How to Have it All: Simplify Your Life and Do What You Love
Ever since I was young I have always had a lot of projects and activities on the go. Making it all happen was just a matter of being organized so there would be time for everything. Over the long term, however, organization was not enough to keep me on track. Sound familiar?
When I started my career as a lawyer on Bay St., it became clear that some projects were no longer possible and other activities had to be combined. Out went the boxes of unfinished projects. Next went some of the activities for which I had only a passing interest. Running or cycling, weather permitting, became a regular part of my life to combine exercise with commuting. Those were easy changes— but then what? I still needed more time.
Next, I became a homeowner of a fixer upper. While I was doing my best to streamline my tasks at work, life at home was in complete disarray. The house was old and needed all sorts of attention. A large renovation project was looming on the horizon, and there was the endless upkeep. Unlike at work, there was no professional guidance about how to effectively manage and streamline life at home. It was stressful—on so many levels.
Soon I was pregnant with my first child. I knew that I really had to address my house if I was going to be able to continue to “do it all”— pursue both my professional and personal dreams. A baby— while a joy— was only going to add to my activities so, somehow, I was going to have to drop some of my house related tasks. I needed a house that required minimal attention to support me as I juggled work, family and fun— so I created one.
We tore down our old house and built a new one that is not only beautiful, but also very functional, low maintenance and designed for modern living. Crazy? Yes, it was a big project, but the outcome exceeded expectations. Not only have I recouped a lot of lost time previously spent on our house’s upkeep, but the new home has also become a calming environment for me— my own little urban retreat.
Was that the end of my quest for time? No. I had a second child and started looking for more. But, upon reflection, I realized that my quest was no longer about time, but energy. I could do a lot of things, but I was often tired. What was the point of having time if you did not have energy? New problem. Was this a matter of needing more sleep or something more?
What I discovered through books and conversations was that when you do something you are passionate about and it is aligned with your top strengths— i.e. what comes naturally to you — it requires a lot less energy. This was an a-ha moment for me, and the final push I needed to become an entrepreneur and build a company assisting others with simplifying their home life: building homes that are beautiful, functional, low maintenance and designed for modern living.
Today, I do it all. I have the energy and time I require to pursue my professional and personal dreams. Simplifying my life and following my passions and strengths has made it possible.
Alisse Houweling is a Home Rebuild Consultant and the CEO and Founder of KAAV LIVING.