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Can't Keep Up? 3 Ways to Simplify Your Life

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from Martineric on flickr

from Martineric on flickr

Feeling overwhelmed with all you have to do or want to do? Can’t keep up?

Here are seven ways to simplify your life, reduce the stress and increase your happiness in the process.

1. Stop trying to keep up and keep sane instead.

Take stock of your life right now.

What is overwhelming you? Does your to-do list stretch to two pages? Did you give up on a to-do list? Did you overcommit to meetings and tasks for others?

Chances are you’ve stacked up more activities than are humanly doable in a day or even a week or more. Add to that the fact that some things aren’t negotiable like feeding the kids, doing the work that pays the bills and you can build up enough stress to blow a dike.

Carefully go through your list and identify 3 things that must be done today or there will be dire consequences to your personal or business life.  These are things like ignoring that leak coming from the area of the washer or neglecting to return a call from an important client.

Just do those things for now.

2. Drop out of, cancel or postpone activities that don’t further your goals or happiness.

It may not have seemed like much to do when you promised to bring cookies to the meeting, but if you piled that on top of offering to pick up the neighbor’s kid from swimming, swing by the cleaners to drop off your suit for next week’s meeting and a string of not-so-big-tasks you just set yourself up for exhaustion and what’s worse–resentment.

Instead of running to do individual errands, group them by location and ease of travel and do those on one day.

And by all means, learn to say no to things you can’t add to your life without overflowing.

3. Lower your standards.

In spite of what professional organizers tell you, your house will not fall apart if it’s not in perfect order . But you will fall apart or get sick if you insist on every dish, towel and throw pillow being in place before you go to bed every night.

If you are raising kids this is even more important. Spend time on what counts most.

I favor spending time with helping the kids with homework, practicing music or sports, or talking to them about their day over working at fastidiousness.

If there are tasks that must be done, maybe you don’t have to do them.  Somewhere along the way of my professional life, I promised myself there was no point working if I couldn’t budget money for at least an occasional housekeeper.

Tomorrow I’ll share four more ways to simplify your life.

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