1. Know your priorities
People get distracted and procrastinate; it’s part of being human, but when is it too much and too late? At work or school, remember to keep your attention on the assignments at hand. Any urgent tasks should be dealt with immediately and not be put off.
Focus on what needs to be done right now and choose to do the things that would make the most difference. After you have accomplished that, ask yourself what other areas need the most of your time.
What haven’t you been doing that you know you should do? Knowing what you need to do first will give you a sense of control over your life, and thus, less drama. If you have time, here is some further reading if you need more help getting to know your priorities.
2. Keep a well-organized schedule
If you don’t already keep a schedule, then go right now and make one! Having a well-organized schedule will make your life so much easier. Whether you like old-fashion calendars or mobile apps, the act of keeping track of future events will dramatically decrease the likelihood of complications.
Once you start a schedule, you can conveniently see what is planned for the future and not be overwhelmed by upcoming events because you have had time to prepare yourself for them.
The perks of an organized schedule do not stop here. You can also look back at how you spent your time and improve your time management skills.
Perhaps some meetings could have been completed in an hour. Perhaps you are spending too little time with the people you care about and spending too much time at work. Annie Dillard once said, “How we spend our days, of course, is how we spend our lives.” What do you want your life schedule to look like?
3. Keep a list, any list
As mentioned before, knowing your priorities will be helpful in decluttering your life. Like any grocery list, you put down things you want to do in the future so you won’t forget. A nicely arranged list will provide you with a visual cue to prioritize your day.
Check out this list of good list-keeping apps! Choose one that has sharing capabilities so you can share your lists with friends, family and significant other: it certainly makes things easier when you go shopping!
If you already keep lists, decide on three most important tasks to do in the morning every day. This way, you know exactly what needs to be done that day, and completing them will give you a sense of accomplishment! I personally love the moment I tick-off something on my to-do list!
4. Make shortcuts for everything
Another way to make your life simpler is by setting up shortcuts for everything you do. These shortcuts encompass areas like work, school and everyday life. Depending on the kind of software you use most frequently, you can look up faster ways to do the same thing.
For Windows 8 users, here is a great list of shortcuts you probably aren’t already familiar with. We use computers for the majority of our day, and by knowing how to do the same thing with the least amount of time, we can definitely accomplish more.
Does your job include answering emails and doing repetitive tasks? It might make your life so much easier if you establish canned responses.
A shortcut I personally love to follow is especially handy when I have piles of work to read through. This is what I would like to call “The NV” reading method: when I need to read something really quickly, I only pick up the nouns and the verbs of the paragraph.
Once you get used to reading like this, your brain will be able to read papers much faster as it is now trained to piece words together.
5. Have good routines
In order to feel like you have control over your life, routines are one of the best ways to go about decluttering it. The ideology behind routines is that patterns make people feel safe and comfortable – everything is going exactly as planned.
When you follow a set of patterns, it feels like nothing will go out of hand. My friend suggested a nice routine for lunches during weekdays, so that you can save time on decisions with “guaranteed results.”
For instance, you can have Fancy Mondays to blow away the Monday blues, Taco Tuesdays, and/or Espresso Fridays to power through the last day of the week. And once routines get too boring, just throw in something you don’t usually do to bring in some unusual and surprising new flavours.
6. Limit your social media usage
A lot of our everyday drama comes from social media. People often compare their own lives to their friends’ Facebook updates, but what they often do not see is the ugly side of everyone’s lives. Who would post that on Facebook, right?
Social media is also the prime evil of procrastination – you know you’ve spent more time up there then you should have. Now, there is a new browser application that enables you to limit your usage. Key in the websites your rational side knows you shouldn’t be spending so much time on, and go cold turkey!
7. Separate different circles of friends
The more your co-workers know about your daily life, the more awkward things get! Try your best not to let your actual life intersect with your work life; the further apart they are, the less drama and gossip there will be.
The workplace is a very competitive environment – you would not want any untrue rumors to go around about you that may have a drastic effect on your reputation.
Depending on what kind of a job you have, letting your clients know about your private life may also affect your professionalism. They might no longer see you as someone with the authority and power you had before. Sometimes it’s crucial to be a little distant!
8. Spend time with the right people
We all have limited amount of free time each day, so who do you choose to spend it with? Here’s a simple list of questions that will make the decision easier:
1. Do you feel yourself and comfortable around them? If you have a full-time job, you might not get enough rest and relaxation every day, so it’s important that you can be yourself during your off-hours.
2. Can you tell the truth when something upsets you? Who we tell the truth to is, of course, who we should spend the most time with. If you have to put on a mask when you hang out with someone, he or she probably isn’t the best person you should spend your time with.
3. Are you genuinely happy and satisfied when you are with them? Some people spend time with the kind of friends they believe will make them happy. It can be tiring and impractical to rely on someone for your mood – be the person you want to spend time with. Know exactly what makes you smile from the bottom of your heart, and then you know who to spend your time with.