2019: The Year of “Simplify” (or rather…can I have a do-over please?)

This past year was especially difficult. I wasn’t sad to see it go. Not at all. I didn’t meet most of my goals I’d set at the beginning of the year. I especially feel like “simplify”, my word for 2018, was the exact opposite of how the year turned out. Adjusting to life back at work, family and personal challenges and an international relocation consumed most of my time and energy.

That’s just how life is sometimes, and ultimately, I feel like I’m a better person than I was at the beginning of 2018 in many ways. Even if many goals were unmet.

So, this year my word of the year is again…”simplify”. It’s exactly what I need…still.

By using the Pareto principle (essentially that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort), this new year I identified the things that I believe will make the biggest difference and am focusing on them. In addition, I’m also concentrating on habits this year, instead of goals.

Simplifying My Daily Routine

This year, I’ve revisited my daily routine and prioritized the most important tasks for the time of day that I’m most productive (generally, early mornings). This includes daily scripture and prayer and exercise. It wouldn’t be a new year post without a mention of exercise, right?!

Time management is something I’ve struggled with since becoming a parent. I’m frequently pulled in several directions and routines really help me to stay more focused.

I’ve had success with time blocking in the past, and I’m planning to continue with that to make sure that I set time for work and family time.

Simplifying My Home

With our most recent move, I realized that I had made a lot of progress over the last few years toward a more minimalistic home.  I still have lots of things to declutter, and I plan to make more progress this year. The fewer things I have, the less distracted I am from the things that matter most.

In addition to simplifying physical things, I also aim to simplify our family routines and the things that we put our energy and time into. Our kids are growing up fast (they’re all three in school now!) and the time we have with them suddenly doesn’t seem like it will be enough!

Simplifying My Finances

Last year, I completely automated my finances. I don’t have a single bill that’s not paid automatically (at least in the US!) and I even automated nearly all of my financial documents.

However, the rest of my finances got more complicated. I opened additional accounts instead of reducing the number as I had planned. Also, moving abroad means I have to track everything in multiple currencies and have a significant amount of transactions that are no longer automatically pulled into YNAB automatically. Tracking my spending is important to me, though, so this time spent directly aligns with my values.

I got a good start already by setting up my own financial spreadsheet that will accommodate both my US and China budget and allow me to track my finances and taxes more easily (the bundle I sell in my shop, with some modifications to accommodate my own personal situation).

My goal is to get down the time spent to about 15 minutes each week. This includes budgeting, tracking expenses, and monitoring investments.

Final Thoughts

To really simplify my life will likely take some time, but I’m committed to making improvements this year that will leave me more room to spend my limited time and energy on the things that are most important.

Here’s to an amazing 2019 and the opportunity to start anew (and sometimes just start over when we need it!).

What are some ways you’ve simplified your life?


3 Responses

  1. I’ve put my to-do list on Google Calendar — I have no idea why this didn’t occur to me until recently. Right now, I don’t have everything there but I have the main things I want to get accomplished in terms of work-related projects. And if an item (reminder) doesn’t get done, then it’s automatically added to the next day’s list. This has simplified my planning and planning angst by eliminating paper, which has been a source of clutter in my house. Plus it’s helping me to remember and stick to my priorities.

  2. Simplify seems to be the word of 2019 for a lot of people! It’s true that making an effort to simplify does really save time and energy though, and from a financial perspective make everything easier to manage. I think my finances and my home (storing wedding preparation bits, engagement gifts and decor for the ceremony) are only getting more complicated with getting married this year!

    1. At least you didn’t say your LIFE is getting more complicated…ha! Everything has its own season it seems, and simplifying some things makes room for other things in your life. Congrats on the upcoming wedding!



I’m Kathryn Hanna-wife, mother of 3 and a Certified Public Accountant. I love to budget (really, I do!) , build spreadsheets and spend money on travel, sewing supplies and good chocolate.


12 Month Financial Plan Sidebar


Easy-to-customize spreadsheets to improve your entire financial life from budgeting to tax and retirement planning.