“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that most of us feel overwhelmed almost every day of our lives. If scarcity creates value, then my free time is very valuable. The key though, is that for most of us, we determine how much free time we have. We select the projects we work on and how we spend our time. Studies show that often we are the source of our own complexity and confusion –The Simplicity Survival Handbook, Bill Jensen. By prioritizing and focusing on what matters most, we can be in charge of our time and actually accomplish more.
Below are five ways that simplicity allows you more time so that you can achieve more. Check back next week and I’ll talk about how to achieve simplicity.
1 Simplicity allows focus
A cluttered mind is rarely able to focus. By trying to do too many things at once we become scattered. By eliminating distractions and less important items, we are able to concentrate on doing what is really important. Remember that the most urgent items are not always the most important. As Steven Covey points out in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, a ringing telephone is urgent. If you are going to take the call you must answer it now, but is it important? Chances are the business proposal you are working on is more important, but you put it off to answer the phone. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by “urgent” but trivial tasks.
2 Simplicity allows us to stay more organized
By owning and doing less you will make it easier for you to get organized and stay so. Better organization means less wasted time trying to locate things or trying to remember what you have to accomplish for the day.
3 A simple plan can be executed more quickly
Stating the obvious- having only a handful of tasks to accomplish your goals will result in not only less time executing, but reduced planning time as well. You won’t waste time trying to determine what needs to be done first. Reduced planning, less wavering, and more straight to the point action will get the job done more rapidly. It will be easier to enlist help as well. A simple plan can be explained to involved parties much quicker than a complicated approach.
4 Simplicity leads to consistency
Simplicity will more easily allow you to replicate your successes. I have a very simple weight loss plan that works for me. Every time I find that I have gained a few pounds, or prior to the holidays, I execute my plan and lose 4-5 lbs. in a month. I can replicate this every time with no wasted time trying to figure it out.
5 Simplicity reduces stress
We have less to worry about with a simpler life. While short term stress can boost productivity – think of the professional athlete -long term, chronic stress reduces our output. “Workplace stress costs U.S. employers an estimated $200 billion per year in absenteeism, lower productivity, staff turnover, workers’ compensation, medical insurance and other stress-related expenses.” -Rebecca Maxon, Fairleigh Dickinson University.
By taking the time to sit down and sort out your priorities you will be able to achieve what matters most in your life. You will find yourself less busy, and hopefully find life is more fulfilling. Below e are some nice resources on simplicity and productivity.
Zen Presence – Ideas for Meaningful Living