THE BLOG
08/26/2013 03:08 pm ET Updated Oct 26, 2013

How to Save Time in Business and in Personal Life: Don't Complete Tasks

Business tasks, personal goals, to do's, emails, phone calls... All these things take up your time. More tasks on your mental "to do" list only creates more stress that weigh down your productivity and creativity levels. Arianna Huffington spoke about how to create a more stress-free environment at the Inbound13 conference in Boston a few days ago. Here is what I learned:

"If you are burnt out, you cannot lead."

Simple, yet potent words from the CEO of Huffington Post. Arianna explained how if you do not give yourself time to recharge, to get the proper amount of sleep, and to relieve yourself from stressful elements in your life, you become a crappy influencer and leader. She went on to explain how she once believed she would be able to speak French and learn how to ski. Then she decided she would never get to both of these things and discarded the "to do's" from her mind. Now, when her friends go skiing, she sits in the lodge and reads a book... and most importantly, she loves it.

"About 80 percent of the emails you receive in a day are irrelevant" she went on to say. Removing any of these unneeded stress enablers in your life can leave you time, energy, and creativity that you can re-invest into leading your business.

Right away, this made me think of our own clients and how they dropped the stress of handling their own money and are all striving to lead financially stress free lives. I'm seeing a lot of articles in the past weeks about how lottery winners are not as happy as everyone believes them to be. More money equals more stress -- but I disagree. There are many ways those earnings can equate to well thought out, happier investments.

Elizabeth Dunn, a Harvard researcher, also talked at Inbound13 about what really makes people happy. She explained that buying material items that eventually decrease in value, though providing short term happiness in beginning stages, only decreases a person's happiness over time. Overall, buying more experiences and sharing them with loved ones, friends, and even strangers are what brings even the wealthiest consumer's happiness. That happiness is proven to trickle into your professional life, and not to provide a simple short term benefit.

Main takeaways:

  • Strive for freedom from stress enablers in your life.
  • Drop the tasks that you want to get to, but know they simply will never happen.
  • Buy experiences, not material items because they invest in your happiness and not in something that decreases in value over time.