There's no doubt about it. We're under more pressure to produce, stay organized, and pivot frequently throughout the day. Simplifying the workday then, not only makes sense but also leads to greater productivity.
You may have noticed how much simplifying a recurring task in your personal life has helped. Maybe it's planning time to update your checkbook every other day or twice a month. Perhaps, it's placing an order for grocery pickup and shaving an hour or more off your in-store time.
Simplifying your workday can be as easy--or complicated--as you make it. If you're an overachiever, perhaps you want to tackle several of these 25 simplification tasks suggested by Entrepreneur.
If you're looking for some easy wins, then try one of these 3 ways to simplify your workday.
Tip #1: Start at the Very Beginning
In the musical, The Sound of Music, Maria reminds us, "Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start."
Theater geek or not, you'll likely agree. The trick is to find out what IS the very beginning. The easiest way to find that is to work backward. If your goal is to bring in more revenue, look at the ROI of the tasks you know need to be accomplished.
Ask yourself, "Which ONE of these tasks will bring in the greatest ROI?" Then focus on that task. That is your starting point or beginning. Nothing else gets added to your to-do list until this task has been undertaken.
Tip #2: Say No to Something
Saying yes is easy. For some of us it's automatic. Before a request has even been finalized, we find ourselves nodding along, agreeing that it's important and inevitably, that we need to do it.
Remember, as best-selling author Annie Lamott once wisely said, "No is a complete sentence".
Say no to something today. It could be as big or small as you're comfortable with. Say no to spacing out by surfing online or "just checking email" for the 20th time in an hour.
Say no to a coworker who pleads for help at the 11th hour...after assuring you that they had everything under control and could meet the deadline they knew about weeks ago.
Say no to scheduling yet another Zoom call when a quick email will get the same results.
Tip #3: Curate Constantly
Freelancers often find that when they first go out on their own they are able to get much more done in less time. This causes elation in some, trepidation in others. Some of us only feel productive if every last minute of the workday (and then some) are full of activity.
The thing is, busy doesn't mean productive. I can get more done in three hours of uninterrupted time than I could eight hours at a job I once held where a micromanaging boss loomed over my shoulder constantly.
So, curate. Learn to cut out the things that are great but not essential. Cut out the virtual calls, online networking events, and "perfect" project results--that in actuality are only five to ten percent better after another six hours of tweaking.
Curate your workday so that you have energy left for the rest of your life. Especially now, as so many of us juggle the strain of homeschooling or parent care, additional duties around the house and/or general stress over COVID-19.
Simplifying as a Form of Self-Care
By simplifying our workdays, we are taking better care of ourselves. And we may find that by doing so, we build up the ability to simplify other areas of our lives, too.
If you're looking for more tips on simplifying at work, home, or in your personal life, I strongly recommend visiting Leo Babauta's blog, Zen Habits.
What do you think? What benefits have you noticed in simplifying your workday and what challenges have you experienced in doing so?
Joy Choquette has been writing professionally from her home office in northwestern Vermont for more than a decade. She helps small business owners to cut through the clutter online by creating shareable stories and memorable messages that motivate customers to action. She specializes in the areas of business, environmental and health and wellness issues.