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Extension Agent: A much, much simpler life is not that complicated

By By Erika Bochat
Feb. 14, 2012 at midnight
Updated Feb. 13, 2012 at 8:14 p.m.

Erika Bochat

Home life doesn't have to be as complex or difficult as many people would like to make it seem. There are simple solutions to some of the situations that we can see and feel as being everyday problems we have to manage.

I call it the extension home made simple, and though there are as many solutions as there are situations we face, it's best to choose just a few to concentrate on to make a real difference in our home life.



Simpler household chores

No one really likes doing household chores - especially when they take up precious time on the weekends. The best approach is to knock out the chores a little at a time during the week.

Divide weekly tasks into set weekday chunks that take less time and divide those tasks even more among family members. Mondays, for example, might be for laundry and trash ... Tuesdays for vacuuming and food shopping ... Wednesday for bathrooms and floor mopping, etc.

Consider making waking up a little early a part of your weekday routine and doing some chores first thing in the morning. Not only will you feel better all day knowing they are done, but everyone will have more free time at night to relax and enjoy your family's evening.



Simpler budgeting

How many times have you bought things on impulse? How many times did that item end up collecting dust, or worse, stay on a shelf, or in the back of a closet somewhere?

Buying unneeded items is a big waste of money, creates clutter and works to complicate your life. Impose a three-month moratorium on shopping for anything but groceries and personal necessities. This will help you break the shopping-just-as-a-habit routine and show you how little you really need to buy.

Once you see how much less complicated it is not to bring things into your house you don't really need, consider trying to go another 30 days.



Simpler wardrobe

How much time do you spend pouring through your jammed wardrobe closet trying to figure out what to wear every day? And how much money have you spent on clothes that you've only worn once, if at all?

Don't let yourself become obsessed with the latest fashions. Instead, pick a simple style that looks good on you and stick with it. From this basic base, it is much easier to build combinations of outfits so that each item works with most other pieces in your wardrobe.

Limiting your color scheme to two or three colors a season also makes it easier to build or add to your wardrobe from season to season - and it simplifies your accessories choices as well, like jewelry, scarves, ties, belts, purses and shoes.



Simpler time management

Whether stored in our minds, written in complex planning books, or stored in the latest electronic portable device, most of us have long lists of goals we are working toward achieving.

The problem is that achieving them all is nearly impossible and therein lies the stress. Worse yet, having too many goals leads to our losing sight of the most important things in our life.

Take some quiet time to zero in on your top five or six priorities. Write them down. Look at that list every morning and remind yourself that these are the things that are really important.

Focus your attention on the tasks you set out to do each day and ask yourself if those tasks contribute to your achieving those goals.

After a while, your life will begin to automatically revolve around what matters most. And what matters most to you is what matters to me as a County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences with Texas AgriLife Extension.

Erika Bochat is a Victoria County extension agent-Family and Consumer Sciences.

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