Improve Your Focus By Simplifying

Organize your life and reduce your stress

Do you wake up Monday morning or spend Sunday night stressing over all the things you need to get done in the next 24 hours? The key is to not stress, but to simply get organized. The key is to consolidate and simplify. Below are four ways that will help you streamline your life, so you can focus on the big tasks at hand, while still making room for the small stuff:

1. Consolidate your to-do list

If your to-do list has you feeling overwhelmed before the week has begun, then you need to cut it down. Rather than writing down every little thing, stick to the big stuff – limiting your list to two to three items per day. This will also force you to tackle those big tasks and projects, rather than only tackling the small things because you want to avoid the heavy lifting.

2. Make a schedule for the smaller things

Those smaller things that should be taken off your to-do list need a new home. Put them in your schedule. This could include wishing someone a happy birthday, running errands or going to a yoga class. Although they may not contribute to your productivity, they are still important and shouldn’t be forgotten.

3. Get the most challenging tasks done right away

That uncomfortable email you need to send? That complicated spreadsheet you need to make? That difficult decision or meeting you need to have? Tackle it right away, first thing in the morning. If you let it sit there, you’ll be stressing about it all day, which may lead to blurry focus on other projects. Mark Twain coined a term for tackling the giant, unwanted tasks: “Eating the frog.” Make this approach part of your new routine, and shed that unnecessary stress first thing each day.

4. Leave extra time

Often times we think it will take us a short amount of time to get something done, but more often than not, it takes us significantly longer. Allow for extra time, so you don’t need to stress about it as much. This idea can be applied to everything from leaving the house 10 minutes earlier than normal to starting on a project two days earlier before a deadline. You don’t want to feel rushed when completing good work, so give yourself some extra breathing room to get it done.

Another vital aspect of stress management is making time for yourself. They say if you don’t have time for meditation, meditate for an hour. Get up early or shorten your lunch break for yoga classes, walking outside, meditation or another mindful activity to keep you grounded. If you’re running at full-speed at all hours of the day, you’re going to burn out fast. The key is to always check in with how your body is feeling, your breath and your schedule, and to say “no” to things that you don’t absolutely have to do – such as happy hour with coworkers or an extra assignment someone else can take. Put your sanity first, always!

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