If you’re suffering from a to-do list that never seems to end and starting to feel overwhelmed, I have a little secret I want to share with you.
I know things can get busy when you run a business. Even busier if you’re also running a family or attempting to have any form of down time or social life.
Many of my days would start at 5am and I’d still be going at 10pm to try and fit everything in. From my morning run, getting the kids off to school, work, clients, after school activities, training, courses, running the house and if I was lucky a visit with friends.
I’d fallen into the dreaded ‘busy’ trap again and something had to give.
That’s when I heard four little words that have stuck with me, and allowed me to ditch a good chunk of overwhelm, and get some space back into my life.
Want to know what those four little words were?
Make a shorter list.
That’s it. No fancy degree required.
Arianna Huffington refers to our need to do it all in her book Thrive as “hurry sickness”. She writes, “It was very liberating to realize that I could ‘complete’ a project by simply dropping it – by eliminating it from my to-do list.”
Now this bit of magic can be applied to many parts of your life, and here are some simple questions you can ask to start to gain some space and sanity back in your day.
Make a shorter list – Business
- What’s on your wish list or to-do list that doesn’t need to be there?
- What can be scheduled further out, put on hold or outsourced?
- What products or services can you cull, streamline or refine?
- What can you batch so you’re not jumping from task to task?
- Are you trying to achieve too much in the timeframe you’ve allocated? This one is my nemesis.
Make a shorter list – Personal
- How can you simplify your daily routine? What commitments can you cut back on?
- Who can you ask for help? You don’t have to do everything yourself.
- Ask yourself, “Am I doing this because I really want to, or I just think I should?”
Make a shorter list – Family
- How can you simplify your family routine?
- What after school activities can you cut back on?
- Can you share the driving to activities with another parent? This one works a treat and helps you both out!
- What household jobs and chores can you outsource to family members? Your kids are more capable than you may be giving them credit for.
Two bonus tips to help you make a shorter list:
- Lower your expectations. Not everything has to be perfect all of the time.
- Be mindful of what you say yes to.
There is a ton of research on why allowing space in our lives makes us more productive, and a whole lot happier. But I’m not going to list it here, it’s not on my list. ☺
There are also countless books and articles on the benefits of focus and having a shorter list. Rather than load you up with another reading pile, I’ll suggest you simply check out The One Thing by Gary Keller.
Trust me when I say making a shorter list will help you reach the right goals sooner, and feel a whole lot happier.
“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” – Brian Andreas