This post is about to get really ironic. Oxymoronic, if you will. (Whoever came up with that word is wonderful.)
I’m about the last person to simplify these days. I’ve been saying YES to so many things in the hopes that it will all lead to something professionally and I truly believe it WILL get me to where I want to be. But, at the same time, I’ve been getting that feeling. You know the one, Miss Multitasker. That feeling when you’ve got too many emails to reply to, too many uncrossed-off tasks on your to do list, too many thoughts floating in your mind that it’s impossible to sleep. You know you need to cut back so that you can keep up, but you don’t want to let go of anything either.
If you’re like me and want to be involved in everything but recognize the need to respect your sanity, then here are 5 ways to simplify without giving it all up.
1. Recognize your limits and don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you know you’re busy this weekend, don’t pretend you’ll get that project done by Sunday. Set a realistic expectation and be honest with yourself and with others.
2. Unplug. I, too, treat my phone as an extension of my hand, but even I need a time out from all technology. Close your laptop and leave it, along with your other devices, in another room for some time. Use that time to read, spend time with family or friends, or actually get other work done without any distractions. Still have trouble unplugging? Try the UNICEF Tap Project that gives back while you step back. Brilliant!
3. Unsubscribe. Not only will unsubscribing from email lists save you money (think of how many email promotions prompted you to go shopping), but it will also clear out that ever-growing inbox. Most email subscriptions have a one-click unsubscribe button. Instead of putting it off like you always do, spend 10 minutes unsubscribing to a group of emails weekly and you’ll watch your inbox (and your stress) shrink.
4. Delegate time for each task. This is something I REALLY need to work on since my typical “work day” is all over the place and I try to get everything done at the same time (Crazy, much?). Instead, delegate a set amount of time to each task on your to-do list and stick to it. For example, between 1-2 p.m., work on blog posts, but at 2 p.m. switch to your next task. Whatever you don’t get done, set it aside for a miscellaneous hour or the following day. Naturally, prioritize for the more time-sensitive projects.
5. Believe that it’s OKAY if it doesn’t all get done. My first year of teaching taught me this: Life goes on, regardless of what you do or don’t get done. Eliminating this pressure might, in fact, boost your productivity because you’re not worried about managing it all.
Visit In Pursuit of Simple to see how my friend Jess is making simplifying her mission this year! I’m sure there are many other ways to simplify so I want to hear from you! How do you simplify without sacrificing?