Behind-The-Scenes Thoughts On Creating Simple Not Stressful

Simple Not Stressful's officially live, friend, and I've never been more excited!

*party hat and dancing lady emojis*

Working on this new site for the last two months has been crazy-fun and super-scary. Fun because of how right this project felt to me as it slowly came together. And scary because putting in the work without knowing what the outcome will be means taking a step of faith.

So before we start, let's pull back the curtain on Simple Not Stressful and see how it came to be. Creating it taught me lessons that made my life simpler during the launch, and I'd like to share these gems with you.

Behind-The-Scenes Thoughts On Creating Simple Not Stressful | Click through to learn the lessons that made my life simpler while I was creating my new site.

1. "Before" comes before "after".

That sentence sounded dumb, but stick with me here.

When I was cleaning my closet last March, I mentioned we had to figure out what kind of closet we were going for so we could get there. It just makes sense to pick an endpoint so we know what we're reaching for.

But the opposite's true too: knowing where we're coming from is the first step to changing things up.

There's a reason "before" comes before "after".

You decide to lose weight when you realize you've gained a bit around your middle.

You start cleaning house because looking at how messy it is drives you to fix it.

And in my case, I rebuilt my website when my old one wasn't a good fit anymore.

So here's my backstory: I launched a blog called Fistfuls of Life last January.

As a traveler - you can see a map of where I've been on my Bio, by the way - I wanted to start sharing my experiences away from home and the photos I'd stockpiled in my Camera Roll.

Traveling as much as I did gave me so much and I found writing about it helped me connect with each of my stories in a deeper way.

I wrote about a lot of things: travel, work, photography, food, and starting last February, my hoarding habit.

Being accountable to all of you to show decluttering progress in my No Mess Monday series made cleaning up my act less of a chore.

You, friend, also seemed to like those posts best.

I opened emails about how people reading my blog started facing their own clutter and its role in their lives. I got messages that supported me as I stopped stockpiling stuff.

I started sharing the things I picked up on my own decluttering journey, and as we learned together, Fistfuls of Life changed.

It became less about travel and more about simple living. The new direction felt right to me, but writing under the name Fistfuls of Life felt, well, wrong.

It felt disconnected from where my blog was going, like wearing a dress that was still in good condition but a bit too tight in certain places.

I didn't like how the name didn't give you a clear idea of what my blog was about. And after speaking to a friend and reader from Australia, I didn't like knowing "fistful" was an unclassy word in Aussie culture.

I had to face that "before" so this website could get to a better "after".

Takeaway: When making changes in your own life, you have to acknowledge the old to get to the new.

2. The ultimate failure isn't what you think it is.

There technically wasn't anything wrong with my old blog and its name.

Sure, it didn't resonate with me but I could have kept it anyway. I didn't have to rework anything.

And if I did that, it would have been ok. I'd keep blogging and creating week by week. Nothing terrible would have happened.

But I've found when we do nothing, nothing better happens too.

We'll still be stuck in a situation we don't like. You and I won't get to the level of awesome we would have otherwise.

In my case, I also didn't want to look back years from now and regret not taking action. Because from my experience, doing nothing often leads to "What ifs" we can't seem to get rid of.

Takeaway: When you’re faced with a “before” you feel is no longer working in your life, doing nothing is often the worst (non)action to take.

3. Fear can be your friend.

Fear comes with any change. It's just the way it is.

We fear what we don't know will happen next after doing things a different way. We wonder if we know what we're in for. We fear how people will react to our new thing. The list of fears could go on, really.

And those fears? They can paralyze us.

They make us doubt our actions, our opinions, ourselves. Until we decide to procrastinate, and even give up.

But I'm here to tell you that you can make fear work for you.

You can turn your fear of the unknown into determination to make backup plans that work. You can let your fear of messing up energize you to double-check the details. You can even use your fear of staying in a situation you don't like as the push to get out of it as soon as you can.

Like how fear of blocking my blog's growth drove me to recreate my website.

Takeaway: Rule your fears, and don’t let them rule you.

4. Ask for a hand (or two).

When I decided to make changes last summer, I realized I was in for a lot of work. I knew I'd need to clear my plate to do it all, so I took a blogging break last August.

I had no idea what I was in for.

Sure, I probably could have done everything myself. I used to be a graphic designer on the side years back, and I'm a computer nerd.

But I didn't count on everything taking longer than I thought it would. (That's happened to you too, right?) Things I forgot I had to do started popping up on my To Do list.

Life also got messy. I got food poisoning a week into my blogging break and took another week to bounce back. I used up extra time to catch up on my day job after that.

August and even September became a madhouse.

I might have gotten super-stressed except for one thing: I got help when I needed it.

I worked with a designer on prettifying my website. I got advice from other bloggers on how they handled stuff behind the scenes. I asked some readers to be betas for my new site so I wouldn't worry about missing any kinks.

All these people made my life much easier.

Like I said, I could have done it as a one-woman show.

But just because I can do it doesn't mean I have to.

If I'd gone that direction, I would have been in a panic these past few weeks.

And with this space all about simple living, that would have been crazy-ironic.

Takeaway: Let people help you before things go pear-shaped.

5. Let go.

Stress is about control, my friend.

It's about wanting the outcome to be just so, and not accepting anything less. Which isn't necessarily bad, but when we apply that mindset to every little thing?

We get really stressed out, and that stress might even convince us to give up making changes.

Done is better than perfect has been my mantra through the last few weeks. Because some things we're so set on don't have to be perfect. Right. This. Minute.

Instead, we can make sure they're good enough, plan to improve on them later, and move on. We can even decide to let go of them altogether.

Case in point: I really wanted to rewrite my old stuff before posting them on the site. I agonized over each page, and got frustrated over how long this part was taking me.

It was hard, but I was determined to make each post the best thing since sliced bread. (Yes, fellow Harry Potter fans, I'm an ambitious Slytherin.)

I talked - ok, complained - to my best blogger friends and their reply made me step on the brakes:

"Why do you feel like you need to rewrite? Will it make a huge impact on your brand?"

It was my Eureka! moment, so to speak.

It would be nice to have everything just right on Simple Not Stressful. But was wanting to control every little detail worth the stress it added to my plate?

For some things, maybe. But for others, not so much.

So I let go. And what do you know, the frustration went away with it.

Because when we get right down to it, control is an illusion.

We plan and prep so we get things done, but the unexpected can still shake up your day and make you reach for plan B.

Letting go of perfect for the unimportant things makes for a less complicated life.

Takeaway: Being a control freak is a super-stressor.

6. Surround yourself with a cheering squad.

I mentioned asking people for advice a couple of times in this post.

What I didn't mention were the people cheering me on through the work. Readers, email friends, and other bloggers pushed me on the last few weeks.

"I'm SO EXCITED to see what you come up with!"
"You can do this! I believe in you."
"I love your stuff! When will you be writing again?"

There's a reason why "No man is an island" is a saying, friend.

It's harder to change when you're alone.

Not impossible, but harder.

I might have been able to build Simple Not Stressful without the encouragement but it would have taken wayyyy longer. I might even have given up.

But I didn't.

I knew people were counting on me. I was accountable to my email friends, and didn't want to let them down. Announcing I had a project cooking then admitting I'd given up wasn't an option.

The same idea is the reason groups like Weight Watchers are so popular.

Takeaway: So get a support team to egg you on.

These 6 lessons definitely simplified the creation of Simple Not Stressful. I hope they make changing up your life easier too!

Want to be an email friend?

You'll get a heads up on my newest stuff (like when my email friends got to hear I was cooking up this website a month early!), extra articles I don't post anywhere else on the interwebs, and a few more surprises.

This'll all be in a message from me twice a month (read: when a new post goes up).

So you in?