Have you heard of a Life Edit? Well now is a perfect time to do one. We are coming to the end of another year…. In fact, the end of a decade!! How did that happen?
At this time of year, people start to think about how they can improve themselves, what New Year’s Resolutions they can set and what activities they can begin in January for self-development.
I want us to take a look at this from another angle. What about if we looked at our life and looked to see what things we could REMOVE to make it better? Instead of jamming more into our homes and our calendars and increasing our commitments, let’s try a life edit to make it better.
Perhaps then, we may be more successful in achieving our goals as we are less busy and our actions are focused.
How to Start Your Life Edit
1. Start by realising that you already have enough
This is crucial for you to understand! It is vital for you to take stock and find contentment in what you already have. This is not about losing your ambition or aspirations (in fact exactly the opposite as you gain more of this by not being bogged down!) It is about being grateful. Just take stock right now. What is good? What works in your life? Get your journal out and write this stuff down.
2. Identify Your Essentials
Before you start thinking ahead about what you want your goals to be moving forward. Let’s stop and take a look back for a second. What do you in a typical week? Cooking, work meetings, fitness classes, playing on the internet, shopping, driving kids to activities etc.
We often move through our days on autopilot, jumping from one activity to the next without thinking – sound familiar? By doing this exercise it makes us ‘see’ exactly where our time goes. Now ask yourself which parts are important and which ones make you happy.
3. Eliminate the Excess
Which commitments can you renegotiate/ask someone else to do or which can you remove? Which have to stay there?
The next step is to start experimenting!
Drop the commitments that you can remove and see how it goes. If you get something wrong and cut back on something that maybe you shouldn’t have, don’t worry, as it always finds a way to come back naturally. BUT if it doesn’t you can carry on without it!
So for example, if you start doing less washing in the house, maybe someone else in the household will start doing some to help you out? Or perhaps, if you cut out some work meetings that you don’t need to be there for, other people may pick up the responsibilities. This will help you determine which ones you can attend or not in the future. If you have older children and stop chauffeuring them to every event, perhaps they might master public transport?
Experiment, delegate to others and see what works for you! Don’t just assume everything has to be done BY YOU.
Jumping from task to task ultimately gives us more to do. Instead, start by grouping similar activities together and tackle them all at once. For example, at home try batch cooking. At work, try checking emails only twice a day (this tip alone saved me so much time in my day and I became super productive!). You could even try a day where you slot all your meetings in, leaving the rest of your time to be on project work.
TOP TIPS for keeping it up – post Life Edit!
- Use the one in, one out rule not only for possessions but in keeping the clutter out of your life in general. If you take on a new commitment, give up an old one to make space. This is hard for those of us who like to squeeze everything in to their days and don’t like to say no (I was like this in the past….). But it does force you to assess just how you want to spend your time and be more intentional with it.
- Slow down on the managing. Many of use tend to over-manage, both at work and home. This can give people less room for creativity. Stepping back is a great way for people to show their skills and you start to realise the things you can start…..
- Delegating! Can you pass on some of your low priority work? Good delegators allow people to pick up responsibility and this goes for both work and home. At home, for example you can link household chores to pocket money for the kids to keep on top of their things.
- Try freeing up some of you kids time too! Don’t take charge of all your kids time, fill their schedules or feel ‘obligated’ to find them something to do, whatever age they are. Freeing up their time frees yours up to and will make your children more resourceful, confident and independent.
- Once you have cut back and freed up space in your agenda – try doing something purely for pleasure. It could be a one off activity i.e. going to a cookery class or an ongoing activity such as yoga. You choose!
Last but not least….
Try to stress less! I know, I know, this is easier said than done. Especially when the world around us is so fractious and confusing at the moment. BUT REMEMBER, the only thing you can control is yourself and your reactions to things. Keeping a sense of your values is a great way to calm.
So why not try and start this next year, this next decade even, differently? Why not look at how you can reduce your commitments, slow down a little and have a little life edit?
The free space that you acquire can be all you need to find YOU again, and perhaps you may even find a little spark of magic again…..