It’s a given – the first three years of entrepreneurship is a wild and crazy ride. When you add a full-time job to the mix it can feel even more like a three ring circus making it easy to feel overwhelmed. I know, because I’ve been there. When I got serious about launching my business while working full-time, one of the things I decided to do was simplify my life.
Simplifying your life will look a little different for each person.
It can mean cutting unnecessary to-do list items, eliminating clutter from your home, or fine-tuning your priorities. For me simplifying my life started with gaining perspective on what really mattered to me and redefining what success looked like. One of the first things I did to simplify was get rid of excess – I let go of books, old clothes, household trinkets, etc… things I didn’t need that were taking up space.
While there are things you can do immediately to simplify your life, real simplicity is accomplished over time. Here are 10 ideas to get you started with adopting a more simplistic lifestyle:
1. Do a reality check.
Identify what’s most important to you and then get rid of everything else. Know what really matters the most to you. Things that don’t matter are simply wasting your time and energy, so purge them as soon as you can.
Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. ~Lin Yutang
2. List the top 4-5 priorities in your life.
Keep this list with you all the time so you always remember what counts the most. Put a copy on your bathroom mirror, next to your computer screen, and keep one in your wallet for good measure.
3. Evaluate your current commitments.
Take a look at everything going on in your life right now. Which of these commitments actually deliver value or joy? Or are in line with the 4-5 priorities you listed in the previous step? Eliminate everything else.
4. Assess how you spend your time.
Is your day full of time sinkers or ? Make a list of everything you do in a day and compare that to your list of priorities. What can you eliminate?
5. Simplify your to -do lists.
In your day job and in your business, rather than trying to knock off every single task on your to-do list, focus on only the most essential tasks and then find ways to eliminate all the others. To do this, you can try delegation, outsourcing, moving them to other days or simply dropping them. Tim Ferriss‘ book The 4-Hour Work Week provides some great examples of how he used outsourcing to get things done.
6. Simplify your home tasks.
Repeat the above process with your home tasks. Look for ways to automate tasks, schedule routine chores and outsource where it makes since. Remove anything from your list that isn’t a required task or doesn’t fall in line with your priorities.
7. Learn to say no.
When you learn to say no, you’ll begin to take on only as much as you can handle. Then you can give your attention to the tasks that matter the most.
8. Limit your consumption of media.
The abundance of media available today can overwhelm nearly every second of our lives. Minimizing the amount of tv you watch for example can dramatically increase your productivity and focus.
9. Optimize your communication.
Establish guidelines for how you will handle the different types of communication. For example, setup a specific times during the day to respond to voice mail , and another time to respond to emails. And limit chatting via IM to a certain time during the day with a time limit. This can help prevent communication from overwhelming you or your day. ( A great resource for optimizing your email is Marsha Egan’s Inbox Detox book).
10. Purge unnecessary stuff.
Devote one weekend every month to getting rid of absolutely anything that you don’t want or need in your life. Removing everything that doesn’t really matter can be therapeutic and cathartic. Develop a habit of clearing out your home and your life once monthly is a beneficial process that can impact your well being. Even better – make the monthly de-clutter session a family project.
This is only a small sampling of the things that you can do in order to simplify your life. With conscious effort these 10 suggestions will help you create more space and energy mentally and physically. The time and clarity you gain from simplifying your life can new be invested in your business or your family. Either way you are creating a win/win/win for you, your business, and your work/life balance.
- Five Ways to Simplify and Balance Your Life (simplespaces.wordpress.com)
- 10 Ways to Simplify Your Business Operations (startupbiz.wordpress.com)
- One powerful practice (theorganizedexecutiveblog.com)
Latest posts by Tai Goodwin (see all)
- Launch Talk Episode #80: Making Servant Leadership Part of Your Business Model – October 2, 2013
- Guest Post: How to Outsource Labor and Effectively Grow Your Business – October 1, 2013
- Launch Talk Episode 79: Even Your Part-time Business Needs a Business Plan – September 25, 2013