Life Hacks for a Simplified Life
Imagining your perfect day
As you’re getting ready for bed, take 5 minutes to reflect on what your perfect tomorrow looks like. You can write this down in a journal or simply make a mental note, but visualize this experience in detail. What will you do? How will you feel? What will be different? The next day, do your best to mirror this dream day. If you don’t nail it, that’s to be expected! But how can you get 1% closer to that dream day, day by day?
Identify your “vital few”
You are the wearer of many hats, I know. (And I know this, because I am too!) And sometimes it can feel like we have a thousand daily tasks that are The Most Important thing for each of these identities and responsibilities we hold. When you’re feeling this overwhelm, sit down and identify your “vital few”—the non-negotiables that must happen daily for you to have a roof over your head and a hold on your mental wellness. Scrap all of the rest for a day or two to reset, and return to these “vital few” every time that burnout creeps back in.
Learning to say no
Lighten your load through the beautiful practice of simply saying “no.” Often we find ourselves saying “yes” to every opportunity, ask, or obligation, regardless of how we feel about doing it. While we can’t turn down every request that comes our way (or at least, so says my boss), we can begin to practice declining the little things that add a lot to our plates. The PTA board position, the potluck we don’t really want to go to, the phone call with that friend who exhausts us. It’s okay to say no and preserve some of your mental and physical energy.
Batching small tasks
Have you ever put off that one thing for weeks or months… and then when you finally did it, it took you all of 15 minutes? (Why do we do this every time, I wonder?) Here’s a tip for busting overwhelm: when you feel like you have a thousand to-do’s, dump them all on an exhaustive list (down to the piece of trash you really need to throw away that’s staring at you from across the room). Then, highlight all of the tasks that will take you 15 minutes or less, pick 4, and get them done. An hour out of your day, but a substantial reduction in the mental energy it takes to avoid that task.
We’ve been told that multitasking is a superpower, and we’ve been duped. The science is showing that when our brains are busy doing all The Things at once, we’re doing exactly zero of them well. Instead, try single-tasking—attending to one single task at a time and finishing it to completion. You’ll likely find that you finish it quicker and better when your mind isn’t focusing on other things. (And your stress level will thank you!)