Four Ways to Simplify Your Life

My brain lacks a lot of internal structure, so I'm dependent on external structure to keep myself moving.  As a person who identifies as having moderate signs of ADD, it is important to fill my toolbox with strategies to support my goal directed actions.

In the last couple of weeks on my blog I talked about a helpful tool for prioritization, and the power of invoking the panic monster.  Today I'd like to share four other things that you can do to help balance and simplify your life.  They are easy to remember because they rhyme.  They are eliminate, facilitate, automate and delegate.  These are not new concepts by any means, but when I start to get overwhelmed with all of the stuff I need to do, they can help me to focus on what is most important.

Eliminate

A couple of years ago I was feeling bad because I wasn't getting everything done that I wanted to do.  Then I took a really good look at where I was spending my time, and realized I was scheduled solidly with pretty much no free time or "me time." Something had to go for me to move forward.  Unfortunately at the time, it was a relationship with an awesome person that wasn't quite resonating for me.  I set aside dating for a while to focus on starting my business, but then I met someone rather unexpectedly.  The business got put aside for a few months, but then I decided to go part time at my "day job" so that I could focus on building a business and maintain my relationship.While these are some pretty major eliminations, small things can help too.

What is it that you are saying yes to that doesn't resonate with your important priorities?

Facilitate

Facilitate is a fancy way of saying "make easier."  We can do this by taking out unnecessary steps and simplifying the rest. This is a useful tool for repetitive tasks such as report writing and housework.  In my work, I use a lot of templates to simplify reports and other repeated written materials.  Other tools to help with this include chunking together similar activities (eg. doing all your social media work at the same time for the week), finding an effective system to write things down and retrieve them, refraining from multitasking and unplugging in times when you need to focus.

What is one repetitive task that you can facilitate, or simplify?

Automate

For those rote tasks that you might not want to do but need to get done, it is helpful if you can find ways to automate them to make them more consistent, regular and predictable. Some tools for automation include schedules, routines and written templates (which also help facilitate).  The easier you make a habit, the more likely you are to keep it.  Planning routines around natural transition times such as bedtime, morning or when you get up can be helpful as well.  Also, if you want to access something regularly, such as a piece of exercise equipment, it is helpful to have it out somewhere where you don't need to set it up each time. I myself get so dependent on routines, that sometimes I throw myself off when vacation comes and I don't have the regular weekly schedule of school.  Now that I'm not working in schools 5 days a week, I've found other ways to provide structure to my day such as twice a week hot yoga.

What is a habit that you'd like to get more consistent with that you can plan to do at a natural transition time each day (eg. morning, arrival home, bedtime)?

Delegate

I don't know about you, but there are a lot of things I do because I think I should that someone else could do better or more efficiently. One thing I've been able to let go is deep housecleaning.  I have made a commitment to pay someone to clean my house every couple of weeks and even when my finances are low, that takes precedence over other spending.  This is because when I don't have to worry about cleaning house, I am better able to focus on doing what I'm good at and will help more people.  Another thing I'm looking into is hiring a virtual assistant to handle some of the technical things that someone could do much more efficiently than I could.

What is one thing you do that someone else could do more efficiently?

This week, think about where you are feeling overloaded.  What is one thing that you can eliminate, facilitate, automate or delegate?