Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” – Allen Saunders
24 hours can be a daunting limit for any average human being, but especially when you’re someone that wears several different hats and juggles many roles each day. You probably find yourself running on fumes more often then not, and even making understated jokes about how there is just “never enough time to get it all done”. We are all searching for ways to make the most efficient use of the limited hours we’ve been given in the hopes of being able to spend some precious moments doing what we enjoy with the people we love. It’s not easy being all things to all people, so we at In Order to Succeed® have done some of the research for you to help automate some of those monotonous every day tasks to simplify your life a bit. Automation done right can significantly increase your productivity, as well as help build wealth and maintain a happier life. Now that the summer is coming to a close, the kids are going back to school, and the ebb and flow of every day responsibilities are gaining momentum again, it is good to start implementing some of these best practices before life gets more overwhelming. Even with these recommended tools that will assist with clearing space in your busy schedule, you must also remember to set parameters, plan ahead, and focus on your goals. It is easy to get caught up in the anxiety of the ever-present stimulations of multitasking, media updating, email responding, over-booking, over-working, and constantly striving to achieve. It’s time to recharge your batteries a bit and make space for you to relax and be present.
Resting your mind and body is the first step all do-ers need to establish as a primary priority to keep the life/work flow moving forward and productive. Not only are you hindering your focus and concentration by trying to squeeze in more time to get things done, but your jeopardizing the quality of your work, relationships, mood, and overall health. Keeping your electronics on to answer “just one more” email, or do “5 more minutes” of research when you should be disconnecting and giving your mind a break, also suppresses the production of melatonin (the natural sleep hormone your body generates when it’s time to go to bed). With a non-stop mentality (as many of us are guilty of), you are eventually going to be running on empty and crash. That’s never a good outcome, and defeats the whole purpose of working so hard in the end. Taking the time to honor and respect what helps you perform at your highest level is of utmost importance. When it’s time to turn down for the evening, listen to what your body is telling you and give in to the sandman.
With that being said, we understand that it’s easier giving that advice than it is to really take it, so set up a better organized structure, block your time, and prioritize so that the external craziness doesn’t effect your racing mind as much. Having an organized system for your day, and a decluttered environment both at home and work, relieves a lot of the tension that you feel when your in the midst of the chaos. Take it from our team of professionals, we see countless clients’ lives improve just by reaching out and asking for a little assistance once in a while to get the job started, and even more so getting it all done. From stacks of health bills and home utility invoices, to messy closets and randomized placement of dishes in the kitchen, the littlest bit of order can go a long way.
IDENTIFY & ACKNOWLEDGE
We recommend first identifying where the points of disorder in your life are first, so that you can then execute regaining control one step at a time. Keep in mind, this process is all to help you relieve stress, not add it, so make sure you are looking at what there is to do with a realistic perspective and then map out your plan of attack. We find that blocking your day into segments (and even your personal projects) can help manage your own expectations, and help remind you to pull back when you are spending too much time on one task. Not everything goes as planned, even when you’ve planned it to a T, so it is good to have the rest of your agenda items mentally organized before the inevitable hiccups come into play. You can never be too prepared, so try your best and prepare for the worst.
CLEAR OUT THE CLUTTER
Rule of thumb: if you haven’t worn it, used it, needed it, or wanted it in over a year.. it’s time to part ways. There is a bit of anxiety that always comes with letting go of things that you “might” use. If it’s paper, do yourself a favor and clear it all out! There are so many brilliant systems that will save everything important for you to access without taking up space on your desk. Evernote, our personal favorite digital filing cabinet, will do exactly that for you. Scan your documents, receipts, photos, notes, or bills right into Evernote by using the app itself or any other document recognition scanning program, and then shred .. shred .. shred the clutter away! You will never lose your files, and you can organize them however you see fit to access at a later time.
Now begins the autopilot phase. How much easier do you think your every day life would be if you did not have to handle manually taking care of each task, may it be purchasing groceries, maintaining your household, scheduling your and your family members’ activities, remembering birthdays? The list goes on and on! These are a few automation tools we have researched to help these simple yet time consuming tasks run on their own without soaking up your precious time:
- Amazon is a lifeline to some of us running around without a second to spare. Most people, while using Amazon regularly for countless types of purchases, don’t know about one of their best features… SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE! Select the items you purchase regularly (like household essentials), and then set how often you’d like them to be delivered. Once you do that, you don’t have to think about last minute orders or getting caught without toilet paper in a private moment. Amazon will schedule your shipments automatically, and on top of it, subscribers will get up to 15% off of the products as well as free shipping! Saving time? Check! Saving money? Check! Freeing up mental space? CHECK!
- Don’t just stop there. If you’re like us, grocery shopping is rarely the in-and-out errand that we always hope it will be. It inevitably ends up consuming hours of your day each time you embark on the adventure. Have you ever thought about cutting back some of the time you dedicate to driving to and from the store, waiting in lines, perusing the layout of the land, adding countless things you didn’t intend on purchasing, loading up your car, and carrying the items into your home? It might be beneficial to try something different if you’re allocating time you don’t have towards accomplishing this fiasco every week or two. Many highly populated areas in the country have a national grocery store nearby that offers delivery services, and if not, there are countless other services that serve your area regardless. Try a company like Peapod, FreshDirect, or ShopFoodEx (which serves all 50 states), just to name a few. Read more about all of your options here in this LifeHacker article: How Shopping for Groceries Online Saves Time, Money, and Hassle.
- There is nothing worse than losing a bill or realizing you haven’t paid an invoice too late and then getting slapped with fee because of it! It can be tough transitioning into an automated world at times because you’re not handling the physical writing of a check or placing the call to handle the balance yourself. On the flip side, setting your bills on auto-pay is a safety net that is truly priceless. Automatic online billing services can potentially prevent from damaging your credit or wasting more time and money that could be used elsewhere more desirable and enjoyable with your friends and family. We recommend giving it a shot if you haven’t already. You will eliminate the extra stress of remembering to pay each and every bill you are responsible for, such as banks, credit cards, utility bills, auto payments, etc. When you are working 60-hour 5-day weeks, you cannot afford to lose any of the time you DO have to yourself to instead have to spend it tracking down dates and providers to be paying your hard earned money to on top of it all. Wouldn’t you agree?? This way, you will ensure you never miss an important payment deadline that could very negatively effect you and your future.. it’s an easy choice to give yourself peace of mind.
These options are just scraping the surface of what types of options that are out there that assist with eliminating the arduous processes you spend a huge bulk of your time on without even knowing it! Our team at In Order to Succeed® specializes in helping our clients manually organize and structure their lives, as well as maintain various diverse systems that free up their precious time. If you’re interested in learning more about our services or how we can lend a hand in freeing up your busy schedule, you can take a look at what some of our past and current clients are saying about us on our website.