Everyone is busy. “Busy” has become our standard response to, “How are you?” But sometimes we make ourselves so busy, we don’t stop to think about how we could make life a little easier & more enjoyable.
If you’re always busy, it’s impossible to prioritize setting goals or take steps to build your best life. All you can do it keep hurtling along at breakneck speed.
Several weeks ago, I took part in a blogging challenge that included an assignment to write a manifesto. I wrote it in a day and honestly was not all that happy with the way it turned out.
But as I go back and read it over again from time to time, I realize that I like it better as I find more meaning in my own words.
Is that a little crazy?
I wrote it, I should know what it means, but different parts of it hit me every time I read it.
From that manifesto, an idea emerged that it’s possible to Build Your Best Life with 3 steps — Planning, Simplifying, and Taking Action. I firmly believe that doing these 3 things every day can help you to let go of that constant need to declare yourself “busy” and will help you find more joy in your life.
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So How Can You Build Your Best Life?
Before we get into the 3 Steps, let’s talk about the Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the “80/20 Rule,” which basically states that “80% of your results are achieved by 20% of your efforts.” (Learn more at Wikipedia.)
By adopting this philosophy in all areas of your life, you will find that maybe you don’t have to try so hard to make every. single. little. thing. perfect.
If you get nothing else out of this post, please at least take the 80/20 Rule to heart. I know that most of the people who read this blog are women, so I am talking to you.
Every meal does not have to be perfectly balanced and Instagrammable.
Your children do not need every moment of the day scheduled for them. Are they a little bored during summer vacation because screen time is limited? That’s actually a good thing — instead of offering a list of things they could do, let them work out a solution.
Your parties do not need to look like they were professionally done — people come to hang out with friends, not to be intimidated by party perfection.
So, relax. Stop the busy-ness. Build Your Best Life.
Step 1: Plan
Think about what you REALLY want from life. Write it down and be honest with yourself. It could be simple, like making more time to read. Or it could be something like changing your career, how you handle money, or even your family interactions. Once you have identified what you REALLY want, ask yourself, “Are you working toward that objective?” If not, then you need to make some changes. For each goal, brainstorm the steps you could take to make the changes. Finally, choose one goal at a time to work toward. Set the others aside, you will get to them eventually.
Review your calendar and prepare for upcoming events and appointments. Update your budget. Finalize a meal plan. (You will be surprised at how this eliminates stress!) Schedule time to work toward your new goal.
Give yourself the gift of 10 minutes every morning to review your day & put things in order on your to-do list. Prioritize the three most important items on your list. Make sure one of them relates to your long-term goal.
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Step 2: Simplify
I am a massive fan of decluttering. While my home is not even close to clutter-free yet, I work on it a little bit every day and would eventually like to move toward minimalism. Why? Clear space helps me think, and it calms me. Since I used to be the type of person who saved everything “just in case,” this has been a huge shift. Wanna know my favorite benefit? I really hate cleaning, and having less stuff means less cleaning! Having to clean less also means extra time for doing More Important Things.
This could be anything that you regularly do. Menu planning and cooking. Running your blog or online business. Budgeting and financial planning. If it feels like you don’t have time to do it, or it seems like you’re always working on it, then you need to find a simpler way.
This one is tough, and it’s the area I often have to work on. In my first quarter Filling the Jars update post (read it HERE), I talked about how unhappy I was with the overall amount of time I spend on social media. Before I began blogging, randomly browsing Pinterest was no big deal. Honestly, I didn’t even realize it was social media… it was just my idea place. But when I became active on more social media platforms, I realized the need to streamline the process. (I keep telling myself that a faster computer would solve the problem. 😉 Think that’s a good enough reason for a beautiful new laptop?) Eventually, I pieced together a solution that is working for now.
One thing that helped make my days easier was eliminating multi-tasking. Coincidentally, it’s also what made me recognize the social media issue. Blocking time to focus on one task at a time will help you either get it done faster, or it will help you understand where your time is really going and which tasks can’t be finished as quickly as you had assumed.
Related post: Mono-Tasking – Be More Productive by Doing Less
To Build Your Best Life, you need to be able to focus, which means you need to simplify your thoughts. The best way to do that is to get them out of your head. Write them down, dictate them into your phone, do a brain dump, whatever it takes. I use a mix of paper and digital. I have a notebook for everyday to-do lists and notes, and I enter a lot of random things into Google Keep or Evernote. Both programs sync between my phone, tablet, and computer. Most of my seriously random thoughts end up in Google Keep — the visual layout lends itself to temporary to-do lists and “just one thing” types of notes.
Step 3: Take Action
Put It All Together
You’ve planned, you’ve simplified, now get out there and actually DO the scary thing! Don’t get stuck in the planning step. Remember the 80/20 Rule. Have you planned 80%? Good enough! It’s time to get moving!
This could be as simple as a page in your planner where you note how many times — thanks to menu planning and food prepping — you ate at home instead of going out to eat every week. Or you could create a blog post or video series about how many things you’re decluttering from your home or how your writing has progressed since you decided to get serious about it. The important thing is that you don’t want to forget how far you’ve come!
Are your new methods or changes making your life better? If not, then ask yourself two things:
1 “Did I give this a fair chance?”
2 “Is it time to eliminate this from my life?”
Answer yourself truthfully, and you will know what to do next. Trust yourself.
Related post: Why You MUST Discover & Develop A Creative Outlet
Bonus Printable: Click on the image below to open your printable PDF.
With major changes, focus on one thing at a time. If you try to make too many changes, you won’t be able to give anything your full effort and attention.
When you follow the steps to Build Your Best Life, you just may surprise yourself by how quickly your answer to “How are you?” becomes much more interesting than, “Busy.”
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