The more I write about productivity the more I realize that good time management isn’t about rushing around trying to get everything done.
When it comes to productivity, less is more.
Disorganization is often a result of misguided attempts at efficiency. Meaning, trying to cram as much into a day as possible instead of being strategic about what you can get done with the time and resources you have.
I value quality not quantity and for me the best approach is to do less and do it better. But how does that actually work?
It starts with cutting out the time-sucking activities you may not even realize are dragging you down.
Decisions – Have you ever heard of “decision fatigue“? The more decisions we make, the less likely we are to make good decisions. So minimize your options and make decisions easier. Keep only the things in your life that spark joy—as Marie Kondo says. Create a weekly meal plan to lighten your load of daily decisions. Have a list of go-to restaurants for business lunches in every neighborhood, so you don’t have to stress over finding the best one every time. The devil is in the details.
Multitasking – I used to think I was a great multitasker. Then I learned there’s no such thing. It’s possible to juggle a lot of projects at the same time, but not to give your full attention to more than one thing. When you multitask, your attention is scattered.
It can be dangerous, too—how many times have you walked or driven to a destination only to realize you don’t even remember how you got there because your brain was on autopilot? Focus on one thing at a time. I sometimes have to remind myself over and over of the one task I’ve committed to, but it gets easier.
Clear Clutter – I’ve spoken at a few productivity events and I’ve noticed that the one thing that seems to be creeping into all of our lives at the moment is clutter. And I’m not just talking about physical clutter, although there’s plenty of that. But also I find that many of us are plagued by mental clutter.
We’re taking on more and more, and running on less and less. For me 2016 has been about slowing down, especially after my appendix burst! I know a lot of people feel guilty about saying no to meetings or events. But you can’t do everything, you’ll just spread yourself too thin. Part of being your best self is recognizing when you need a break.
To help me clear out the clutter in my life, I’ve started writing “just enough” lists. You write down only the things you have to do that day, so when it’s over, you feel like you’ve done just enough. These lists can be really helpful in times of stress or when you feel overworked.
To check out more ways to simplify your life, check out my original article on Mind Body Green.