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5 Reasons Why Less is More

5 Reasons Why Less is More

The phrases “Work smarter, not harder,” “Less is more,” and “Simplicity key” plague our lives in every aspect, yet no one seems to really apply them. Is there any truth to these notions? Today’s society is all about absorbing information constantly, whether it be consciously or unconsciously, and attempting to remember it all. However, this burden placed upon us often leads to stress, confusion, and burnout. Here are 5 scenarios where doing less is more:

1. Get organized!

Being organized can initially be a very time-consuming and conscious responsibility. If you’re used to throwing paperwork all over your desk and using the excuse that it’s “organized chaos,” then you may also be familiar with the unnecessary time you spend fumbling through it trying to find one sheet. Keeping organized folders can make it easier to find paperwork. Or if you want to go green, keep digital copies in organized folders. If using digital copies, timestamps can also be great for tracking down files.

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Other than organizing physical clutter, organize your time as well. Sync your calendars, and add in new events and meetings as they pop up. Being aware of what you need to do, and where you need to be, allows for more efficient planning.

2. HIT it!

High-Intensity Training (HIT) has been shown to have some greater long-lasting effects than the average endurance or strength train. A good HIT session can last 20 minutes (5 minutes warm up and cool down, with 10 minutes of high-intensity intervals) and will have fat-burning effects all day, build muscle strength, and give you a shorter but more intense cardio workout. Simply varying the means (rowing, running, or cycling) can help build even muscle strength, and cuts an hour-long workout session out of your day. Check out Hoi Wan’s explanation of High-Intensity Training.

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3. Eat like our ancestors

Intermittent fasting has caught on with the health fanatics recently, and has been shown to be a very effective way of maintaining a good physique. Based on the principles of going long periods without eating as hunter-gatherers, it suggests our bodies are adapted to be able to fast and work at their best in doing so; fat is stored for a reason, so give it a reason to be used. Check out Nerd Fitness’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting.

4. Keep it concise

Twitter has provoked a revolution of the way in which we communicate; being restricted to 140 characters requires creativity and clear thinking to be able to convey what you would like to say within the limit. Thus, opting for emails or texts that are limited to a similar number of characters requires you to clearly think about what it is you want to say, such as how you want to deliver your message, tone of voice, and your key ideas. This is not only beneficial for the receiver in order to truly understand what you want to say, but also allows for the ideas to become vivid and clear within your own mind. For example, if I wanted to convey this topic within the limits of a Tweet, it may look something like this:

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Twitter’s constricted communication allows for clarity, conciseness, and creativity in conveying your message.

5. Break boundaries

This one is where you get creative. It is no surprise that there are several different aspects of your life that you try and manage simultaneously, and many people stand by the idea of only handling one task at a time. But it is perfect acceptable to break boundaries. Always seek out ways to complete more than one task simultaneously. It could be writing an article whilst commuting, or organizing your paperwork whilst researching through for some information. Fluidity is key, and by honing in on your creativity and actively seeking out better alternatives can be rewarding in itself.

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Now you have seen some key concepts and examples that adhere to the idea of “Less is more,” it’s time for you to implement them within your own day and free up more time for the memorable moments in life. Especially with summer coming, do little, often, so you can spend more time in the sun!

Featured photo credit: Marketo Blog via blog.marketo.com

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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