As a single mom of a three-year-old son, licensed nutritionist and personal training entrepreneur, my life can safely be classified as busy. Juggling the responsibilities of raising a child, meeting with clients, staying healthy and running a business can wear me down sooner than I can even have time to process.
Over the years, I've discovered the importance of streamlining both my personal and work life by simplifying my daily routine, habits and business practices. I don't want to burn myself out by the time I'm 40 or live daily life feeling stressed and suffocated.
You can use these few tips to add a touch of simplicity to your work and/or personal life and reap the benefits of a more evenly paced but equally productive lifestyle.
1. Single-Track Mind Mentality
I'm a multi-tasker in every sense of the word. I'll check emails while I make my sons lunch in the morning, I'll put on make up while I drive to work, I'll plan a meeting for next week while I'm sitting in another meeting.
I thought multi-tasking was great until I, for possibly the first time ever, focused on one single thing. A friend talked me into giving meditation
a try and the instructor told us to focus solely on our breathing, the air coming in and out through our nostrils. It took me a long time to master my thoughts and tone them down, but when I did, I was amazed by how calming it was to focus intensely on just one thing at a time.
I decided to give it a try in my business life and I was surprised to find out how much work I can get done when I focus intently on just one task. Free of distractions, I work faster and with better quality.
If you're a chronic mutli-tasker, try focusing on one single task, even just for ten minutes, even if you have to start by just clearing your mind by focusing on breathing. You'll be surprised how relaxed you can feel and how quickly you can work when you slow down.
I love doing everything myself. I was a firm believer in the phrase, "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself." But, the truth is, doing everything is exhausting, inefficient, and impractical.
The best businesses, big or small, are ones that know how to delegate
If you feel that you can't delegate tasks to others and trust that each will be completed well, you should surround yourself with different people, whether professionally or personally. Family notwithstanding, of course.
3. Know Your Limitations
In the same vein as knowing the importance of delegation, you should also know how much you can and can't take on. Sometimes, it's okay to say no. Sometimes, it's okay to hire someone to take care of a difficult and arduous task.
When I moved into a new condo last year, I thought I could handle the entire move on my own. In the end, the move took twice as long as it should have, spanning two weekends and requiring me to miss several days of work and back out on a few personal commitments.
With a business relocation looming in the coming months, I have every intention of hiring moving companies
to take care of the hassle for me. I've learned my lesson and I know that for some tasks, it's better to let a professional take care of the grunt work.
4. Work Life vs. Home Life
I used to always be the kind of person to take work home, especially when launching my personal training business. Though it's sometimes hard to avoid if you are your own employer, or if you own a small business, separating
home and work life as much as possible is absolutely vital.
Long hours and working form home are sometimes the name of the game in small business ownership, but you should strive for separation. Establishing 'work time' and 'home time' is key for establishing an effective work ethic, maintaining energy and fostering long-term personal relationships.
5. Take Time Off
Similarly, everyone is entitled to take time off
, whether it's just a standard weekend or a two-week vacation. I'm a self-proclaimed workhorse, but after a few months of all work and no play, I find that my productivity is absolutely lacking.
After a long vacation, my brain is clear, creative, alive and I'm more energized, productive and healthy. When just finishing school, becoming a licensed nutritionist and starting my business, I realized I worked for over a year without a single day off. I was exhausted, dull, cranky and generally unable to function at my best. I took extended time off when I was pregnant with my son and have since committed to vacationing at least twice a year.
Enjoy a Long Life
Balancing work and play is a key to long life. Your body needs rest, relaxation and simplicity just as much as it needs food and water. Balance your life so that you are efficient in your work life and have time to enjoy time alone as well as time with others. If I can do it, anyone can.
Nan Gibbons is a Personal Trainer, Nutritionist, & Fitness Advisor.