How I'm achieving more by doing less
When I launched The Essential Planner last Autumn I made no secret of the fact that I had designed the planner I could never find but so desperately wanted. I really hoped I had created a system that would finally help me achieve the things that mattered, whilst staying sane and reaching the end the day feeling fulfilled. The straps line on the front of the planner is 'Plan less, live more'. This was a kind of personal mantra to remind me that in doing less I would feel so much more, joy, peace and fulfilment.
In the six months that I've been implementing this new way of approaching everything my sense of overwhelm has drastically decreased and I'm definitely moving bigger goals forward more easily, not to mention enjoy so much more down time.
Here are a few of the tools I've been using. I hope they can help you:
1. Keep just one list
I've always been guilty of having lists all over the place and then never quite being sure if I've forgotten something. So stressful. By keeping all my weekly tasks on one list I know what I need to do and because it's weekly rather than daily if something spills over to tomorrow I don't feel guilty at all. I genuinely get a real sense of accomplishment at the end of the week.
2. If it's not a 'hell yes' it's a no
This is the way I'm now approaching invitations, requests, business opportunities. I'm naturally a very enthusiastic person and love new experiences, I also get so much energy from spending time with other people. This means it's all too easy for me to say 'yes, yes, yes' and whilst this didn't used to be a problem, now that I have two kids, a business, a husband, not to mention personal goals, I've found I have to say no to lots more things in order to say yes to these really important parts of my life.
3. Reduce my possessions (even more)
Despite being pretty minimalist for the last couple of years, I've found myself becoming even tougher this last year. I hate clutter and even more than that I hate tidying clutter. So every couple of months I find myself doing another sweep of the house, each time a bit more ruthless. The more that goes the less time I spend tidying and moving things around just to clean.
4. Is it worth the time
When it comes to adding things to my to do list, I tend to sit down with my planner every Sunday and make a short list for the week. My only criteria for what gets added is this question: 'Is this worth my time?' If something has an outcome that enhances my life in a way that is important or seems proportional to the time I'll spend on it then I do it. If not, I let it go.
4. Single task
This is one I'm still learning. My children only go to nursery for 12 hours a week so it's felt really hard for me to single task but slowly and surely I'm practicing this more and more. Even this morning I took the decision to ignore the list of nagging work things in order to focus on being with my kids. I knew if I tried to do both at the same time, neither would be done that well and I'd only end up more stressed as a result.
5. Go with the Flow
This one is a recent and pretty big revelation for me. I'd always heard the phrase 'Go with the flow' but never given it much thought. It's engrained in me to be more 'hustle and make it happen' and this has often resulted in exhaustion and things not turning out the way I wanted anyway. For some reason it recently clicked that going with the flow is about pushing less and allowing thing to unfold more. About accepting what happens and trusting in the unfolding of your life.