7 Ways to Simplify Your Business and Inbox (AKA Life)

Overwhelmed? Join the ranks. Whether you are running your own business, have a cubicle with several office mates, or happen to be in charge of the soccer carpool, you might be feeling overwhelmed.

Stress, worry, and anxiety are not exclusive to any gender, age group, nor socioeconomic status. We’ve all felt a bit burdened from time to time and sometimes it feels the most all consuming when we are the ones running the show.

If you are tired of feeling like you can’t keep up, this article is definitely for you. Rather than learning the “hard way,” I’m going to let you in on a few secrets to make life just a little bit easier.

Here are 7 Ways to Simplify Your Business and Inbox (AKA Life):

1. Clean-Up:

Ever try to start a project while your desk is a mess? Impossible. Tried to bake a dozen cookies when your kitchen looks like it exploded? Not going to happen. It sounds simple but the best first step is to clean-up.

We spend so much time telling our children (or employees) to clean-up after themselves, perhaps it’s time that we start taking our own advice. Take 5: set your timer for 5 minutes and dedicate yourself 100% to the simple task of just cleaning up what is directly in front of you. If you need another 5 minutes, go for it but you’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish when you singularly focus on one task.

2. Get Organized

Organization, a word we love…and hate. Being organized comes very naturally for some people and for others, not so much. The secret is that organization is synonymous with flow. If you want flow, you’ve got to get organized. The real question is: “Where do I begin?”

The best way to start getting organized is to start with a list. Here’s my favorite list-making technique: First, write down everything that you need to get done just off the top of your head. Next, put the list into priority order, the most pressing needs go to the top. Finally, write down each step or prerequisite required for getting the task checked off the list. Often times this is where we lose steam and things don’t get done because we don’t give them enough time.

3. Delegate

You can do everything but you don’t have to DO everything. It’s time to be the CEO of your life. Enough is enough trying to be Captain America and get everything done yourself. The smartest leaders delegate so let’s get started.

Pick 3 of your most rote (often mundane or boring) tasks and find out who else can do them for you. Is it as simple as recruiting your oldest child to start making breakfast in the morning? Could you have your groceries delivered? Could someone on your team start holding the staff meeting and brief you on the update?

Unless you take the time to think outside of the box, you are often regulated to being stuck inside the box. It’s time to bust out!

4. Stop Committing

Are you always saying ‘Yes’ when someone asks for a favor? Do you tend to pick up the slack in a project when you know others aren’t pulling their weight?

This is the number one “no-no” of ambitious people. Because we do it all, we expect ourselves to do it ALL. It’s time to stop.

Stop committing to everyone but yourself. Your time is an essential and valuable resource. It’s time that you valued yourself and your talents and start saying ‘No.’ When you take time for yourself, you’ll soon find that tasks aren’t so daunting and you can actually start to step into a simpler way of life.

5. Unsubscribe

If you are still getting emails from all the places that you online shopped for during the holidays, it’s time to stop. When you inbox is so full that you need an hour just to wade through what’s valuable, it’s time to clean house.

Think about the emails that you usually just delete without opening. Start unsubcribing today. Each day for a week, choose 3-5 unnecessary emails, scroll to the bottom and click the fine print where it says ‘unsubscribe.’ It’s just that simple, within a week (to two weeks), you’ll be able to glance at your emails with clarity and speed, answering just what you need to in a few minutes.

6. Unplug

I decided to take a weekend off from tech/emails. That’s right–on Friday I shut my laptop and headed out to dinner with friends and didn’t power that baby up until Monday morning.

Want to know what happened? Nothing. The world did not come crashing down. My clients lived for another 72 hours without me. Most importantly, I was able to exhale. Unless we take the time to unplug, no one is going to come over and shut the laptop for you. Do yourself a favor and close up shop at least 1 day a week (ok, maybe even just 12 hours for the seriously addicted), you’ll be amazed how much you are able to just let go.

7. Escape

Get out while you can. Here’s the number one, best way to simplify you life: Escape. Often times we overcommit, overwork, and under-relax. Where is this getting you? We tend to falsely believe that working ourselves to exhaustion is going to lead to increased happiness. It’s just not true.

Want more happiness? Spend more time being happy.

Sounds too good to be true? Just try it. The next time that you see an opportunity to escape from the office/house/carpool, take that window and fly on out of there. Two things will happen: First, you’ll feel like a bad ass for stepping outside of your typical routine. Second, you’ll be much more present to actually enjoying your life.

Just remember, no matter where your work is—“All work and no play make Jane a dull girl.”

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