Do you spend your time always doing things for everybody else and feeling overwhelmed with no time for yourself? When you fill up all of your time and resources without creating room for rest, it results in feelings of overwhelm and frustration.
But it’s entirely possible to create more space and simplicity in your life, and by managing your mind differently, you can eliminate what doesn’t align with your values, and bring in more of what you do want to spend your time doing.
In this episode, I’m sharing the benefits of creating more space and simplicity in your life, and how doing so will enable you to focus on the bigger picture. Discover four ways to create more space and simplicity in your life, and learn how this will help you to live your life with more joy and intention.
Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life Podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.
Hey there. Welcome to the podcast. How are you doing? I am just moving and getting settled into Charleston, South Carolina with Steve, Penny, and our new pup Benji. We decided to make this move earlier this year as most of you know already. If you’re new here, we have been living in Chicago and absolutely love Chicago. Steve’s from Chicago. I’m originally from Ohio. Moved here several years ago, and just love this city.
We were ready for a change and the south and some warm weather. We just love Charleston. So it was really hard to say goodbye because it was hard to leave somewhere that I just loved. But making that decision from my prefrontal cortex and doing it from a clean place along with Steve as well. That’s what we decided we wanted for our next chapter. Particularly knowing that we can always come back, and we have Chicago as our second home.
I always think that ideally, it’d be so fun to do summers in Chicago. Spend most of the year in South Carolina, do summers in Chicago. So who knows? That’s something that’s in my mind and in my vision. We will see if we decide to do it.
What else? I have something so fun to tell you about. So this is coming out live at the beginning of June, and I want to invite you to a week of confidence. This is a weeklong live training that I will be doing for anyone who wants to improve their self-confidence. If you love the podcast, this was designed for you in mind. It’s completely free. There’s going to be a live training every day. We’re doing it Monday through Thursday because who doesn’t love a Friday off? So we’re going to do it Monday through Thursday instead of Monday through Friday June 14th through 17th.
If you cannot attend live, still sign up because you’re going to get the replays. So it’s nataliebacon.com/confidence is where you can see all the details. Just sign up. I’ll send you an email with the times. You’ll get the links. Then if there’s anyone else who you think would really benefit from this, I would love for you to send them that link so that they too can get these free tools. They’re going to be so helpful for increasing that self-confidence. Again, that’s nataliebacon.com/confidence.
Okay. Today’s podcast is all about creating more space and simplicity in your life. I was inspired to do this episode with you because of this month’s content in Grow You, which is about how to enjoy your life. That was sparked by me sort of going through this transition of being married and more or less moving out of the city to the suburbs. And thinking about family planning and all of the things that are to come in this next season of life.
I just found it so relevant and important to our family’s vision to create more space and to simplify. So I want to invite you to think about this for your life. You may have heard of simple living and creating more space, but I want you to have a beginner’s mind with this. Because what I like to do and what I teach and coach my students to do is to question everything.
So I started this research for this episode now with assuming that creating more space and simplicity was right. I actually took a step back and said, “Okay. What does it mean to create more space and simplicity? And why do we want to do it or not do it?”
So here’s what I came up with. When I think of space and when you think of space, think of having an amount of buffer room. So a really easy example of this is with money. So if you have expenses that are $10,000 a month, and you take home $10,000 a month. You have no sort of extra buffer room. You have no wiggle room. You have no space in your cash flow on a monthly basis. You’re sort of playing with fire. You are making it much riskier for yourself because you don’t have room for things that come up.
Okay. The same is true for an emergency fund. Why do we have an emergency fund? Why does anyone recommend that? It’s so that when things happen. When you need to get your roof repaired, there’s money there. I like to think of it as like a rainy day fund and knowing that it always rains. So it’s not a matter of if you need it. It’s when you need it.
I like to apply that to every area of your life when it comes to having more buffer room and having more space. Andy Stanley calls this having a guardrail. So if you’re on the highway and you veer off, you hit a guardrail, you don’t actually go into the ditch. There’s the guard rail that sort of gives you that space that protects you. It keeps you safe.
So you can apply this to any area of your life. Think of your time. So if your calendar everything out to the last minute with activities for you or your family. You’re always going, going, going, and doing, doing, doing. You end up feeling busy because you don’t have space for rest in your calendar. The same is true for energy. I think this is one that we often forget about. Shoutout to the high achievers who can relate to this as well when you don’t create space to protect your energy.
This is something that I’m coaching a ton on in Grow You. I can relate to it. I used to be this way. I found that I enjoy my life so much more when I create space around my energy. So I could do 14 things in one day and get it all done and still sleep eight hours. But how am I going to feel? What kind of energy am I going to have if I am going, going, going all the time, and not creating space around my energy? You can do space around your physical fitness. Just think of space as something that you want to have this buffer in around your resources.
Simplicity, on the other hand. I looked this up. The definition is the state of being simple. The opposite of simplicity is complicated. One of the words that kept coming up when I was looking up the definition for simplicity was easy. So applying sort of this concept of simplicity, of ease, of being simple to how you live your life. I think it means that you intentionally focus on areas of your life that bring the most value and joy and enjoyment to you and your family.
So it’s not that you just do nothing. It’s that you’re intentionally focusing the resources you have whether it’s time, whether it’s energy, whether it’s money, whether it’s something else. You’re focusing it so that you maximize what’s most important to you.
I heard Greg McKeown, the author of Essentialism, say, “Culture says what you have to do is everything for everyone always.” I thought this was brilliant. So he says, “Culture says what you have to do is everything for everyone always.”
So think about that. Is that how you operate your life? Is it very reactive? Are you always in reactive mode? It’s just something to be aware of. And know that it’s totally something that you can take control of and change just with managing your mind differently. Because when you manage your mind and change how you’re thinking about it, you will make different decisions and live your life differently.
So it may seem obvious why you don’t want to be in the habit of doing everything for everyone always. I really like to question all of it. So I wanted to think about, and I want you to think about why creating more space in your life, more room, and why creating a simpler life. One that’s focused on what you value most and sort of removes the rest. Why is that better? If it’s better at all. Okay? Why not just do all the things for everyone always?
What I came up with. If you’re imagining this, you may also come up with this. Is that when you’re doing everything for everyone always, it’s so much harder to manage your mind. So your brain’s going to go to overwhelm so much faster. So it’s never your circumstances creating your feelings. However, I say let’s hook up our circumstances for the highest likelihood of success.
It’s like why I recommend if you want to start working out, put out your gym clothes. Make it super easy for your brain. Have the awareness that it’s still your thoughts that are driving your actions and your results. But let’s make it so easy for your brain to choose that thought.
If you don’t have space and you’re sort of scattered and you’re doing all the things for everyone else always, it’s harder to enjoy your life. You will go into overwhelm and busy and sort of glorify it. You also don’t have space to think about the big picture of your life. So if you are barely getting by. Your basic needs are barely met, and you are kind of in reactive mode. You don’t have space to think about the bigger picture.
I think it was Tony Robbins who talked about how you can’t plan your day until you plan your life. That’s what I mean by creating space. If you have space to think about the big picture, even if it’s just for the season. Like Steve and I talked a lot about do we want to move? Why? Pros and cons. Making this big decision for this season of our life. That required having space and connecting and talking about the big picture. So when you intentionally create space in your life, you have room to talk about the big picture so that you can live your life so much more intentionally.
Another reason why more space and simplicity in your life is better is because you will stop doing things that you don’t like and start doing things that you love and want to be a really high priority. So you, as a human, are evolving and changing and growing. I can use myself as an example here.
So I was single living in Chicago. Then Steve and I got together and dated, and then we got engaged. Now we’re married, and now we live in Charleston. So throughout the last several years, my life has changed. I’ve sort of left one season and entered into a different season.
Take going from single to being married. Well, my vision for each of those seasons is going to be very different. I might decide that some of the things that I liked doing when I was single like going out with friends and going out on the weekends, maybe going to bars isn’t something that I want to be doing as much of during this new season of being a newlywed. Right?
I don’t even know that that’s one necessarily, but I’m coming up with this example on the fly. I want you to think about how for you as you change seasons and sort of evolve, because we all do. We are always changing. Think about graduating different schools and getting different jobs. Our lives are so dynamic.
At each sort of transition and new season, you want to have that space to not only think about the big picture but also to know, “Okay. What are the things that I’m doing in my life? What’s my life like? What results do I have? What actions am I taking? How do I feel most of the time?” Like to have that awareness and to do something about it. So to stop doing the things that you don’t like, and to start doing things that you really love.
So when I spent time, right. When I had that space to think about what I really love, I really love going on walks. I really love sitting down and reading a book. I really love going to dance class. Some of these things I’ve always loved as long as I can remember, like dance class. But other things I appreciate so much more like sitting down and reading a book. This is something that I’ve decided in the last couple years that I really want to have more space in my life for. Versus listening to the audiobook while you’re doing a million other different things.
So when you have a simpler life, when you eliminate what doesn’t align with your values, you can bring in more of what you do want to spend your time doing. Having more space will also allow you to have room for challenges.
I think about the emergency fund example. It’s the budget. You don’t want to budget every single dollar. You want to have that discretionary spending or that emergency fund so that when things come up, you have the buffer room. If your time is completely packed without any space in it, you won’t have that buffer. You won’t be able to create space for overcoming challenges.
So it’s not just the long-term vision that you want to make sure you have space for. It’s also for the day-to-day things that come up. I coach a lot of moms in Grow You. I find that moms need even more space in their lives because things come up more often with little ones. This isn’t a problem, but it’s something that you want to be aware of and decide really deliberately.
Other benefits to creating more space and simplicity in your life is that you will get better results. If you have focus on one or two priorities during this season of life, you’re going to get such better results than if you are focused on five to ten small goals or five to ten different priorities. Your results are always better when you immerse yourself in one specific area and go deep.
I like to think of having sort of a work priority, a career priority, and a personal family priority. You don’t have to break it up in that way, but the key is to just not have ten priorities. Because, again, that adds that level of complexity where you will feel sort of overwhelmed and busy and like you’re spread too thin. You won’t have the space to create amazing results for yourself, whatever that looks like.
When you have more space and simplicity in your life, you will have so much more clarity. You will be so much more focused. You will have such less confusion, which means that you actually enjoy your life so much more because you’re living fully on purpose. I think that this is probably the best reason for creating more space and simplicity. It’s not that you just eliminate everything. It’s that you choose what you want to have in your life and remove the rest. What you choose is what you love, and it’s what you want to focus on.
I think about my decision to wear neutrals a few years back, and how I had to eliminate so many things in my wardrobe to make that happen. And how worth it it was for me to do that because I was able to streamline my wardrobe and simplify it. It looks so much better, and things match. It really reflects who I want to be and show up as. That’s just a small example of how applying this concept of creating more space and simplicity can really help you.
This last part I want to talk with you about how you can create more space and simplicity. I think there are four ways for you to do this. The first way is for you to be intentional. So you have to have an intention to plan ahead and think about your life, and an intention to look within yourself, to get to know yourself, to get to know your deepest desires. So you’re listening to this episode. You probably like and care about living intentionally, but it’s not something that just happens. You have to actually create that.
The second way to create more space and simplicity is to be decisive. This is a skill that you can practice, but it is required. Because, again, the world is going to say, “Do everything for everyone always.” So you have to decide, “Okay. I’m not going to do that. This is what I want, and I’m going to go all in on that.”
The third way is to be disciplined. Disciplined means saying yes to everything that fits in with what you want. It means saying no to everything that doesn’t fit. So in the example of my wardrobe, it’s saying yes to all of the neutrals and even inviting in more neutrals and saying no to everything that isn’t neutral. Even though I kind of like pink. You can always redecide, but you want to be doing that not in the moment. You want to be creating that space so that you can really think about it at a high level and then decide from your prefrontal cortex.
I like to examine when I go into different seasons. So when I think about what I wanted about five years ago, it was to pay off my law school debt. What I want now is to have more space and time for my growing family. So your sort of focus will change as your life changes. That’s the beauty of it. You can keep applying these things as you grow and evolve.
The last way to create more space and simplicity is to be focused. So once you decide and you have that discipline to say, “Yes this is what I want,” and, “No, this is what I don’t want.” It’s giving your attention to your one or two priorities. So if my priority is my business and my family, then that’s what I want to focus on. So when an opportunity comes up that kind of bleeds into family time, I remember, “Okay. Actually I had this preplanned family time, and that’s my priority.”
So, again, you want to be intentional, be decisive, be disciplined, and be focused. Those emotions tend to be a little bit of the harder emotions. What they will do by kind of using them is they will create that space, that flow, that room for living exactly how you want to be living.
I think that this is a practice. I think that our brains just naturally do want to do everything for everyone always. I think that’s in part because we’re at a point in our evolution where we have more options than we ever have. We want to be invited, right. We also want to be liked. But if you’re busy doing everything for everyone else then you miss out on doing what you want most. It’s like if you don’t plan your life, someone else will create a plan for it. You’ll end up reacting and living out their vision.
So as you grow and do this work, you know this living intentionally and all the thought work. Think about how you can add more space and simplicity into your life and think about why that’s important to you. I gave you several reasons here but think about for you why it will be so rewarding and why it’s meaningful for you. Sort of what you’re leaving on the table by not doing this. All right my friends. I will talk with you next week.
If you loved this podcast, you’re going to love Grow You. Grow You is my virtual life coaching program where I take everything on the podcast to the next level. I invite you to join our amazing community of women and moms and deepen your own personal development. Head on over to nataliebacon.com/coaching to learn more.
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