Sep 19, 2019
Episode 67 of The Teaching Space Podcast explores seven ways you can simplify your life outside work.
While I keep my personal and professional lives separate, I cannot deny that having a simple, stress-free personal life makes me happier and more productive at work.
Here are seven ways I have made my life outside work as simple as possible. Each of these strategies saves precious minutes and minimises stress.
My college doesn’t have a specific dress code; teachers can dress to suit their vocational subject. I’m a teacher and assessor educator so I choose to dress on the smarter side of casual (for example, no jeans, but equally, no power suits!)
While I don’t quite go as far as Steve Jobs and Barack Obama in the sense that I wear the same clothes every day, I do tend to opt for a type of uniform. I tend to wear a dress and cardigan. I’ll usually wear tights and boots in the winter and a closed-toe sandal with bare legs in the summer.
I have a number of similar dresses featuring different patterns, which I rotate, and numerous smart cardigans in neutral colours so I can mix and match them with my dresses easily.
My “uniform” definitely saves me time choosing what to wear in the morning and helps me avoid decision fatigue.
This might seem like an obvious one but I pay all of my bills online, where possible, by direct debit. If I cannot pay by direct debit I always make payments through the banking app on my mobile. I rarely receive paper bills or statements now so my shredder doesn’t get much use anymore.
As an Apple Watch user, I also pay for everything on my watch; even the smallest amounts. While this only saves seconds, those seconds add up.
In episode 31 of the podcast, I explored the benefits of meal planning. I still think meal planning saves a lot of time and stress in the long run; particularly if you have a variety of meals/recipes on rotation.
However, sometimes, if I know I’m going to have a busy week, I might outsource my meal planning by using a service like Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh is the only recipe box delivery service available in Guernsey, but I know there are lots of other options worldwide.
If you’ve not used a recipe box delivery service before, they’re amazing! While I would not want to use one every week, they can be a great help at certain times. Hello Fresh has an app, so you use the app to select the meals you want for the coming week (you have several choices but not so many that it is overwhelming). Then the ingredients and recipe cards arrive by post on your designated day. All you need to do is cook.
If you’ve not had a chance to listen to episode 65 of the podcast yet, I recommend you do, as it is all about batching. The episode focusses more on batching at work, however, it is easy to use the batching technique at home. For example, you might batch certain household chores, like cooking or gardening. Personally, I try to batch errands and appointments - I like doing as much as possible in one trip.
Batching is a great way to simplify your life.
This is probably the most challenging strategy on the list but in some ways, the most important. If you want to simplify your life you must learn to say no. I’m not suggesting you become a hermit and ignore your friends and family, but sometimes, you need to prioritise your needs to keep things simple, and that might mean saying no.
I’ve talked before about how my life is mapped out in Google Calendar - so is my husband’s. He has access to my calendar and vice versa.
In episode 62 of the podcast (Time Blocking for Teachers and Trainers) I explain my Google Calendar setup in a little more detail.
Having shared, online calendars makes things really simple when, for example, we are trying to organise a dinner date; we can always see when each other is available.
As mentioned above, batching is a great way to simplify your approach to household chores.
Personally, I use a cleaning company to deal with the basic weekly cleaning of my home such as hoovering, dusting and bathrooms. Obviously, there is a significant cost associated with having a cleaner, however, for me, it is worth every penny when I consider the time and mental space it frees up. Even when I was working part-time, we adjusted out expenditure to ensure we could still afford a cleaning service.
If you are keen to explore using a cleaning service that remember you don’t have to use them weekly. Perhaps a once a month deep clear could work for you.
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The show notes for this episode include any links I’ve mentioned; you can find them at theteachingspace.com/67.
Thanks for listening and I hope you’ll join me for the next episode.