In this episode of Small Scale Life, Julie and I discuss what we are doing to try to focus on what is real, what is important and what we can do to start Minimizing Time Commitments while Maximizing Life. 

As yourself these questions (and be honest when answering):

  • Do you feel stressed out? 
  • Does it seem that there is too much noise and information out there?
  • How do you sort through what is important and what is not? 
  • How do you prioritize your time commitments and focus on what is real and what is important?
  • How do you make decisions on where to spend your precious resources: you time, energy and money?

Julie and I have some answers for you in this podcast, particularly as we are heading into the holiday season, where everyone wants part of you.

To listen to this podcast, please click on the link below or download the mp3.

Download MP3 (53.1 MB)

Pathway to Developing a Simple and Intentional Life: Minimalism

Simply Canning, Canning Basics, Canning, How to Can Food, Safe canning course, how do I can food
Rows of canned food make me smile; sometimes the rows get out of control – November 2018

Julie and I began discussing Minimalism in the podcast episode and corresponding blog post titled “5 Steps to Developing a Simple and Intentional Life.”  We discussed the following 5 steps:

  • Eliminating Clutter
  • Minimizing Time Commitments
  • Reducing and Eliminating Debt
  • Replacing Screens with Reality and People
  • Defining What’s Truly Important in Your Life

In retrospect, we should have started with the 5th Step: “Defining What’s Truly Important in Your Life” because this one step feeds all others.  Once you have determined what is truly important, everything falls into place and makes sense:

  • Minimizing time commitments that take you away from your purpose
  • Connecting with and doing things with people that share your values and your mindset

Hindsight is always 20/20!

Instead, we started with the top of our list with the podcast and post titled How to Declutter to Make a Simple and Intentional Life. Julie and I introduced a process we have successfully used to declutter our house, which was required when we effectively combine three households into one this year.  We just didn’t have extra space for all that stuff!

Last week, we followed up the Decluttering episode by answering some questions from Small Scale Lifers.  Folks asked a number of questions about starting, dealing with collections and where to focus their efforts.  

These podcasts about Minimalism have been some of our highest listened to shows of 2018 and in the history of the Small Scale Life Podcast!  Clearly there is a need for practical and actionable advice for how to get rid of stuff and bring yourself and others some joy.  Julie and I will continue that discussion as we move forward. 

As an aside, we are recovering stuff-aholics, so we will continue to be in the trenches with you.  Some of us are better (Julie) than others (me) at getting ride of stuff!

Minimizing Time Commitments while Maximizing Life

Minimizing Time Commitments while Maximizing Life, Minimalism, Intentional Living, Surviving the Holidays
All aboard the Wisconsin Great Northern in Trego, WI – September 2018

In Western Civilization in the current year, we are pulled in any number of directions.  The demands on  our time seem to be at an all time high.  Everyone is trying to capture a little slice of your time, money and energy. At the same time, our culture has put emphasis on things that are not worthy of our attention.

Julie and I discuss a couple of huge time commitments that are looming this time of year including kid’s activities (sports, church, Scouts, etc.), charities/organizations and the holiday season.   The kid’s activities and 
charities/organizations soak up time, money and energy.  From our own experience, these things advertise “an hour a week,” but the reality is that they can easily turn into part time jobs.  

It comes back to your WHY.  When it comes to minimizing time commitments, you might need to use a magical power word that few chronic people pleasers today (including Julie and I) have a hard time saying:


You have to keep what is important to you in mind, and you need to set boundaries using that little two letter word. You cannot please everyone, and you have to keep that in mind.  They will get over it, and chances are that person, group, charity or other organization will respect you for standing for your own interests and protecting your time.

From experience, it is easier said than done.

Lessons Learned for Minimizing Time Commitments

The extended Domres’ Family on a train in Northern Wisconsin – September 2018

The extended Domres’ family gathered in northwestern Wisconsin in late September for Christmas.  It was unusual to gather than early and celebrate the birth of Christ, but it was the only date that worked out for everyone. 

We had a great time, especially taking the Wisconsin Great Northern pizza excursion train from Trego to Hayward Junction, Wisconsin.  No one needed to cook or clean up messes; we all climbed aboard and enjoyed the ride.  We had never all taken the train before, and since there wasn’t anywhere to run and hide, we all got a chance to catch up and talk.  We highly recommend taking one of these leisurely train rides!

Four Lessons Learned to Minimize Time Commitments while Maximizing Life

Minimizing Time Commitments while Maximizing Life, Minimalism, Intentional Living, Surviving the Holidays, eagle moment
One of the eagles from our very own eagle moment on the county road – September 2018

We did have some other adventures and projects that weekend.  Afterwards, Julie and I came up with four Lessons Learned  from this weekend that could be applied to any gathering: from a simple backyard fire to a complicated Hogtoberfest-like gathering with multiple families.

The Four Lessons Learned to Minimize Time Commitments while Maximizing Life are the following:

  • Make this time about the people and the experience
    • Do as much advanced planning as possible
    • Simplify the preparation work; do it ahead of the gathering
    • Free up your time to enjoy each other and experience the moment 
  • Delegate tasks and let the person do the work!
    • People want to help, so let them.  Make sure you stand out of the way and let them shine
  • Appreciate the opinions and experiences of young people
  • Allow extra time to go places; stop and smell the roses or enjoy your eagle moment!

How About You?

Minimizing Time Commitments while Maximizing Life, Minimalism, Intentional Living, Surviving the Holidays, Wisconsin Great Northern
All Aboard! Are you ready to Minimize Time Commitments?

What do you think?  Are you ready to Minimize Time Commitments this holiday season? 

Julie and I would love to hear from you.  Tell us what you think about our Four Lessons Learned.  We would also love to hear your stories or lessons learned.  Feel free to leave a comment below, send us a note on the Contact Us Page or send us a note at realsmallscalelife [at] gmail [dot] com.  

The power to change is in your hands.  You don’t have to do everything at once.  You just have to do a little #bettereveryday.  Julie and I are here to help!

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