By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” – Leonardo da Vinci
Life just keeps getting faster and more complicated. I’m on a mission to simplify.
Not long ago, my husband and I made a decision to downsize. Frankly, I was dreading it. I didn’t know how I was going to cope with that and all the change going on in my business at the same time. I was feeling completely overwhelmed. My husband stepped up to do his part and help me through the process. Now that we are on the other side of the change, I am so glad we did it. Things will be easier to manage going forward.
Yes, it does take time and effort to simplify your life or your business. And like any kind of change, it takes commitment and persistence. But it needn’t be complicated.
Here’s my 10-step formula for simplifying:
- Decide to simplify your life.
- Identify the area of your life that is causing the most stress right now – work, home, relationships, etc.
- Visualize how your life will be different when you have removed the stress, how you will feel. Why do I suggest that you do this? Because removing a source of stress requires change, which is hard for many of us, and just getting yourself to take the first step is the biggest challenge of all.
- Write down all of the steps required to simplify on a piece of paper.
- Identify the first step to simplify and put it on your calendar.
- Think of who can help you get that done: your friends, neighbors, family, staff, etc. Write the task of asking for help on your calendar.
- Take action immediately…right now…get a piece of paper and a pen and start this list.
- Commit to an end date for getting this first simplification process done.
- Don’t stop working through the steps until you’re done, and then celebrate by doing something nice for yourself.
- Rinse and repeat.
Whatever you need to do to make your life less stressful is worth the hurdle you need to overcome. I can say from experience it really helps to have help, so don’t be afraid to ask. Maybe you have to trade with a friend or neighbor to do some big project with them. Maybe you need to ask your team to do more at work or your family to lighten your load.
I’ve heard (and occasionally put into practice) the idea that when you do the do the hard things first, it makes the other things easier, and when you do the easy things first, it makes everything left seem even harder. I usually find when I take the easier path at the beginning, I always pay a bigger price in the end.
When it comes to removing something from your life to make it simpler, often the hardest thing is making the decision to let it go. If you’re struggling with that decision, there is some emotional reason you’re holding onto the current state. Take some time to examine that and then revisit Step 3, above. Sometimes we think it is easier to stay with the status quo. Until the pain of holding on or the reward of letting go is great enough, we won’t change. Visualizing and really feeling how your life will be different for the better if you make that change can be the incentive you need to take that all-important first step.
If you get stuck for more than three days, don’t fret or give up. Ask someone to help you talk through the decision, offer a solution, or figure out the steps and process you need to take to simplify your life. Often we think we have to do it alone, and we don’t. There are always alternatives. And thankfully, there are always people who are willing to listen and to help.
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