Deal With Stress

Simplify Your Days

Simplify your days and stop juggling too many tasksAre you frustrated by how little you seem to accomplish every day? Does the constant barrage of things to do weigh you down? There were days I used to feel the same way, until I realized that I could, to some degree, take control of the frenzied pace of my life. I’m sharing some of my discoveries with you in the hope that you, too, can slow things down and take charge and simplify your days. Feel free to tailor these ideas so they work for you:

Focus on your goals. Goals allow you to identify what’s important to you, and in which direction you want to move your life. Identify and evaluate tasks in in terms of how they will help you move in your desired direction, and eliminate things that will get in the way of progress. For example, one of my goals for this year is to learn how to juggle (balls, bowling pins, flaming torches – I’ve already mastered how to juggle multiple tasks). I’ve been spending less time browsing social media so I can make time every day to practice juggling. I’m at no risk of displacing anyone employed by the circus, but I am making progress because I’ve focused on my goal. Here’s a prior article I wrote about goals for getting organized that may help you get started creating your own goals.

Picture your perfect day. It’s not often I actually achieve my perfect day, but focusing on my vision of what it would look like makes it easier for me to disregard activities that aren’t in alignment with it. This goes hand-in-hand with having goals. It reminds me that seemingly little things, like having a conversation with my husband, connecting with a friend or family member via phone, text, or e-mail, or following up on a client’s progress, can be more important than other things screaming for my attention.

Just say “no.” When opportunities come your way, be they from your boss (ok, maybe you need to tread lightly here), a volunteer organization, or a friend or family member, assess them in relation to your goals and vision of the day. If they’re not in alignment with what you’ve identified as important, find a way to decline the request: “It’s not a good time for me;” “I can’t take on any more projects;” “It’s not a good fit for me;” “No.” Practice saying “no” to make it easier for you when the occasion calls for it. Rather than thinking of yourself as being selfish, think of saying “no” as a way to make yourself more able to give of yourself. Just like the airlines instruct us to put on our own oxygen mask before helping others, making time for activities that feed your soul will help you be your best in other situations.

Don’t multitask. I’ve previously written about how ineffective this is – multitasking is really just doing multiple things badly. Being mindful of doing one task at a time will allow you to be more productive and less scattered.

Leave some white space. No matter how much is on your plate, rushing from task to task without a break will leave you exhausted. Take some time to wrap up one task before moving on to the next, and take a break – read here to understand why that’s important.

I hope these tips help you feel less stressed and more productive. I’d love to hear what works for you.


Internationally known organizing and productivity consultant, author, and speaker Sue Becker of From Piles to Smiles enjoys helping people live better lives by creating customized systems to overcome their overwhelming paperwork, clutter, and schedules. She specializes in helping people who are chronically disorganized, especially people with AD/HD and is Illinois’ first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization.

Sue invites you to sign up for her FREE Starter Kit: 5 Proven Ways to Organize and Simplify Your Life on her website  –  you’ll learn simple ways to discover the freedom of an organized home, office and life,

2 replies on “Simplify Your Days”

Sue, my mind feels clearer just reading these tips. There is so much clutter in there sometimes – I’m definitely going to follow through on a few of these. Thanks for sharing them!

You’re very welcome, Angela, and I’m glad you found the tips helpful. Don’t feel you have to implement them all at once – consider picking one and working on making it a habit before moving on to another. I’ve been working on saying “no” and it’s definitely been helping my workload (and getting easier to say). Here’s to your success!

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