Thoreau said, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.”
KISS, the abbreviation for Keep It Simple, Stupid, is my motto this week. Only, I don’t like the word stupid so I changed it to Smarty. Which makes me think of those little candies. It also reminds me that I am one smart cookie when I keep it simple. This week life handed me more than usual. However, on Monday instead of looking at my week as a challenge, I saw it as an opportunity to hone my time management skills and work on simplifying my life.
You are busy. I know. There is work and family obligations along with a whole slew of commitments and activities. Let’s face it, it’s becoming harder and hard to keep it simple. Would you agree? With all the gadgets and gizmos that are supposed to help me save time, I feel instead like a chicken running around with my head cut off. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, I focus on 5 key areas that can really impact my life.
5 ways to keep it simple, smarty
- Keep it positive. Our thoughts are powerful, and often by worrying we make matters worse. If you assume you won’t get everything done, then you won’t. Simple as that. But if you see yourself getting everything done, and getting through your week with grace, then that is exactly what will happen. Same goes for happiness. If you want to be happy, stop worrying about your misery. Keep it positive and you will feel better.
- Have better time management. Never is time management more necessary than when you are overworked. By simply focusing on getting tasks written down on a list, you will accomplish much more than you imagined. Create a to-do list and prioritize, start with the hardest project first. Once you start on a project, you’re more likely to finish and to feel good about your progress. This is more motivating than writing down the same task you were supposed to do yesterday on tomorrow’s list because you underestimated how big it was. I’ve been there, with a big task showing up on my to do list day after day for weeks, when I should have just completed that task in the first place. In your to-do list include long-term projects as well as the more imminent things that need doing. When performing any task, ask yourself – is this the best use of my time? Concentrate on the task at hand. Do not let yourself be distracted by worrying about all the other things to be done or losing energy over the undesirable situation you find yourself in. Stay in the moment.
- Keep the clutter at bay. A cluttered workspace with files, folders, notebooks, envelopes, receipts, and pens in heaps all over the place is a huge distraction and is no way to function effectively. If you are looking to simplify, start with the clutter. When you are pressed for time, searching for that file or pen is a huge waste of time. Everything has a place, so be sure to put everything back in its place at the end of day. Starting your day with a clean slate will immediately put you in the right frame of mind to attack your tasks.
- Say NO. Don’t Overcommit. We constantly overestimate what we can achieve in one day, and underestimate what we can achieve in one year. Why is that? To be successful, set big goals for yourself in life, but set small achievable goals for your day and week. Thinking you are a bad person for saying no is a symptom of “the disease to please,” and it’s not making you a better person. Saying yes when you need to say no causes burnout. If you need to say no, then say no and don’t feel guilty. If a two-year old doesn’t have trouble saying no all the time, why do you?
- Review your day before you leave for home. And be realistic. Look at what worked well, and what could be improved the next day. Feel satisfied with the day’s work? Then be happy with that. If you are not satisfied, what steps can you take tomorrow that might lead towards satisfaction? Also, leave your work at work. Once you are home, do not continue to keep the work assignments and meetings buzzing in your head during your home life (this will not make your family happy). Mentally say good-bye to your work space the moment you leave for home. Tomorrow is a new day!
Invest time now to save time later!
Simplifying your life and your business frees up time and energy for more living and more business. In order to do that, you will have to commit some time up front to clear clutter, check in with yourself, and set up some time management skills. However, I guarantee you won’t regret this time.
Do you have a favorite time-saving or simplifying tip? Send me an email, I’d love to hear from you.