Do you remember those big, red “Easy” buttons that Staples used to use in commercials? The struggling office worker would simply tap the Easy button and their office supply woes would be resolved?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve dreamt at least once about how great it would be to have an easy button in real life. (You can buy them — from Staples, of course — but they won’t magically fix anything.)
While we may not be able to tap a button and solve our problems, what I’ve learned (and what I help my clients do) is how to create our own easy buttons to help make life a bit easier.
Women tend to be the “Rememberers” of the household. Our brains are full of important things to remember for ourselves AND for everyone else. Did so-and-so take his allergy medicine? When was the last time I vacuumed upstairs? Does the car need an oil change? Did she email me back yet? I need to add that to the grocery list. It’s endless.
We need some things to be easy or automatic!
When we have habits, routines, plans, systems in place we free our minds from having to remember to do something — these are my “easy buttons”.
Life feels a tiny bit easier.
We have more energy to devote to other things that aren’t so easy. The aging parent, the unexpected bills, the looming work deadline, the messiness of the world that makes us long for the peace of heaven.
So how do you create easy buttons in your life?
Let’s talk about habits and routines first.
You’ve probably heard it takes 21-28 days to form a habit. I’m a huge fan of building habit stacks to make creating habits a bit easier. A habit stack is when you tag a new habit onto something you already do.
Let’s say you want to start getting better about praying daily. (Prayer is such an important foundation to our days and our lives, it’s hands down the best easy button you can have!) Think about something you already do every single day. Brush your teeth? Drink a cup of coffee? How could you add in prayer time either right before or right afterwards? Every time you do that existing activity, use it as a trigger to pray. As you work on creating this habit you’ll naturally start to associate the two actions together.
Once that new habit is in place, you can even add another one if you’d like. You can create habit stacks around anything: cleaning up at the end of the day, for your bedtime, for your morning routine. Add new habits little by little and soon you have a solid routine that you do mostly without thinking about it.
How about plans?
Life certainly doesn’t always go the way we expect it to, but when we have a plan in place, it’s much easier to roll with it. Imagine how much easier your day would be if you already had a plan in mind for when the kids are home sick and you still have to get work done. How about a plan for days when you’ve had a terrible night’s sleep and have to function on little energy?
When you have a sense of how you’ll handle these types of situations, when they come up, your plan is literally your easy button. Baby-sitter canceled? No worries, the bin of “emergency toys” and a movie will help occupy the kids. Terrible traffic on the way to work? A favorite podcast that you save just for traffic delays will help put you in a better frame of mind.
Think of a situation when you’d love to have a plan ready to go. Decide now, while you’re calm, what you’ll do in that situation.
Systems for the organized and not-so-organized.
Depending on how God designed your amazing brain, you may or may not automatically build systems into your life. For some of us, it’s second nature and for others it can feel like overkill or too daunting to start. No matter how your brain works, however, systems are an incredible “easy button” that I encourage you to try!
What do I mean by systems? Anything that will help you remember to do something. It can be calendar reminders, things you put in your planner, sticky notes, emails…whatever works for you. For example, I use tasks in my Google calendar for everything from watering plants to scheduling the kids’ well visits. If I didn’t have these reminders pop up, I’d likely forget or be rushing to do it at the last minute.
When we have a system in place to do the remembering for us, it reduces our mental load; we’re less stressed about remembering to do it and that little space in our brain is freed up for other, more pressing things. Do you have a way to remember to schedule your annual GYN appointment? The kids’ well visits? How could you create a system that helps you remember to send Christmas cards before the last minute or order a birthday gift with plenty of time to ship? What would a system look like to help you remember to pray?
Easy buttons for spiritual, physical, and mental health
As a health coach, I love helping my clients figure out what easy buttons are going to work best for them. One client worked hard on improving her sleep and was not only able to be more present for her dying mother, but able to care for herself through that painful process. Another client needed to drink more water, so set up a row of water bottles in her kitchen so she could see and drink them as the day went on. Another incorporated listening to worship music on her drive into work to set the tone for the day at her stressful and mentally exhausting job.
Easy buttons are just one piece of the work my clients and I do together in my coaching programs. I work with women either 1:1 to tackle specific health goals or with a small group in my 12-week program The Exhausted Mom Solution. My approach is grounded in faith. Prayer undergirds everything we do together.
God’s given us these bodies, these temples of the Holy Spirit. Our most important responsibility is to care for them so that we can do the important work He’s created us to do.
So, what easy buttons will you create for yourself? How will this easy button help you care for your body, mind or soul? If you’re feeling a little stuck or overwhelmed, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Put a calendar reminder to schedule your annual GYN appointment or eye exam
- Keep a rosary in your purse or on your car keys so you always have it handy when an opportunity arises.
- Move your vitamins or supplements to a prominent spot so you don’t have to dig them out of a cabinet. (Near the coffee maker is a good spot!)
- Choose one night each week to designate as a super easy dinner night (i.e. pancakes, soup and sandwiches, spaghetti and meatballs)
- Before you head to bed, put everyone’s shoes near the front door to avoid last minute cries of “Mom! Where are my shoes!?”
If you aren’t quite sure where to begin, please reach out. You don’t have to do this alone.
I’m praying for you!
Janna Kerr is an IAHC Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and founder of At The Well Coaching. She serves exhausted Christian moms by meeting them “at the well” — in the midst of their day-to-day — and empowers them to love and care for their bodies so they can fulfill their God-given mission in this world.
As a mom of three, Janna knows the struggle of not having enough energy to make dinner, let alone “find balance”. In 2016, Janna was able to shift her focus from the nonprofit world to the health and wellness industry. Personal connection with her clients is the best part of her day and she’s passionate about giving them simple, realistic, and actionable tools.
She offers 1:1, group coaching, and a 12-week program, The Exhausted Mom Solution. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram at @atthewellcoaching.