Do your days seem to fill up quickly, leaving you distracted and stressed out? It’s quite a challenge to be happy and healthy and fulfilled when you are chronically stressed.
One solution? Simplify your day.
By following these 9 easy suggestions, you can simplify your day and remove a lot of the stress that may be wrecking your life.
Change is never easy, but it can be easier if you do it in steps. So don’t try to do all of these things all at once. For best results, take a bit of time to put these techniques into action. If you want to seamlessly incorporate these changes into your life, get used to using one strategy before moving on to another one.
Follow these steps, and your days will be more enjoyable:
1. Consider what’s most important. Simplifying anything always starts with determining what is most important and figuring out how to eliminate the rest.
• What are the 4 or 5 most important things in your life? Make a list.
• Now, think about your activities, tasks, and commitments that are congruent with your list.
• Start eliminating the items that fail to support your priorities.
In his book, Essentialism, author Greg McKeown talks about always doing only those things that are essential in that moment, nothing more.
So what is essential for you to be doing right at this moment?
2. Know what your ideal day looks like. It’s hard to achieve something if you’re lacking a target. So, visualize your ideal day. Everyone’s ideal day is different, but figure out what yours would look like.
Write it down on your calendar and then follow that plan. You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done, but more so, how great you’ll feel.
3. It’s okay to say “no.” When faced with opportunities to add activities to your life, consider your priorities list. If a new activity doesn’t fit with your list, just say “no.” You don’t even have to explain why. No is a perfectly good answer and nothing more is needed.
• If you’re afraid you might disappoint others by turning down their request, remember that when you do too much, the quality of your contribution is minimized anyway. You’re letting yourself and your family, maybe even co-workers, down more when you take on too much.
4. Prioritize your tasks. Before you go to bed each night, make a list of the three top things you want to accomplish the next day. Make a second list of things you’d like to accomplish, but that aren’t critical.
• Avoid doing items on the second list until the first list is complete.
5. Schedule time to do the most important items. If it’s important to complete a certain task, decide exactly when to do it. These appointments should be bordering on sacred. Nothing should get in the way. Turn off your phone and stay off the internet!
It’s way too easy to break commitments and appointments with ourselves if we don’t make those things just as important as anything else.
6. Slow down. Going a little slower won’t decrease the amount you accomplish. Rushing is just wallowing in nervous energy that makes you tired, less effective, and prone to mistakes. Smile and breathe. Everything is easier if you simply slow down.
7. Try single-tasking. Multi-tasking has been shown to be a less efficient way to work. Focus on just one task at a time. Complete it and then move on.
• This is a great opportunity to hone your ability to focus.
8. Batch the smaller tasks. When possible, have time scheduled to do all of your phone calls at once. The same goes for dealing with e-mails or any other similar task. These are great to do at the end of the day when your energy is low.
(Unless you’re making a sales call. You want to have high-energy and feel good when making sales calls. So make those earlier in the day while still super-charged.)
9. Leave some space in between. It sounds counter intuitive, but you can get more done if you take a short break between tasks. Have a drink of water and move around a little bit. Breaks are important. Relax.
I like to spend 50 minutes on focused working and then take 10 minutes to re-group and rest before going back to it for another 50 minutes and so on.
• It’s not necessary to cram one task right on top of another either. Give yourself some breathing room in between.
Making your day as simple as possible is almost like creating magic. By focusing on the most important items each day, you eliminate a lot of clutter in your life and in your mind. You’ll feel much more peaceful and get more of the important tasks accomplished.
Incorporate a few of these suggested changes into your schedule today and your days will become more simple — and more enjoyable.
How do you simplify your day? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.