrated with how I spend my time or how my energy is drained from doing things I'm not that excited about but feel like I need to do. I've read many books on this quest for simplicity, on getting organized, on time management, on clearing clutter, and I'm disappointed that instead of having a simpler more joyful life, I seem to have a more complicated life than I ever imagined I'd have at this age.

It's not like I'm not trying. The areas I'm looking at now--if my life were a pie chart--are Work, Sprituality, Creativity and Family/Community. (I got this idea from Julia Morgensten's book Time Management From the Inside Out.)

Under the Work category, I put these things: home maintenance, car maintenance, my job, church work, finance record keeping.

Under Spirituality, I include self care, good friends/relationships, reading, studying, physical and spiritual health.

Under Creativity, I include writing, reading, creative projects and creative partners.

Under Family/Community I include church work (church work is in 2 categories), family time, spouse time, mentoring time.

(My financial life can be included in all these categories...work, spirituality, creativity and family. This is one area where I almost have it together.)

Each sub-category that's under each of the four categories has a long long(!) to-do list. For instance, if I were just to look at the home maintenance list...geez!!

But looking at my whole life, if I were to chart the 4 categories on an actual pie chart, WORK and FAMILY/COMMUNITY would be at least three fourths of the pie (WORK being the largest piece) and CREATIVITY and SPIRITUALITY a much smaller piece. CREATIVITY--my dream--would be the smallest piece.

HOW DID I GET HERE?!!? And how do I get more balance?

Rant's over. Now I have to try to do something about this. Happy Birthday to me...

1 Responses to “The Search for Simplicity”

  1. Jerry Says:

    I am trying to balance some semblance of creativity with school and family and work and preparation for a board exam which will pretty much lead to a determination of my professional future. It's stressful, and I am finding that I need to have some insurance that I will appreciate what little steps I make in that regard. They make me happy, and I think they make me more effective in the other areas of my life. Today I played marbles with my 4-year-old. Did it help me with exams, or making some money, or anything of the sort? No, but it made me a better Dad, and it was fun. I'll take it.

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