Simplify: A Few Easy Tips

by Barbara Saunders

You can try doing Cat Yoga to simplify your business and bring some inner peace or you can just do a couple of these tips:

  •     Three-box decluttering. Declutter a room, drawer, shelf, desk. Use three boxes to sort. Quickly go through each shelf or drawer or flat surface at once, putting things into three separate boxes: Trash, Donate, Maybe.
  •     Create a no-distractions zone. This is great for when you want to do some focused work — which is just about every day for most of us. Create a zone with no distractions — no phones, no email, no co-workers or kids or spouses, nothing on the walls, no IM or Twitter, no web surfing. Just the tools you need and nothing else. Schedule time for this distraction-free zone. No distractions within that block of time.
  •     Create a short-list. This is big-picture simplifying. If you’re having a hard time getting your life to something truly simple, create a short list of things you love doing most. This should be 4-5 things. assessment priced reasonably so it’s an ‘easy yes’.
  •     Go schedule-less. This works well if you’ve been over-packing your schedule. Set a policy that you won’t schedule any appointments. If you need to meet with someone, call them and meet.
  •     Go media free. If your life is filled with information overload, and you find little time to do the things you love to do, eliminate media, at least temporarily. This includes cable TV, DVDs, newspapers and magazines.
  •     Limit yourself to one project. How many projects are you juggling right now? If there are too many, you might be limiting your effectiveness. Focus on one project right now, and put the others on the back-burner. Try to get that one project done as quickly as possible, and then work on the next one.
  •     Only wear a few colors. This means that it’s very easy to match clothes, and you don’t need a lot of clothes. You’ll have other colors you love to wear — build your wardrobe around them. It keeps things nice and simple.
  •     One in, two out. When you bring something into your house, you have to get rid of two things. The normal rule is one in, one out, but somehow that never seems to work — things still accumulate. Instead, get rid of two things and things will stay simple.
  •     Staunch your information flow. Cut back on the amount of information coming into your life. Unsubscribe to mailing lists, ask people to stop sending you joke or chain emails (or block them from your inbox), automatically filter things you don’t really need to read, pre-empt common questions with an FAQ. Do you read a lot of blog feeds? Unsubscribe to those that don’t give you value. Do you read a lot of news? Pick one news source instead of five.
  •     Ask for help. If you’re stuck or just avoiding something, ask for help. Trade tasks with a neighbor or colleague – or evaluate if there’s another way to get it done.

Author Info: Barbara Saunders is a publication designer and has run a successful solo pro business for more than a decade. She is the Solo Pro Success Coach and the Director of the International Association of Self-Employed Communication Professionals and the Solo Pro Academy. She also hosts the Solo Pro Radio show everyday at 10am Pacific and 1pm Eastern It’s our mission to build community and help creative solo pros build and run successful businesses by providing support, innovation, tools, and strategies. Our goal is to liberate our members from the feast and famine cycle.

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