Per Dictionary.com, simplify means "to make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier." Invest some time in simplifying to limit stress, more quickly find what you need when you need it, have a clear grasp on what needs to be done at any moment and stop wasting precious moments of time. Make every minute matter!Ⓡ
Here are tactics to jumpstart your efforts at simplifying your life:
- Deliberately choose how you invest your time. Develop habits such as a weekly strategy session and daily wrap-up to map out a specific game plan and stay on track.
- Learn to say "no". What actions are being asked of you that don't actually need to be done? Are there tasks on your to-do list that could be delegated to someone else that can do them equally well if not even better so you open time for what only you can do? Alternatively, should you consider "not now" for something that can be delayed until a later deadline?
- Stay true to your priorities. When you know what matters most, you can more intentionally align your actions with those areas of importance, avoiding burnout. As priorities shift, you can be flexible and shuffle how to invest your time so you keep your actions focused on your goals.
- Utilize work-life integration for greater overall success. By studying research by Wharton's Work / Life Integration Project along with my experience with clients' best practices, I know first-hand how you can create harmony with goals for home, work, society and yourself complementing one another rather than competing with each other. Focus on actions that can accomplish multiple goals at once, plan how you can invest your time with each of your most important priorities at the forefront of your emphasis and maintain pliability to easily address your priorities as they evolve over time.
- Respect the value of your space. Whether it's in your physical space, electronic files or calendar, keep only what is accurate, applicable, useful, bringing you joy and not just as easily found with a quick Google search. If something filling your physical space, electronic files or calendar no longer meets those requirements, remove that clutter.
- Plan to have the tools you need nearby when needed. Do you utilize a smartphone, tablet or laptop? If so, you are well aware of all the accessories needed, especially when you are working on-the-go, like charging cords, earbuds and the like. Rather than depending on whether you remember to bring "all the stuff" with you whenever you work outside an office, keep multiple sets of accessories (one for the office, one in your vehicle, one for your bag), bundling your tech tools together with the GRID-IT or a canvas pouch that's easily portable.
- Address email. Unsubscribe from eNewsletters you are no longer reading, consider bundling subscriptions that you do read via Unroll.me and shift from checking to processing newly received messages, moving to-do items to your task management system, adding requests for your time to your calendar, shifting retention items from your inbox to personal folders and using delete as your friend to remove trash or junk.
- Save time with forms, templates and checklists. If you regularly send the same reply, create a template that can be easily plugged in and tweaked as necessary, saving time by not starting from scratch each time. Create a packing checklist so you don't forget anything needed for travel. Design a form for your grocery shopping list so you remember to restock the essentials each time and save valuable minutes by listing the items in order of the aisles at your store.
- Automate daily processes. "Set it and forget it" may be the greatest time-saver. Investigate options such as IFTTT, Podbox and Zapier to find the best solution for your needs. In addition, add an automated cloud back-up solution, such as Backblaze, Carbonite or CrashPlan, and consider which social media management solution will allow you to automate putting the right message in front of the right audience at the right time.
- Cut back on distractions with fewer pings and dings. When distracted, it can take us an average of 23 minutes to fully re-engage in the task at hand. Each time we receive a notification for a new email, social media update, text message or voice mail received, those are distractions that rob us of valuable time. Turn off the notifications and schedule set times to check each platform. For folks that do require an immediate response (like key account clients or your direct supervisor), make them VIPs so you can utilize Do Not Disturb on iOS and Priority Mode on Android.
Where do you see excess in your life or time being wasted? How can you take action in tiny steps that will assist in simplifying your life so you get to your goals more easily?