Work, School, Family, Kids, Bills, Car, Groceries, Home Repairs… on a daily basis, we deal with most of these issues, in addition to many more. Our lives are a complex, interwoven web of responsibilities and commitments that often encroach on one another, causing us to constantly feel rushed and stressed.
As kids, we couldn’t wait to grow up. We saw adulthood as the age of having all the power in the world at our fingertips, all the control to do what we want, no bedtimes, no vegetables, no piano lessons. Growing up, however, didn’t turn out exactly the way we had hoped as children: instead of freedom, our lives became even more filled with things we HAVE to do, and exponentially-less so with things we WANT to do.
To celebrate Simplify Your Life Week 2014, we chose to come up with ways to simplify our daily commitments and responsibilities, to consolidate the time devoted to taking care of things we HAVE to do, to make more room for the time filled with things we WANT to do.
1. First and foremost, evaluate your life’s commitments. Make a list of 3-5 activities or goals that are most important to you. Once you are satisfied with that list, compare the list to your daily activities, to the commitments that make up your average day. You could even go more in depth, and analyze your entire week. You will probably notice a lot of similarities in the two lists. However, there will also be outliers, activities that did not make your top 3-5 list that are actually taking up a significant amount of your time. Consider how important these activities are to you and think about how you could shrink or eliminate them from your routine.
2. Simplify your daily tasks. Regardless of what kind of activities fill up your day, whether it be in the office, on a construction site, behind the wheel, or at home, our daily lives are made up of responsibilities and associated tasks. We also suffer from the common malady of having too many tasks and not enough time to do them all. Analyze your tasks and their importance, and learn to automate, eliminate or hire help when it gets to be too much.
3. When you simply do not have time for a task, where automating or eliminating is not an option, and you do not have the capacity to hire help, learn to say “No.” As kids, we loved the word and said it constantly. As adults, for some reason, we’ve grown up to be afraid to say it. Maybe it’s a fear of being seen as valueless or lazy, or maybe it’s just our desire to please, most of us do not say no, and therefore take on more tasks than we can handle.
4. Most of all, learn to free up time. Turn off your phone, shut off the computer, and give yourself some time to relax. Eliminating tasks is a great way to free up time. Good luck!