I’m willing to bet that you’re quite familiar with the feeling of being overwhelmed. Whether it be triggered by your workload, school requirements, family commitments, or a combination of them all, we all have more than enough on our metaphorical plate.
While I’ve always been someone who not only appreciates being busy, but also feel as though I thrive when at my busiest, I have to admit that the past 4-5 months have been a bit too much. Did I consciously choose to not turn down pretty well any work opportunity? Yes. Am I grateful for a lot of what came from that decision? Yes. But would I do it again? No, or at least not in the same way.
But rather than simply not agreeing to do as much (which I inevitably will have to do at some level), I set out on a mini-mission to identify ways that I can optimize my work and life process. While I’m still undoubtedly a work-in-progress when it comes to this endeavour, I want to share with you 4 relatively simple, yet powerful, ways that I’ve already helped optimize my process:
1. PICK YOUR FAVOURITES & REMOVE THE UNNECESSARY
While this can certainly be applied in a number of realms, the one in particular that I would like to point your attention to, is the world of social media. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, social media is awesome, and I know that you wouldn’t be here reading this right now without it. But do we really need as much of it as we are currently feeding ourselves?
Rather than going cold turkey, one of the ways I optimized my time is that I cut out the social media platforms that I found to be either completely redundant, or of less interest to me. This involved uninstalling Snapchat, and to stop using Twitter. This has not only helped me to cut out a number of largely unnecessary distractions but it has also allowed me to better appreciate and focus on the others that, to me, are of greater value.
2. ASK & YOU SHALL RECEIVE
We all know how great it can feel to both give and receive help, yet the vast majority of us absolutely suck at asking for it. Despite what your mind may tell you, it is not “you against the world,” and you know that. So stop feeling as though you need to do everything.
I’m not suggesting that independence is not important, I’m instead reminding you that collaboration can also be quite the wonderful tool to utilize and embrace.
3. DELEGATE/ AUTOMATE & TRUST
You’re right. When it comes to pretty well everything that you do, you CAN do it better than anyone else -or at least with a “touch” that only you could ever provide. But that does NOT mean that you therefore cannot delegate a number of things to others, who believe it or not, can likely do a pretty damn good job of it themselves.
All of the world’s greatest leaders only got there by graduating through responsibilities. They delegated and automated whatever they could in favour of focusing on that which is the most important. Identify the things you know you don’t personally need to do, hand them off to someone who can, and trust their ability to not only execute it, but to also become more proficient at it over time.
4. SHUT OFF NOTIFICATIONS & FOCUS
This one for me, thanks in large part to the nature of my work, was a real game changer. I will forever be thankful for the day that I decided to turn off audio notifications from every single application on my phone (including email) except for incoming calls and text messages.
Even though I had gotten pretty good at not instantaneously replying, it’s amazing how much of a negative impact just the noise can have on your ability to focus. I partnered this up by applying a principle from The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss which involves just checking your email at two set times daily, and my productivity has gone through the roof. And believe it or not, the world has not ended despite me sometimes taking hours or days to get back to people.
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