If you find your day-to-day life to be overwhelming, busy, or just not as enjoyable as you’d like, tune in to this podcast to hear how I talk about how I use my tools and practices to make everyday life easier. I have a full life with a spouse, home, two kids under two, and two dogs. It would be easy to get really overwhelmed by everyday life, and while it’s not a perfect process, there are ways I make my life so much easier.
You’ll learn planning tips, why you shouldn’t use a to-do list, how to make faster decisions and more. If you want an inside look at how you can start making daily life a bit better from someone doing the work, this episode is for you.
Hi there. Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast. My name is Natalie Bacon and I’m an Advanced Certified Mindfulness Life Coach, as well as a wife and mom, if you’re here to do the inner work and grow, I can help. Let’s get started.
Hello my friend. Welcome to the podcast. Today I wanna talk with you about how I make my life easier. I thought let’s do a fun one. A little bit different. And nothing on this list is right or wrong. That is to say this isn’t a list of things that you should do, but I thought it would be fun for you to see how I kind of apply some of these tools in my life to make it easier. And maybe there will be a handful of them that you want to borrow and, and test out so that you can make your life a little bit easier as well.
Before we dive into that, I have a favor to ask of you. Could you leave me a review? Reviews, help this podcast so much, and I wanna keep doing this podcast. I don’t wanna take on sponsorships and I don’t want to stop doing it. And the way that I know that this podcast is working is if I can get it out to more and more people. And one of the best ways to do that, I’ve been told is through reviews. So you have the power to help more women. Um, and I know it seems like a stretch, but it really isn’t because the more reviews that come in, the more the algorithm sees, oh, this is a podcast that people like, I should offer it to more people. And so then the algorithm will suggest this podcast if more reviews come in and then more people get to benefit from these tools. That’s really all it’s about. I always wanna make sure that the work is getting out to new and more people who want to change their lives. So thank you so much in advance. And personally, of course it does, um, feel really good to read those. I read every single review and I know that it takes some time and energy and I do so much. Appreciate it. Thank you. Thank you.
Now let’s dive in how I make my life easier. Number one, I know my values and I make them a priority. This is in my mind often right now, my priorities are my family and my business. That’s it. So consistently I am prioritizing things on my calendar for my family and my business. I’m not prioritizing things like travel. I am not prioritizing things like girls trips. It doesn’t mean that I never travel and it doesn’t mean that I never have girls trips. It’s just that if you looked at my calendar for the last several months, even year, you would find that most of the items on that calendar reflect these values. I love the Tony Robbins quote where he says, you can’t have a plan for your day, day until you have a plan for your life. And I think growing up, we are offered such a great plan. Go to school, go to more school, um, get educated, get a job, be a contributing member of society, start a family if that’s what you wanna do. We’re offered a plan, and yet after that, we’re offered no plan.
And I actually love this because it just requires more of us. There’s so many options and you can create your own plan for your life and it can change and evolve. But it’s such a shame, I think, when we don’t do this, when we just kind of continue living into our circumstances instead of deciding consciously how we want our lives to go. Now of course, there are some circumstances we can’t control that will impact the plan we have for our life, but most of the time we get a say, we get a say in creating that plan. So I think that I’m able to make decisions so much more quickly with respect to my time and money and energy and, and all my resources because I know what my values are and what my priorities are in this season of life.
Okay, number two, I love and use a calendar. I use Google Calendar. If you’re inside Grow You you have the tools where I teach you how to use my planning method. But for purposes of this podcast, I want you to know that planning makes my life so much easier. All it is is a decision ahead of time with respect to how I want to use my time. So I don’t wake up in the morning and think, what am I gonna do today? I look at my calendar and I see that I have things that I have predecided I’m going to do. Now, sometimes that gets messed up, but 80% of the time, maybe a little bit more than that, sometimes a little bit less, right? With a full family and kids if, if something kind of changes. But most of the time the plan is the way. And this makes my life easier because I’m not having to make decisions in the moment. And I know that my decisions ahead of time, were a little bit more thoughtful and future focused. So I’ll decide what’s in my best interest ahead of time more than in the moment. It’s kind of like going out to dinner. If you decide in the moment, or at least I’ll speak for myself, I’m much more likely to get the french fries than if I decide ahead of time what I’m going to eat.
I won’t decide to get the fries. And that’s because in the moment that brain wants that pleasure, it doesn’t wanna do the hard thing. So planning ahead and using my calendar makes my everyday life easier because I don’t even have to kind of fight with my brain. I don’t have to overcome it. I can stay in the mindset of this is my plan for the day, I’m just gonna do it.
Number three, I leave white space on my calendar. So a lot of times when people hear how much I use my calendar, they think that means that I’m really busy or it’s jam-packed. And that’s not true. I think of a calendar as just a tool to help me decide how I want to use my time in advance. I love leaving white space on my calendar. This allows me to be more generous with my time. It also allows me to kind of just be and and live in my life without getting into scarcity or rushing around. So I intentionally leave white space on my calendar.
Number four, I don’t use a to-do list. I was just talking about this with my husband. He uses a to-do list. And no shame in that. If you use a to-do list and it works for you, do it. When I use a to-do list, my brain goes into, I’m already behind. I need to get all of this done now. So my calendar is really helpful because it takes me out of that scarcity thinking. I put things on my calendar in time slots, but I thought saying it specifically as its own item is really important here. The only sort of list that I keep is like a shopping list on my phone. We need groceries. Like I’ll add things to that list. But as far as to-dos, things to get done, I never use a to-do list and I think it makes my life so much easier.
Number five, I don’t believe my morning thoughts. What does this mean? I don’t know what your mindset is like in the morning, but right away, like those first thoughts when I wake up in the morning, they’re usually not very empowering. They’re usually, um, a little bit laced in self-pity. Like, ugh, what do we got going on today? Poor me. And it’s subconscious and it’s subtle. And then if I don’t manage my brain, if I don’t change my mindset on purpose, I will just slip into what’s on the agenda for today and kind of keep that low energy that I wouldn’t say is me at my highest self. So what I like to do is just choose thoughts about the day on purpose. I’m excited to have a great day today. I’m ready to take on the day, let’s do this, or whatever it is, it can be anything, but I found it to be very p powerful in making the rest of the day so much easier if I do a little bit of that self-coaching about the day in the morning.
Number six, I ask my husband for help all of the time. Now it doesn’t mean he always says yes, and he shouldn’t always say yes, but I have no shame or no hesitations in asking him for help. And I am often asking him to ask me for help. Like, let me know if you need help with this because his tendency is to not ask for help as much. For me, it makes my life so much easier asking for help. He’s so willing to help. Um, and there are other kind of support systems that you might ask for help as well, but I think that if you’re willing to ask for help, you can really make your life a lot easier.
Number seven, I have personal development, podcasts and coaching and Grow You and audiobooks all queued up on my phone ahead of time in advance. So I might do this at night or um, if someone recommends a good book or something like in the middle of the day. But it’s, it’s like a, a bank of of good content that I want to listen to so that when I’m getting ready in the morning, for example, I’m never turning on the news. I’m never kind of just wondering what I’m going to listen to. I like to use that time specifically to feed my mind with positive input to learn and to grow. So Grow You is a great source of of having this sort of input in your ear, particularly listening to coaching call replays in the private podcast, we have messages on there that I give every couple of days to help you manage your mind and feel way more empowered in your life.
And so for me, having it queued up on my phone, like I make the website look like an app on my phone, you can do that. And I don’t have to remember the login, like I just click it and it’s there and it just makes everything so much easier ahead of time. If I didn’t do that and I needed to like find the website, find the login information, figure out what I wanted to listen to, it would create more resistance than I’m willing to overcome in the moment. Now, if I was taking a class or something, maybe I would do that and it would be worth it, but this is kind of in the background of what I’m already doing. If I’m cleaning, if I’m folding laundry or whatever I’m doing around the house, I like to have that positive input curated ahead of time so that it helps me, um, live into who I wanna be.
Number eight, I have done a lot of mindset work around making deliberate and fast decisions so that I don’t stay stuck for very long, if ever. And it’s been really helpful for me to create the life that I want. And because this is now a habit, I think it makes my life so much easier. I definitely get the information I need to get, but I remind myself there’s no upside to prolonging this decision to waiting longer. And I’ve practiced this as a skill. So my skillset of making really deliberate and quick decisions has helped me move forward. When the mindset is confused, when you’re feeling like you’re stuck, that’s when you don’t move forward. So I would rather make deliberate and fast decisions and decide, you know what, that’s not the path for me. And then re decide and go in a different direction than the alternative, which is to just stay stuck and never try anything at all.
So I’m just thinking about how we lived in Chicago and then we lived in Charleston, South Carolina for a few years, and then we moved back to Chicago. My husband wanted to experience living outside of Illinois, outside of Chicago, and he really never had. And that’s what kind of brought us to Charleston. And it was interesting as I’m thinking about making deliberate and fast decisions, we easily could have just stayed in Chicago and never left and never had that experience, and one of his dreams never would’ve been realized. And what’s even like more interesting and and cooler than that is that because we had that experience, he was actually re deciding and decided, you know what? I’m homesick. I want to go home. Now, if we would have just stayed kind of stuck and never decided to move at all, he wouldn’t have that awareness and probably wouldn’t appreciate living in Chicago or even want to live in Chicago.
And so I say that because I think that a lot of times it’s easier because of the way the mind works and the brain works. The brain likes to repeat and do what it’s always done. It feels very safe. But if you train your brain to make deliberate and fast decisions, you can override that safety part of your brain. And then I think you create more experiences that you want to create. It doesn’t mean you don’t make mistakes, it doesn’t mean you don’t re decide, but it does mean that you get unstuck. It does mean that you always have momentum.
Number nine, I normalize problems. Okay, I don’t always do this, I still don’t like when problems arise, but it’s one that makes my life so much easier when I remember to do it. I like to say, problems are forever. This is just today’s problem or this week’s problem, or this season’s problem.
And interestingly, it makes navigating the problem easier and it makes the the period in between problems that that part of life better and more joyful and happier. Here’s why. If I don’t normalize problems, then I think, oh no, there might be a problem coming in the future and that’s bad. And that robs me of my current experience. So then not only do I have the problem in the future because the problem definitely is coming at some point, but then I also feel anxiety in the present worrying about the future. And that anxiety doesn’t actually stop the future problem. It just kind of steals the, the present joy. So this is one that I try to remember and when I do, it’s really helpful and makes my life better, just normalizing that problems are forever and that my goal isn’t to prevent all problems, but instead to be more prepared for them. That’s really what kind of doing this, this work is about.
Number 10, I expect and plan for resistance in transitions. This one has been so helpful in making my life easier, transitioning from, you know, just being married to having a child, transitioning from having one child to two kids, transitioning from moving, you know, from the north to the south, and then back again from the south to the north, transitioning any sort of job that I’ve had, transitioning relationships. Anytime there is a transition that you decide is big, there’s resistance because the brain prefers the path of least resistance. Whatever you’ve always done, the brain is very familiar with. So change feels uncomfortable if you just normalize and plan for the resistance in the transition. It’s not so bad. It’s like, oh, this is the part that is challenging during this transition, going from having no kids to one kid or one kid to two kids or, or more than that with every child. It’s a new transition and just expecting it to be sort of disorienting until you sort of get the new routines down, it makes it better because you’re not resisting that, that discomfort and the part where you’re just sort of like figuring it all out. You’re like, oh, this is the part that’s, that’s kind of hard.
Number 11, I curate my media intentionally. I don’t watch the news at all. I don’t listen or pay attention to anything that makes it harder for me to manage my mind. Now, I am trained as an attorney. I believe in being an active participant in society. I care about what’s happening in the world. And so I, I say that because, um, it can be tempting to think, oh, well, I just don’t care, or I don’t wanna know, or I wanna kind of live in my own bubble. And what I find is that I want to know things, which I always find things out from my husband or my peers or kind of just people talking.
And then if I want to learn something, I go specifically to the source of it or as close to the source as possible, which is never the news. So the news can be really indulgent insofar as it can just be like a talking piece that we use to feel bad and then don’t ever actually do anything. So, you know, if there is a tragedy, I wanna know about the tragedy and I wanna feel bad about it, and I want to kinda be educated about what happened. I don’t need to watch 20 minutes of the news talking about it every day for 10 days in a row. It’s gonna make my mind so much harder to manage, particularly when I am not going to actually do something about that tragedy, right? I’m just not. Um, there might be tragedies that I do something about, maybe if it’s in my local community or it’s related to some a cause that I contribute to as a charity or something like that.
But just notice this for yourself when you really separate out kind of, um, wanting to be informed and, and care from kind of the, the actual ritual of watching the news separate. And apart from are you gonna do anything about it? You know, you just wanna notice that impact on your life. And this isn’t just for the news, it’s for anything. I was coaching one of my beloved clients, she has adult children and one of her kids has a podcast. And it was really hard for her to manage her mind around what her daughter was talking about on this podcast. And I said, just stop listening to the podcast. And it had never dawned on her that this was a good idea. And she decided, yes, that is a good idea for me because it’s so much harder for me to manage my mind around her and show up as the mom I wanna be and love her in the way that I want to.
And it wasn’t so black and white that she was never gonna listen to it again. But before kind of thinking about it more intentionally, she just took on the mindset, because I’m her mom, I have to listen to her podcast. That’s what a good mom would do. So when it comes to any type of media, I like to ask myself, does this media input make it easier for me to manage my mind or harder? And if it makes it harder, I want to limit it. If it makes it easier, I want to increase it. It’s awesome that we can go to church or we can follow accounts that share good news and we can hear messages that give us thoughts, that give us a mindset of feeling good and positive and empowered. And that’s what I want more of. So I try to curate my media intentionally in that way.
It’s an ongoing process because I might randomly follow someone on a social media account and then, you know, a month later I see something and I’m like, what, what is this? I do not agree with this. Why is this on my feed? And, and, and it does take effort, but I will unfollow that account. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t love the person. It just means that that person’s content is making it harder for me to manage my mind. And I don’t wanna make it harder for me to manage my mind, particularly because of how easy it is to access media. So I try to curate my media intentionally and just, um, think about how much mental energy I am putting into media that doesn’t serve me.
Number 12, I leave early for things. This helps me get out of time scarcity, this helps me get into time generosity. I like to get to places early and have space, have that white space, have some extra time to help someone, to be friendly, to chat with people, with whoever else is wherever I’m going. It’s helped me be more easygoing and enjoy the process of whatever I’m doing to give myself extra time.
Number 13, I don’t drink alcohol. I haven’t drank in a few years. If you’re new, I don’t identify as sober. I, I don’t think that’s a very empowering way for me to personally think about it. I never had like this problem with drinking. I just noticed that drinking alcohol wasn’t adding value to my life. And I have to say, my mornings are so much better. My life is better. It’s easier. I was watching a reality show and there was all of this trauma around the spouse’s drinking and I was fascinated and I was reminded at how much easier my life is without having any of that drama. Now, what I’ve said before, and I will say again, maybe I’ll drink again one day. I don’t know. I like to think of myself as being the decision maker around alcohol. And for right now, I love not drinking. It makes my life so much easier.
Number 14, I choose an intentional style right now. And for the last several years, I’ve really only worn neutrals. So I’ll pick a few words that I like to use to kind of create decision filters for choosing clothes. Because when I walk into a store, whether it is Nordstrom or Target, there are so many pretty things. I really like things that I think are pretty. And if I just bought whatever I thought was pretty, I would have a very hodgepodge mixed sort of wardrobe and to make my life easier. Instead, I just notice pretty things I say that’s really pretty. And also it doesn’t fit in into the style that I want to have and create in that way. I’m only bringing into my home things that fit within that intentional style. I do the same thing with, um, my home as well.
And that leads perfectly into number 15, which is when I am thinking about bringing in something into the home, I think about the space intentionally. And I think of it as a flow. So if something comes in, most likely something needs to go out. Not always particularly, um, you know, if I just moved into a new space or something like that, but I don’t, like, I don’t hoard things, I don’t keep things just to keep them. I think that things, stuff should have a flow and I don’t wanna be attached to them. So I love to donate and I love to sell and I love to, um, bring new things in, but at the same time have things go out.
So when we first relocated back to Chicago, there were some things in our new home that we wanted to purchase and some things that we wanted to sell. And I think the first week that we had moved in, we sold all of our kitchen table chairs and bought new chairs that fit better in that space. The chairs didn’t easily go under the table, which was fine in our other kitchen, but in this kitchen we thought it would fit the space better if they went under. And it would’ve been so easy to kind of just keep the old chairs or just put the old chairs in the garage. Maybe one day we’ll need them. And I don’t let my brain go there because then I would just end up with so much stuff. What I like to think about is if I don’t need it right now, and I for sure can’t think of a, a date in the known future, right?
The these chairs aren’t going to help with another child or something like that, then I think, okay, if I’m gonna bring new chairs in, these chairs need to go, they will serve someone else in the marketplace better than they will serve us. And that way I keep a a pretty minimalist, um, home. I mean that is definitely subjective. I, um, I have been in homes that are way more minimalist and then also I’ve been in homes that have closets full of stuff. And for me it makes my life easier and better and I feel lighter. And it’s easier for me to manage my mind when I am decluttered. And if you are inside Grow You and you want more help on decluttering, I taught a class this year about decluttering and oh my word, it was so life changing. There were so many people who hadn’t decluttered for years and they were sending me pictures and tagging on social with all of the decluttering that they did.
So you can access that over in the library underneath Simplify. So that’s what I have for you today. If you wanna make your life easier, ask yourself some questions like, how can I make my life easier in this specific area? And your brain will come up with solutions. Of course you can borrow any of my suggestions, but they are just things that I’ve found to make my life easier. In no way is it prescriptive or the right thing to do, but if you’re looking for a way to try that you think could work for you, definitely give it a try. Just do kind of one at a time and see what works for you. I’m all about making life easier to the extent that we have control over that. Alright, my friends, I love you so much. See you next week. Take care.
If you loved this podcast, I invite you to check out Grow You my mindfulness community for moms where we do the inner work together. Head on over to nataliebacon.com/coaching to learn more.