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Emily Ley Blog

Simplifying 2020: Part 3 - Schedule

December 30, 2019

It feels like every year I look forward to the year ahead and vow to simplify our schedules. But I have to say, I think we did a really good job of this in 2019. Maybe it was because I wrote When Less Becomes More in January and the lessons reverberated throughout the year for our family. Or maybe it was because we really hit our groove with all three kids at the same school. (To all you work-from-home moms out there, the day your kids go to school for six hours and you have clearly defined, uninterrupted work time is the day EVERYTHING changes). Either way, our schedule felt do-able this year. I said no to a lot of work travel throughout the year so that I could say yes to a big photoshoot in North Carolina in January, a four-day adventure to Nashville to record the audio version of When Less Becomes More (something that was so important to me), and a seven-day, two-part book tour after the book release. I’m glad I made those things a priority, work-wise. It’s hard to say no to fantastic speaking engagements or opportunities for press for Simplified, but I decided what mattered most and went for it, knowing it was no for now, not no forever. That’s the thing about saying no. There are seasons of life where we have to lean hard into our personal lives and seasons where we can be free to lean hard into work or other things. While my kids are small, I have to lean hard into family. It’s a decision I know I’ll never regret. 

On the flip side, I said yes to “Summer Mode” for the first time ever. Summer has always been this tricky season as a work-from-home mom. Kids are home and want to do ALLTHETHINGS. My heart wants to just play and be with them. But work still happens. I started this business so that I could have flexibility as a mom. So this summer, I decided to stop pushing and chasing so hard (fueled totally out of fear that if I don’t, everything will fall apart) and put my planning skills to good use. I decided to test out Summer Mode not just for myself, but for our entire team of eight women (many of whom were feeling the same struggle). In May, we held a marathon two-day meeting to plan the ENTIRE rest of the year: emails, social media, photo shoots, production, etc. We carefully mapped our plan and got to work. We planned intentionally to be able to go into Summer Mode once June 1 rolled around, lasting until mid-August when school was back in session. Instead of weekly team meetings, we held monthly team meetings. Instead of major tasks being due in the summer months, they were due in May or in August. We planned accordingly and Summer Mode was FANTASTIC. Everyone was able to work when they wanted from where they wanted. While that level of freedom came with expectations of complete dedication to deadlines and utmost integrity, I have to say it really worked. In fact, I think the work we turned out this summer was some of our best ever. Sure, it may have gotten done late at night or during the early morning hours before kids woke, but it got done. And the eight members of Team Simplified were able to fill their wells.

You may not have the same level of flexibility in your own life, but I share this story to encourage you to question everything. Could you talk to your boss about flexing your schedule? Could you put in hard work in the Spring to plan for a lighter summer, even if your hours don’t change? Could you say no to loads of extracurricular activities for your kids to create margin and opportunities for play and memory-making instead? Could you plan for a Labor Day Weekend staycation? What about those memories you want to make happen this year—could you schedule those right now, in your planner? 

The beauty of simplifying our schedules is that in one way or another, we all have some level of control over them. We can choose what we say yes to and we can choose what we say no to. Saying no to three kids’ birthday parties in the same weekend means saying yes to devoting time and attention to your child’s very best friend’s big day, rather than spending the entire weekend stressed about getting from one thing to another. Saying yes to implementing a great system for managing your days (I have a great planner for you, haha!) means saying no to disarray and confusion about who has to be where when. 

I’d love for you to consider what you’ll say yes and no to this year. And ask yourself: Do I have options when it comes to how my days play out? Could I tweak or change my schedule to better fit the good life I’m/we’re after? 


Having a tool to help you kick-start the new year is so important! It’s a place to put it all; your schedule, your to-do list, and big ideas about the new year. We created the 2020 Signature Simplified Planner minimally on purpose: to give you a fresh start, no matter your season of life. To celebrate 2020, we’re giving you 20% off your NEW Simplified Planner with code NEWYEAR. Some cover options are selling quickly, so get your favorite before it’s gone!

Enter to win today's AMAZING giveaway! Today's giveaway includes a $100 Target gift card (that we hope you’ll use for board games or something fun to fill a rainy day!), a $100 Simplified gift card, and signed copies of The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner & my new book, When Less Becomes More. Giveaway ends at midnight EST tonight. Winner will be contacted via email.

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