October was a whirlwind – probably the busiest month of our entire year. But that, I realized, is why my simple living goals were so important. [I shared my list of goals for the month in this post.] I was able to prioritize the things that matter most to me and not get lost in the to-do lists, and schedules, and must-dos of the month.
It started with my mother visiting and Brett and I running the Chicago marathon and then taking five days to recover. Then I took the kids for a day trip south to visit my sister and then it was Brett’s birthday and then our lengthy travels [36 hours of driving and 12 hours of flying] which ultimately got us to London and back just in time for Halloween and our last CSA pick up of the season.
On top of those things, we had workers replacing the roof and siding of our home, tearing out and replacing drywall and ripping up the carpet in our basement – because of a tree that fell on our house in August.
BUT in the midst of the madness, I was able to make a lot of my simple living goals happen and enjoyed the time with my kids and the time outdoors very much.
My goals were:
1. Spend time with my kids outdoors for an hour every day. We explored several new parks and a nature play area in our park district.
We walked all over Saint Charles for Scarecrow Fest.
We didn’t let rain or cold keep us from the pumpkin fest at the zoo.
We hiked the forest preserve behind our home.
And we rode bikes in the driveway and climbed the trees in our yard and looked for bugs and worms and played with Daisy…
We spent a lot of time outside and it was great.
Next time, though, I won’t put a time requirement on it. Sometimes it is good enough to just get out for a few minutes. Sometimes I had to give myself an A for effort. Just the emphasis on getting outside every day is great – the number of hours really doesn’t matter.
2. Read 30 minutes every day. I read for a half hour a day up until our trip. I finished Slow (the inspiration for my simple living goals).
I also finished There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather.
About a week before the trip, I traded my book for a London guide so I could plan our trip…
…but I was still reading a lot, so that was great.
3. Play with my kids when they ask. I definitely played a lot. I didn’t get nearly as much housework done as I normally do, but I had a lot of fun with the kids and I know that is more important than a clean and tidy house.
4. Create something every day. I created a lot in the kitchen, but that’s about it. I colored with the kids a few times and painted once, but didn’t create as much as I would have liked.
5. Leave my phone behind. I used the Screen Time feature on my iPhone to limit my “social” time on my phone to twenty minutes. I don’t typically do a lot of social stuff anyway because I’m not on social media, but I do apparently spend a fair amount of time on Pinterest. 🤷♀️
I also set “downtime” from 2-7pm every day which only allowed me to send/receive text messages and phone calls during that time. I also made my phone screen black and white – which was really weird but did seem to make my phone less appealing.
Screen Time also allows you to see how much time you spend on your phone, how many times you pick up your phone and how many notifications you receive.
I was so excited to find this feature because I’ve been wanting a dumb phone – and now it seems I can [almost] make my phone a dumb phone.
But the biggest change I made was turning off ALL notifications. I still keep forgetting that I have to go back into my text app to see if I’ve received any texts. My response time is MUCH MUCH slower, but I kind of like the idea of checking messages when I have the time and not having notifications constantly alerting me of some new thing to check on my phone.
If you feel like your phone controls you – rather than the other way around – I recommend trying some of these ideas.
Overall, the month was good. I’m looking forward to a much slower November, as we have nothing on the agenda besides preschool, a little work for me, and spending the month contemplating all the ways we are incredibly blessed in this life.