One of our most serious enemies is Complexity. It saps your time by overwhelming you to the point of atrophy, and can lead us to believe there is nothing we can do about our chaotic lives. Whether you are struggling with your finances or simply needing to breathe easier, here are three things you can do in 24 hours to be more productive.
You're going to need a whole day for this simplification process. Schedule it in on your calendar. This is going to be a massive overhaul of the way you work. The night before, go to sleep early. The morning of, eat a hearty breakfast. You'll need to be alert and willing to work hard so you can work less later.
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1. Unload your mind with pen and pad.
This is one of the most effective strategies for de-stressing and allowing your mind to take a break. Grab your pen and jot down everything that you have to do in the short and long term. Don't worry about the order of things, just write for a solid block of time. What you'll find is that this process will get your mental wheels turning. You'll come up with new ideas, dig up old things you almost forgot about, and feel the burdens start to be lifted.
This unloading process is part of the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology. The idea is that you spew all your ideas and concerns out on paper and look at the big picture. This is the first step to helping you organize your life is to get everything out in the open. You can also accomplish this using programs such as Things for Mac.
2. De-clutter all your stuff.
After you have spent a good portion of your day getting every to-do out in the open, it's time to create a de-cluttered work environment. There's nothing like a clean, uncluttered work space to melt away stress.
While I personally enjoy an uncluttered work environment, it isn't always easy for me to maintain. To blast through the large piles on your desk, try throwing everything into one big pile. Then, organize everything into three separate and smaller piles: Inbox, Archive, and Trash. The Inbox pile should be items that are of immediate concern. Keep this pile small and process these items (ex: bills) as soon as possible. The Archive pile can be scanned into your computer for future reference or stored securely in a locked filing system. Try to archive as little as you can. Don't keep everything! The Trash pile needs to be shredded and thrown in a dumpster. Throw away as much as is reasonable.
What you'll be left with is a serene work environment where your productivity will shoot through the roof. But don't stop here. It's time to organize your to-dos and daily activities.
3. Design your day-to-day living.
This is the fun part. Take a look at your average day and ask yourself this question: is there anything I can do to simplify my lifestyle and enjoy every moment? As you architect your new day, pull out that list you made in Step 1 and ask yourself how you can accomplish these goals over time. Create a game-plan worth pursuing. Maybe one of your items is to get out of debt – study Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps! Perhaps you need help keeping your home organized while on the go – read blogs focused on un-cluttering!
Whatever goals you have, taking 24 hours to reorganize your life and finances will create a healthier you. I challenge you to start from the ground up and redesign everything to better suit your needs. What do you have to lose?
What are some things you've done to simplify your life and finances? What do you suggest to others?