Simple Changes For A More Intentional Life

I have been doing a lot of filtering lately - trying to cut back on distractions that keep me from being more present and peaceful in my everyday life. I wrote a list of some of the changes I have made over the past few years that I have found made a significant difference in my life. Here is that list.

- Getting off of social media - I still peruse it but continually am trying to cut back whenever it gets to be too much. Not posting much significantly changed how often I would get on.

- Letting go of pressure to blog - while I would love to post and share all the things, letting go of this pressure has freed me up. I still hope to blog when I can but it is only when I have the time and want to. Which unfortunately in this season is not very often! But I know time will open up again one day and my attention needs to be elsewhere right now.

- Holidays to enjoy myself/with my family - I have let go of sharing/simplify sharing my holidays online and it has allowed me to do it more for myself and my family instead of what I can share.

- Private Instagram to document milestones so I have it but can come back to it later - I love having an easy place to post and save special memories and milestones, specifically around my kids, that I can come back to later for baby books and nostalgia. Not having any followers makes this easier to keep as a documenting process versus sharing/caring what people see and read.

- Finding time to exercise - after the pandemic and baby #3, I really struggled to find the time to exercise without going to the gym. I finally figured out a simple at home exercise routine before my last pregnancy that has helped me make it happen again! Sometimes I have to stop and give a child a hug, break up a fight, or wipe up smashed banana off the rug! But I'm letting go of expectations of how I want to do things and actually just doing them.

- Sitting and being with my kids - pregnancy forced me to do a lot of sitting on the couch. But I learned that my kids need me to be available and not so distracted.

- Finding delicious and easy meals to make - the easier the better! And currently we are eating the same simple foods every week as that is all I can handle right now. But it makes my life so much easier! We have been eating for dinner: tacos, bagel breakfast sandwiches, barbecue chicken with rice and vegetables, an easy pasta, hot dogs with corn on the cob, pancakes or waffles with eggs, and Costco pizza on Saturdays for family movie night.

- Purging stuff to make our home more spacious and comfortable - I recently found The Minimal Mom and her videos on kids stuff has been life changing! She not only focuses on living minimally but she has shared some of the philosophies behind children having less stuff. It has really helped us this summer as we have been hunkered down at home with a newborn. My kids are playing so much better with less toys and instead with creative activities where they are using their imaginations. A favorite quote from one of her videos: "It is a child's imagination that keeps them occupied. Not toys."

- Reading books on my phone or kindle + using Goodreads to track and document progress - it has been easier for me to always have a book with me on my phone. I read while I feed the baby, relax on the couch, use the bathroom (sorry TMI but real life!), or sit waiting somewhere. I also started using the Libby app to get books free from the library on my phone! Using Goodreads to document what I have read keeps me motivated to read more. I have read more books the past two years then probably ever in my adult life! I never really enjoyed reading in the past but this practice has helped me find a new joy in reading.

- Getting an Aura digital frame - preserving family memories without more frames on our walls or looking to social media. My highlight reel is now in my kitchen! These frames aren't just for grandparents (even though my mom and mother in law both have one!). The quality of the screen is also really good - do not be deceived by my photo above. Taking a photo of a screen is not great!

You can see all the photos you and other frame members upload on the app which is like it's own little private family social media space. I realized that I could never quite quit Instagram because I liked using it as a place to look back at old pictures. Now my digital frame houses all my favorite photos to look at any time. I never thought I would want a digital frame for myself but I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I love it!

- Sitting and talking to Brent at night before we watch tv - spending time with my husband before turning on a show has proven to help us connect better. We also recently got take out and had a picnic outside after putting the kids to bed. It was wonderful!

- Taking notes after the holidays to simplify and remember traditions - I keep a little notebook about things we did over the various holidays. Things we enjoyed and things I want to do differently. If something is not worth the time, I don't want to keep doing it just because we did it before. I focus on the few things that are important to our family and let go of the rest.


- Editing phone photos on my phone - Instead of editing photos from my phone on my computer, I now edit them on my phone when I have a minute. This significantly cuts back on the time I spend editing and sitting at my computer. I use the Lightroom mobile app and love it! I also use presets for both my phone and Lightroom on my computer that has saved me so much time.

Here are the presets I use for desktop or mobile. They are the starting point to my editing in Lightroom (the mobile app is free). If I need to do anything more, I usually make the image brighter/darker or adjust the white balance (warm/cool - yellow/blue). But often I don't have to adjust anything! To use these, open up your image in Lightroom and use my numbers to make the adjustments. Once finished, save the settings as a preset and it will be there every time you edit a photo! 

I use the first photo of my daughter for my everyday photos (more natural and warm). And the photo of my home is the preset I use for Instagram and images of my house (a more blue saturated moody look!)

- Using airdrop to send phone photos to computer - another photo specific change. I used to use dropbox to dump all my photos onto my computer and it took a lot of time! Plus I don't like to have a lot of photos on my phone as it makes me feel behind or overwhelmed. If I want to look back at old pictures I can look at my Aura digital frame app! I also use the app Family Album to share photos with family. If I need a picture on my phone that I deleted, I can usually find a copy of it on one of these apps.

- Using Powersheets - this yearly goal setting planner has been so helpful to me. I have been using it for years now and it always helps me to refocus as well as sift through how and why I do certain things. Silly things like how I edit my photos seem minimal in the grand scheme of life, but realizing that I was spending so much time on it forced me to figure out a better ways to do things. And to simply let go of some of it to make room in my life for other things.

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