If you’re an entrepreneur or team leader, you’re likely juggling many different responsibilities in your professional life. Staying on top of everything you need to do can seem overwhelming, which means it can be beneficial to take a moment to step back and gain focus on what is most important to you and your business.
To find out what works, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question:
What is one thing people can do to simplify their lives? Why is this approach so effective?
Here are their recommendations for cutting through your mental, physical and digital clutter, and streamlining your daily activities.
1. Develop a Routine
Routines are one of the most important factors in becoming a successful business owner. You’ve got to be willing to plan what you’re going to do over the coming days, weeks and months, and follow through. It can take some time getting used to operating a normal routine, but it’s one change that will certainly simplify your life.
2. Separate Work and Home
In my personal experience, the best way to keep your life simple is by separating your work and home life. We all have a habit of bringing our work home sometimes, and this can complicate our personal lives, which makes our work lives more stressful. It’s a snowball effect that can have a serious impact on your mental and physical health.
3. Stop Wasting Time on Negativity
People have a lot to worry about life, understandably, but what really takes up a lot of time and energy is negativity. If you want to simplify your life, you need to stop wasting time on negative thoughts. When people stop dwelling on the negative things that they have no control over, it gives them more time to appreciate what they do have and move forward with more positive tasks and goals.
4. Clean the Spaces Around You
If the space around you is messy and cluttered, your mind and energy will be too. You need to “Marie Kondo” your physical space if you’re going to be able to have a clear, unclouded mind. Take the extra time you have to clean the spaces in your home, office or wherever in order to feel and perform better in everyday life.
5. Prioritize Your Task List
Whatever you need to get done right this moment should be at the top of your priority list. Everything else can wait. By separating your tasks this way, you get all of the more pressing tasks out of the way and free up time to do the things that aren’t nearly as stressful. It also takes a load off you mentally when you know you’ve met your deadlines and can breathe.
6. Document Everything
A clear record of actions, meetings, notes and results helps you to gather data to improve decision-making later. Similarly, thorough documentation of procedures and processes illustrates how others can fulfill a particular task or project. When you document everything, you streamline knowledge transfer, allowing you to scale your business and minimize your need for involvement in every activity.
7. Unplug From Work
With today’s technology, work stays with us even when we leave the office. For instance, your smartphone probably has your work email on it. If you are not disciplined enough to ignore emails on your phone, consider removing the account or getting a separate phone. It may only take a few seconds to read the email on your phone but the thought/stress of that email will linger throughout the day.
8. Downsize Often
The most cleansing experiences I’ve enjoyed have been the joy of giving my things away. Unfortunately, I only ever purge my household items — clothing, furniture, etc. —when I’m moving from one place to another. Now that I’ve done this a few times, I’ve realized I don’t have to move to “downsize” my stuff, and make it a habit to deliberately get rid of items every single month — simple!
9. Ask Questions and Assume Nothing
Life is so much easier when you ask questions or talk to the person involved. The norm is to give in to speculations and make conclusions to confirm biases or long-held beliefs. But through proper and direct communication, you save yourself the guesswork and avoid potential conflict with the other party. Kids have been taught to be inquisitive, and there’s no reason adults shouldn’t do the same.
10. Automate What You Can
One way I simplify my life is to automate as much as possible. For example, I use home automation to manage the different aspects of the household. Specifically, I can control my home security, lighting, energy management, bills, and more from my smartphone. This saves time and energy for other more important tasks. Even saving a few minutes a day adds up to high-value time over the years.
11. Develop Self-Awareness of Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can give you a clear path in life. Don’t over complicate things. If you know you’re not good at certain things, hire someone that is good at it. Don’t try to take it all on yourself. Focus on what you’re good at, and then let the rest of the responsibilities be handled by someone else. Self-awareness is key, which is applicable for both career and life itself.
12. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
If people stopped comparing their achievements in business and life to that of the others, their lives would be significantly better. It’s very easy to go down this rabbit hole with social media. There will always be someone who’s more successful than you, generates more revenue than you, has a better car than you and so on. But the only person you should compare yourself to is you from the past.
13. Focus on Your Goals
Write down two to three goals that you want to achieve. Focus on activities that move you towards those goals and deprioritize tasks that aren’t helping you achieve the objective. Effectively focusing means not only spending more time on the goals but also focusing our thoughts so they’re not distracted by unimportant topics.
14. Decide What’s Important to You
You might be surprised by just how much time you allocate toward things you really don’t care about once you take the time to reflect on your values and daily routine.
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.