The Year of Living Minimally – Week Thirty-two


Are you a juggler? Trying to manage multiple responsibilities, perhaps too many responsibilities? We all multi-task, even those of us (me) who say we hate it and avoid it as much as possible. It’s the way life is nowadays.

But taking on too much will surely lead to stress. Too many things to do clutters up a life that should be lived well. I used to say ‘yes’ to practically everything that came my way, and this was while I worked full-time outside the home. Serve on this committee? Of course, I’m honored you asked. Can you help this weekend for our charity event? Yes, I’d reply, even as I wondered when the laundry would get done.

Now, I work outside the home one day a week, and it’s enough for me. That’s not to say I don’t work while I’m at home. I try to write one good novel every year. I take on editing projects and usually enjoy the work a lot. I participate in the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge (April 2018, and while it might sound like just a lot of fun, I’m a meticulous planner and researcher). I manage our finances, and maintain the house. I don’t make a lot of money, but I’ve learned that I need a lot less than I might have thought I needed years ago, when I earned more.

And I’m learning to say no. Recently, an opportunity presented itself, one that really intrigued me. I wanted to do it, I wanted to challenge myself and succeed at the task. But I knew it would eat up so much time, and more importantly, I knew it would bring stress.

What helps us to live more minimally is recognizing when adding one more responsibility to our already-full plate is one too many. It’s saying no (kindly, politely) to a request for more of our time. It’s then using that freer time to do something that will relieve stress rather than increase it (yoga, walks, reading, cooking, playing with your children or grandchildren, conversations with friends, electronics-free time!).

Getting rid of clutter doesn’t just mean cleaning out the closet.

5 thoughts on “The Year of Living Minimally – Week Thirty-two

  1. I’m fascinated by the issue of mental clutter and how to reduce it. I’m going to be leaving my day job soon and I’m already feeling a temptation to accept invitations / attend events which I wouldn’t have dreamed of going to while working. I need to be careful not to assume my new-found free time is limitless. I like your approach, Martha: say yes to the activities which truly nourish us.


  2. Great post, Denise – I made a good salary while I was at the Attorney General’s office, but I was miserable. I’ve learned that I don’t need as much to be happy. Thank you for sharing your experience!


  3. I am sure there are lots of folks who have heard of the Emergency City Managers in Michigan. Think Flint. When one was appointed in a nearby city, I was offered a position as the Treasurer. I made an outrageous salary demand and while waiting for approval from the Governor I did some work for them. The place was a mess and it was stressful. No competent help. When the salary got approved, I ended up declining. I told them to accept my work performed as a freebie. I realized I did not need the aggravation no matter how much it paid. I always have told my sons to enjoy whatever job they perform and realized I should take that advice. Cleaning out all these items around my home I know I can do with a lot less than what I have.


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