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When someone asks how you are, is your stock answer always “too busy!“?
If your blood pressure rises at the thought of what you need to cram into your day, maybe its time to declutter your schedule.
I (Becky) was recently reading a great email from one of my favorite minimalism gurus (NoSidebar.com) and there was an entire paragraph that leaped off the page and smacked me between the eyes. Not actually…but you know what I mean.
“I have the all-too-common problem of filling my schedule with things. Things I think I should do, things I feel obligated to do, things that I actually should do, all kinds of things. Most of which, are not that important. Before I know it, I’m busy, rushing, and overwhelmed with mental clutter.”
This is soooo me. I adore making To Do lists and hate being idle. Yet, I feel my anxiety level hovering around DefCon5 when I have too many things packed on my work calendar. It’s like a tug-o-war where Fear of Being Broke is on one end of the rope and Inflate My Self-Worth is on the other. When I feel I’m not being productive, I stress about what I should be doing instead. But as an introvert, having “too many things” on my plate (usually ones that involve interaction with people) makes me feel rushed and panicky. It’s exhausting and pretty much an indication of my Type A personality.
And, when you’re Type A, it’s much harder to remember to slow down than to speed up.
But it was this article that really made me realize that decluttering and removing excess can apply to our personal time as well.
It’s not that I haven’t seen this advice before…I have. But I firmly believe our brains don’t always connect with info until we are ready to truly receive it. Thanks to the confidence and clarity I’ve gained these past few months during our The Simplicity Project, I was ready to truly see this advice.
Here are some great ways to slow your frenetic pace and “weed out” the things that are draining your energy and not bringing you joy.
5 Awesome Tips to Declutter your Schedule
#1. Learn to say NO
Why is it that one of the shortest words in the English Language is the hardest for us to say sometimes?
But this dandy little word is also a magical word you can use (with confidence and kindness).
Asked to help with a local non-profit project (on the weekend)? No.
These two letters are your “out” when a family member asks if you can babysit “just for a little while” (like 8 hours).
I struggle with this magical word. It eludes me sometimes. Gets caught in my throat.
So let’s work on it together, shall we?
OK, all together now. Pucker your lips, flex your diaphragm, dig real deep and repeat after me…. “NO.”
If this sounds too harsh and you don’t want to slam the hypothetical door completely shut, you can use this firm (but gentler) version, “I’d love to…but not at this time.”
#2. Prioritize Your Day
Tools like Bullet Journals and simple To Do Lists are amazing for keeping my ADHD in check and keeping my work time on task.
But I am also the first to admit that I look at my lengthy list and have to fight the notion that it all needs to get done Right.NOW.
So here’s my advice to you; every day, before you settle into your daily routine, identify your Three MITs. Your MITs are your Most Important Tasks; the things that absolutely need your full attention ASAP.
Complete those three MITs and then identify 3 more. Repeat.
#3. Shut Down the Noise
Close your 26 browser tabs (that’s me…I just counted).
Stick your phone in the drawer and stop worrying about what you are missing out on social media. Silence the noise clutter in your life even it’s just for a little while.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” — Anne Lamott
#4. Look at Where Your Energy Bus is Headed
Everyday when we get up, it’s like hopping on an Energy Bus that is filled with 10-12 hours worth of fuel. How are you spending YOUR fuel?
Are you spending needless time running errands all over town? Batch your errands together to save time and money.
Are you spending an insane amount of time fussing about what to cook for supper? Set aside 30 minutes every Sunday to meal plan and gain time and peace of mind.
Look at everything you do in a day….and I mean everything, and identify what habits are sucking your time and adding clutter to your day.
#5. Keep Your Eye on Simplicity
As we’ve been sharing, encouraging and discussing these last few months, simplicity is so important for better well-being and a saner life. Removing excess from our homes and lives frees us up to live life and enjoy experiences.
“Minimalism doesn’t have to be about living in a tiny house with only a few shirts in your closet. Minimalism is about paring down and focusing on the things that are important—or as Marie Kondo says, the ones that bring us joy.” NoSideBar.com
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What will YOU do this week to declutter your schedule?
We’d love to know your thoughts so please comment below!