April 7, 2018
Do you ever feel like life is just a balancing act and if you become unfocused for one short minute or take on one more thing you will lose it all? Are you looking for tips to simplify your life? Trust me, I get it…I’m just like you! Even when I feel completely frazzled, letting something fall through the cracks is not an option!
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For so long an unbelievable amount of daily stress was just a way of life for me. I was so STRESSED that one day while trying to relax (who am I kidding, my mind never stops) I had a spontaneous subconjunctival hemorrhage (bleeding under the conjunctiva). This wasn’t the only medical issue associated with stress that I have experienced, but it was the final straw for me and prompted me to find ways to simplify my life.
Don’t get me wrong, my life is still beautifully hectic and stressful but by implementing just a few simple changes in my life, my stress load has lessened.
This is probably the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn. Why can’t I resist the urge to just say yes, even when I don’t have time? Ruth Soukup wrote an amazing article on her blog Living Well Spending Less called 5 Ways to Say No. Although for some (like me) saying no is hard to do but when looking to simplify your life it is necessary at times.
I’m learning that in order to become good at saying no, I have to arm myself with a handful of tools that will help me say no without feeling bad, and without upsetting or angering the asker. They are certainly not foolproof, and I certainly haven’t mastered them just yet, but these five guidelines might just help you too.
At one time, I was the QUEEN of multitasking! I have since found out that multitasking isn’t very effective and that it is better to finish the task at hand before starting another. Switching between tasks in rapid succession can lessen our ability to perform at our highest of levels. In other words, by splitting your focus you are not getting more accomplished. When we give our undivided attention to the task at hand, the end result will be much greater and actually take us less time.
When asked my greatest strength I always answer by stating my ability to see the big picture and prioritize properly. Looking at the entire project can cause overwhelm but by seeing it in smaller scheduled chunks and whittling each of these down; the task, the day, or the project seems much more manageable. By prioritizing and scheduling your to-do list, you will be able to see what is filling up your “plate” and see the big picture of what is a must-do and what you can rearrange, assign to someone else, and even what you can just skip altogether.
We all like to think we are Wonder Woman, but let’s face it even she had help from time to time. It is hard to give up the reigns but delegating some of the smaller, time-consuming tasks will alleviate a significant amount of stress in your life. When giving your kids minor tasks to help; you are not only lessening your load, you are also teaching your children responsibility…this is a win-win in my book.
Delegating is not only for the home. In my corporate life, it was very hard for me to delegate. I found it easier to do a task myself and know it was done correctly. This was ALWAYS quicker (in my mind) than teaching someone and having them take over. Can you say CONTROL FREAK??? I was burning the candle at both ends. Through the years I learned that just because it wasn’t done my way didn’t mean it was done the wrong way. Once I accepted this little bit of advice, my life sailed on smoother waters.
Have you heard of this rule? It’s from the book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by best-selling author David Allen. The general premise of the rule is basically this; if a task takes less than two minutes to complete it is better to just do it rather than writing it in your to-do list, processing it, and revisiting later. It’s really just that simple and will help reduce the burden later and help you achieve a simpler life.
I don’t know about you, but I am a visual person! If I don’t see it in writing it is more likely to slip my mind. Planning my day, week, and month in a neat and tidy planner helps me to stay organized and function at a higher, stress-free level. Using a planner and writing lists help me to keep my brain organized and gives me a view of the big picture to avoid that dreaded overwhelm feeling. I also get a huge sense of accomplishment with every item I check off.
I really LOVE this Life Planner from Erin Condren. It gives me the pages and space I need to organize my life!
Life happens and things just don’t always go as planned. It’s okay! Sometimes you just have to laugh at the chaos and go with the flow. The unexpected end outcome may even be better than the plan.
At the end of the day, don’t be so hard on yourself. You can’t make all of these changes at once but you can take small steps to alleviate your stress level and simplify your life. With every tip you follow, you will slowly feel some of the weight being lifted from our shoulders!
What are some of your tips for simplifying your life? I’d love to hear from you!