THE BLOG
01/22/2015 04:21 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Prepare to Live Fully in 2015

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A hangover. We have all experienced it.

After the flurry and fun of the holidays, a hangover tends to throb just a little bit harder. We are too full -- of food, "stuff," and our to-do lists for the New Year.

We crave a fresh start, free of that hangover feeling, in the New Year, but where do we start?

Let's focus on living simply this January as a means to prepare ourselves for an abundant, productive, joyful 2015.

Streamline - Streamline your routine.

Some important questions to think about; and they might (and should!) vary depending on you, your life, your workload, and your productivity

What can you do to reduce the number of steps you take each morning to get dressed? What can you do to automate and streamline your responses to email messages? Can you pack all of your children's lunches for the week on Sunday evening? Can you pay all of your bills on-line? Can you keep your workbag stocked with frequently used items (phone charger, extra lipstick, pens)? Look for places in your professional and personal life where you can develop a routine. Streamline. Make it easier for yourself.

Information - Manage the flow of information in your life.

Information overload is the new normal. Be intentional about what information you allow into your universe. Streamline your timeline on Twitter and Facebook by choosing who you follow intentionally and sparingly. Hootsuite and TweetDeck have filter features you can use to curate who you're reading instead of just scrolling through a large crowd. Remove yourself from physical mailing lists - to remove yourself from credit card solicitations, go to optoutprescreen.com; to remove yourself from catalogs and coupon packs, go to valpack.com. Use AwayFind to filter and screen incoming email messages. Screen your calls. Determine when you will return calls each day. Do not begin your workday with email. Check your email at regular intervals during the day. Begin choosing when, where and how you will respond to the incessant clamoring for your attention and time.

Maintenance - Do tasks not jobs.

It is much easier to quickly walk through the house and pick up a few stray items - which is a task - versus overhauling your entire home in a weekend long clean-up session - which is a job. By putting away items when you get them out, filing each week instead of each quarter, and hanging up clothes after they are worn you are able to easily maintain a home or an office. Who wants to spend a weekend cleaning up and organizing? Do tasks, not jobs.

Plan - Plan and prepare.

Try looking at your calendar a month at a time instead of a day or a week at a time. Is there an upcoming event or events you can prepare for now? Think about buying bulk birthday presents for all of your child's birthday parties. Keep extra greeting cards on hand. Prepare soup, casseroles, etc. and freeze them. Lay out your clothes the night before.

All of these tips allow you to prepare for an event versus always reacting to events. It is the constant reaction that increases stress and wastes your time and money.

Location - Find a home for everything.

Being organized is not about how a space looks, but rather how it functions. It is about finding what you want when you want it. Look at your home, and think about it as a space in which certain activities take place - eating, sleeping, and dressing. Look at your office and think about it as a space in which certain activities take place - responding to email, writing, and research. Then, put every item you need to complete that activity in the space where the activity is performed. Now, when you want an item you'll know where to find it - every time.

Find a location for everything.

Inspire - Create an environment that reflects who you are and how you want to work.

What changes do you need to make at your office? Workers spend on average 44.2 hours at work. Are you working in a sterile environment that sucks the life right out of you? How can you become inspired? Do you need to display more photographs? Paint a wall? Put an inspiring quote on your desk? What can you do to personalize your work space? Space matters. Don't let your space drain your energy and creativity.

Focus on one thing at a time.

Not only is it difficult to do multiple activities at one time, but it will take longer. For example, every time you turn away from a task to look at email, it can take more than forty-five (45) seconds to get back to work. If you do that for the average fifty (50) messages people get daily it adds up to almost 38 wasted minutes, not counting the time it takes to read and reply.

Try to reduce or remove distractions and focus on one activity at a time. Close your door. Turn off the email notification on your computer. Move to a different location. Manage your attention or it will manage you.

You - Take care of you.

You deserve it. Do what you need to care for you. Do you need to take a walk, read an engaging novel, take a bath, get eight uninterrupted hours of sleep? What do YOU need? If you are tired, burned out and running on fumes you serve no one, including yourself. The most productive people put self-care at the top of their to-do lists. Where is self-care on your to do list?

Start 2015 off with a fresh start. Focus on living simply.

What can you do now?
  • Identify one common routine and look for ways to streamline and simplify it. An easy place to start is getting dressed.
  • Unsubscribe from one email newsletter or opt out of one credit card solicitation.
  • Spend 5 minutes at the end of your work day preparing for tomorrow by cleaning off the surface of your desk.
  • Identify one 5 minute self-care thing you can do at your desk right now. Mine is a few deep breaths and then some standing stretches.
  • Then, order Work Simply for additional ideas, tools and strategies to work simply and live fully with your productivity style in 2015.