Feb 14

Steps to Simplify My Life as a Bed and Breakfast Owner: Step One

My life has gotten way too complicated, by my own making, and it’s time to simplify it.

My father used to say that he had to get something done. He had a lot to do, even post-retirement from his job as a Professor at the University. By then he owned three properties; his home in St. Paul, MN, a log cabin that he had built on a Wisconsin lake, and a townhouse in a retirement community in Green Valley, Arizona. And all those properties created a lot to do.

Over the years, he kept them all going, with the repairs. I don’t ever recall him enjoying life, but then, he was a child of the Great Depression. I don’t think he ever really enjoyed anything. But he took pride in his hard work. Something about my father, as the years passed, was that it took longer for him to complete the work he set out to do in a day. He accomplished less. He napped, dozing in the chair, and he went to bed earlier, slept just a little later in the morning. It wasn’t by choice, but by necessity. His body and mind were simply not capable of going full-tilt continuously anymore.

As I look back, I see myself determined to “get something done” in a day. But it seems like I try to get too much done, setting unrealistic goals to my day’s agenda. In so doing, I invite stress and frustration. I make mistakes. I feel caught in a web of my own spinning. I tend to put off the things that give me the most personal satisfaction, like chatting with my husband about whatever comes into my mind, like walking for 20 minutes, like having lunch with a friend, like chatting with my children and grandchildren over the phone. Before I know it, the day has sped by and I am feeling strangely dissatisfied. Instead of the mantra, “get something done”, I’ve adopted over the years a variation that’s more like “I got a lot done!” And that was at the expense of something else. It also led to increased self-induced stress, and burnout.
Owning a bed and breakfast is an invitation for over-achievers to out-do themselves. In reflection, I have seen the error of my ways, and am working instead to simplify. With that focus, with that philosophy, a mission statement can serve as a guide for my daily and long-term planning in maintaining a successful B&B business. This series of my blog will explore steps to bring simplicity to my world.

Step One: Create a short mission statement, a single paragraph, that reflects the philosophy of “Simplicity in all things.” Type it, print it, maybe frame it. Tack it up or hang it where you can look at it regularly; next to your computer, on your bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator.

My blog will share with you what happens as I explore the effects of attaining simplicity in my life as a B&B owner, and we can see how it all shakes out together. I invite your comments, your stories. Let’s journey on.