By Louise Morganti Kaelin
Just as location is the key driver to success in real
estate, simplification is the key to success in life. No
matter how much you want your life to change, it's
impossible if there is no room for change.
We tend to fill our lives with activity and with 'stuff'.
It's supposed to mean we're successful, that we're fully
living. The reality is that it usually just leaves us
feeling overwhelmed, crowded and with a longing for a
simpler, quieter life. By filling every minute of the day,
we find ourselves with no time to be 'quiet', to go
within, to find the inner peace that allows us to be
creative, productive and free. By having too much stuff, we
feel cramped, stifled and burdened. We feel restricted by
'too much' of everything and this impedes our ability to
do what's truly important to us.
It's not necessary to go down to the bare minimum, but it
is essential that we give ourselves room to grow and time
to be reflective. And there is a pervasive effect.
Simplifying your life in any area gives you more 'space'
in all areas. Try it!
To get you started, here are a few ideas to simplify your
life. Get prepared for a burst of energy from doing each
one of these.
1. Clean out your closet.
Throw or give away what you no longer wear. [Recently read a
great tip for this. Take 10 minutes to re-arrange all the
hangers in your closets back-wards, with the hook facing
the front. Once you've washed or cleaned something, hang
it up with the hangar facing the usual way. After a time
you've set (3 to 6 months, after a 'season') get rid of
all the clothes whose hangars are still facing the front.
This is an easy and almost painless way of cleaning out the
2. Keep your inbox clean.
Delete as much as possible as soon as you've read it. Use a
simple folder system to file the rest. Use large groupings
such as chronological time (January through December,
rolling year). Filing by topic, unless it is a large
project, seldom works. [How often have you found 4 folders
on the same project, all called something different?]. Use
the tools available in your mailbox to auto-filter email.
Choose a primary email reader and have all others
auto-forwarded to that email box. Most email readers allow
you to automatically delete or file mail from specific
3. Schedule a breather.
If you live by a calendar, schedule one hour a day to allow
some breathing space. Use this to time to go through email,
do call-backs, read important mail. Or use it go outside
and get some air. Take a quick walk around the block. Five
minutes away from your work area (even, or especially, if
you work at home) can have a dramatic effect on your
4. Schedule time to work on specific projects.
You leave most meetings with something to do, right? Give
yourself time to work on these things by scheduling
work-time in your calendar. Otherwise, it will be 6pm and
you get to start 'working'.
5. Pick a corner.
Divide your desk or room into sections. Pick one section and
start de-cluttering. Try to touch things only once while
going through this process. Use 3 boxes or bags, marking
them as follows: 'Keep', 'Give Away'; and 'Toss'. If
it's paper, ask yourself 'If I lost it, could I find it
elsewhere?' If the answer is yes, throw it away. Where ever
possible, come up with a system that will allow you to
maintain the de-cluttered space. [Another tip: if you find
yourself having trouble parting with some items, put them
in a box, label the box with a date 6 months from now,
store in garage or closet. If you haven't gone into the box
by the time the date rolls around, throw it away without
Stop trying to do everything yourself. Ask yourself 'Where
is it important that I spend my time? How do I want to
spend my time?' Get rid of everything else. This includes
things like getting someone to clean the house, using
automatic bill-paying systems, etc. If you are delegating
to a work associate or family member, be sure to delegate
the whole thing (how to do it as well as what to do.) If it
can only be done 'your way', then you will be the only
one who can do it.
If you have to do anything on a regular schedule, develop a
system that is easily repeatable. Use the tools that make
the most sense for the job. This ranges from using
templates for written documents to cleaning the house in a
specific pattern. Find out what works for you and then make
it better (and faster!).
8. Buy in Bulk.
Buy 6-month supplies of things you use on a daily basis. And
to simplify even more, order them through the web and have
them delivered to your house! We spend an inordinate amount
of time running 'errands'. Keeping large supplies on hand
is a great way to pick up some extra time.
9. Get rid of old commitments or goals.
Sometimes we find ourselves doing things or hanging on to
goals that were right at one point in our life, but no
longer fit who we are now. Stop to think about every thing
you're doing or working towards. Does it still fit your
life today? If not, stop doing it or get rid of it as a
10. You get to choose the pace.
Whether you pick 'Fast & Furious' or 'Slow & Easy', the
important thing is to keep working on simplifying your life
and finding ways to keep it simple. Let yourself have fun
and be creative with this.
Success: No Intelligence Required
Being intelligent doesn't necessary imply
success, and likewise, success doesn't necessarily imply intelligence.
Getting Out of Your Own Way
Success or failure is not the result of any particular circumstance or situation, but rather it is dependant on what we choose to do, or not to do.
The Second Step To Overcoming The Barrier To Success
You've got to believe that what you're wanting to do is worth
doing and that it will accomplish what you want!