Better to Simplify Than to Organize

A hectic schedule is a major cause of high stress.

There was a time when I had several organizers, manual and digital. Tens of notebooks and to-do lists that I never complete and update anyway because of too much busyness.

I was great at multi-tasking when I was in corporate work. It left me no time to innovate and think about new things.

I thought being busy meant I was an important person and that I did meaningful things.

Time management?

Already did that. Attended lots of seminars about that.

But there isn’t enough time in a day. Lord, please make it a 30-hour day, I used to pray.

I tried all sorts of organizing to fit everything that I did in my schedule, but I’m still burning out!

Until I’ve found out that simplifying is better than organizing.

Better to Simplify than to Organize

My first step to a more peaceful life was to simplify and reduce the number of commitments in my life to just the essential ones.

I learned to say no to the rest – and slowly got out of commitments and activities that aren’t beneficial to me.

I got out of meetings when they aren’t absolutely essential.

I also learned to say no to myself, and stopped watching TV and playing computer games.

It was not easy at first, but when the smoke cleared, the benefits of having a simple schedule is worth all the trouble.

Here are some tips:

·     Make a list of everything that’s taking time in your life. Include hobbies, clubs, online groups, civic groups, your kid’s activities, sports, church, home stuff, watching TV, playing video or PC games, etc. Anything and everything that’s taking up your time.

·     Pick out the few that really give you value, enjoyment, and long-term benefits. Toss the rest, if possible.

·     If you value your family, choose spending time with them. If you value your relationship with God, choose church. If you value your health, choose exercise and sports… and so on.

·     Choose five commitments, or you can up to seven, and stick with them. More than seven would mean a chaotic life once again.

As an example, here are the top five priorities in my life right now:

Spirituality – my relationship with God & others

Family – my wife and my daughter

Health – includes eating a healthy diet, and consistent exercise (running is my favorite)

Finances – earning, saving and investing

Minimalism – living a simple life to give way to a more meaningful one

Any activity that didn’t cover these five, I say NO to (with a few exceptions, especially those regarding “social obligations”).

It might be difficult to do it at first, but you have the choice to get out of commitments if you just sincerely tell people that you don’t have the time anymore.

This will leave you with a life that only has commitments that are most important to you and you really want and enjoy.

The point is not to get rid of everything that isn’t cool, then do the organizing.

Rather, it is to get rid of the unnecessary in favor of the essential.

I don’t believe in Time Management. I believe in Priority Management.

We are all given by God the same amount of time every day. And it is up to each one of us to use it wisely.

Prioritize. Focus. Simplify.