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Simplify Your Life

How To Be More Productive in 2003

by Natalie J. Forstbauer

We all know, or many of us have heard that 80% of dis-ease and illness is directly related to stress. A large part of our stress in today's environment is indicative to our busy lifestyles. Working early, working late, working through lunch, countless family/social commitments, the social events we have to be at, chores that have to be done, cleaning that should have been taken care of last month, and errands that pile up.

Simply put, there is too much to do in life. At this point the above "to do list" does not even mention exercise, and shopping! Where do we find time to "do it all" - or do we? More often than not, the to do list - or should do list grows and grows and grows. Something like Jack and the Bean Stock. We feel out of control as it takes off.

Interestingly, when people get stressed out and overwhelmed, they often will cut out the activities they want to do and end up doing what they think they should be doing. Fun? No. Stressful? Yes - very!

Here are some ways to cut down on the stress in your life by simplifying your busy life:

  1. Say Yes to what you want in 2003 and No to what you are finished with. For example if you want to be healthier in 2003, say yes to what is going to make you healthy and no to what is going to take away from your health. If you want to be physically fit in 2003 say yes to exercising and no to everything else that will hinder your goal.

  2. Compile a to do list daily. Just go for it. Remember to include everything and anything on it from vacuuming to ironing, to completing that proposal, or project.

  3. Take that list and CROSS OUT everything on the list that is something you "should do". You know what those items are. If you don't know, ask yourself this question, "Is this something that needs to be done? Or is this something that I think should be done?" Be brutally honest with yourself. If it is something that should be done, cross it off your list. Cross off 30% or more of your list by crossing out the shoulds. Yes, it is time to stop "shoulding" on yourself.

  4. Delegate the items you do not want to do that need to get done. Give them to someone else to do, or assign them to someone else with confidence that they will do it.

  5. Prioritize the remaining items on your list. Take a look at your list. Discern which item is the most important that needs to be completed. Do it first. From there sort the rest of your list in order of importance. You may be amazed at how great it feels to get the first couple of tasks done, and how much faster you complete the entire list.

  6. Spend time socially with people you like, respect and enjoy being around. These people will energize you, and make you feel good about yourself, who you are and what you stand for. Choose your social group wisely.

  7. Spend time everyday doing something YOU enjoy. Make this a priority. This can be anything that makes your heart sing, puts a smile on your face and makes you feel good on the inside.

  8. Take time for you daily. Take time to rest your mind. This is different than doing something you enjoy daily. This is an opportunity for you to sit in stillness in the moment. A time for you to quiet your mind and only notice what is going on in that very millisecond. Notice what you notice, feel what you feel, hear what you hear, and see what you see as you are rest. This is a powerful process. It is the power of the moment.

  9. Live within your means This is a big one. Credit card campaigns may not like this one, but they have campaigns programming people to rack up their credit cards. They make money from the amount owing on credit cards that are unpaid. Debt and financing is a large source of stress for many people. A big part of the busy life is buying too much. Living outside your means can be a HUGE stress. How much of what you buy do you need? If you live within your means - good for you! That means you only spend the money you have. If you do not live within your means, it may be time to take a look at your finances and notice where you are spending your money. You might be amazed at how much money you spend on frivolous merchandise including coffee, gum, candy bars, and eating out. To live within your means often only requires a few small changes. Take a look at your spending patterns to see where you might change. It will take a load of stress off! If this step is too hard on your own, partner up with a friend and hold each other accountable, or see a financial planner.

Ask the question, "What can I do to simplify my life?" The answers will come. Do it. Take action to design and live the life you desire. If you do not know where to begin call a coach for a complimentary session, or ask for support from someone you know will give you the support you need.

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Natalie Forstbauer is a contributing author to "Expert Women Who Speak, Speak Out!" Watch for Natalie's new book coming out in 2003: "Healthfull Soulutions For The Time-Starved". You can sign up for Natalie's Free E-Zine on Health-E Tips and Workplace Wellness.

Copyright © 2003 Natalie J. Forstbauer


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