We all get the same twenty-four hours per day that everyone else does. So how is it that some people seem to get more done than everyone else? It has to do with the mental space that individuals take up with the unnecessary. If you are constantly thinking about everything else besides what you need to get done, well then you won’t do what is important. For those who have figured this out, they have more brain power to think about what needs to be done and more energy to take care of the tasks at hand.
If this sounds like the person you want to become, I have five tips for you to simplify your life in order to get more done:
1. Save 45 minutes per day. Simplify by creating a daily uniform.
It’s no coincidence that Steve Jobs wore the same black turtleneck and jeans everyday and that Mark Zuckerberg does the same with his hoodie, grey t-shirt, and jeans, and that Albert Einstein always wore the same grey suit and that President Obama only wears grey or blue suits. Sure it’s part of their branding, but they figured out that if they could have one outfit they would simplify the shopping, the trying on of clothes, the finding of the favorite shirt and pants, the daily choice of picking out what to wear, the finding of what matches, waiting on the washing of laundry in order to have clothes that do match, the time it takes to iron, and the choosing of what goes in the suitcase when traveling, they would save tons of time and would instead save brainpower for things that matter much more than clothes. Whether they were the ones to actually do these things themselves or if someone else was doing it all for them, it still takes up precious time. When you already know what you are going to wear, you save time and are able to do more in your day. This being said, when you find your favorite shirts, pants or shoes, buy more than one of them. This keeps you from having to find new favorites in the future when the best product you have found is discontinued and you have to start the process all over again.
2. Save 30 minutes per day. Simplify by eating the same meals everyday.
I learned this tip from Nathan Wiebe, and have already applied it to breakfast and lunch. I have kept dinner as a different meal every night, because I love trying different foods and use it as a reward system. And no, I could never go to the one meal per day system that General Stan McChrystal recently talked about with Tim Ferriss. By simplifying two meals out of the day, I don’t have to research new foods. It’s just easier to simplify as many meals as you can, but it also increases discipline and willpower when you’re able to stick with a meal plan.
3. Save 20 minutes per day. Stop procrastinating.
I learned this tip from time architect, Jana Kemp. She says to take care of all outstanding calls, paperwork, and emails the same day, so that they don’t get put on a to-do list somewhere to be forgotten about. This is just one other thing that takes up mental space, but it doesn’t have to. When you learn to simplify by prioritizing, you will see how much damage that procrastinating can make.
4. Save 30 minutes per day. Create templates for everything you do online.
The average person sends 40 emails per day. That’s not only a lot of emails being sent every day, but that is a lot of time that goes into thinking up the topic, the body, and actually constructing the email. How many similar emails do you send on a daily basis? No matter how many emails you send, the answer you have been looking for to take back control of your email inbox is email response templates. Last year I looked at how many emails I was writing on a daily basis, and I was pretty close to giving up on email altogether. It was too much for one person to control without having proper systems in place to handle it. These email templates helped me find a way to streamline the process and take back my time.
5. Save time throughout the day. Keep a strict bedtime and wake up time.
I covered sleep in my previous podcast, but it’s important enough to cover again. When you get the right amount of sleep for your body, you fight fatigue through sleep rather than throughout the day. When you don’t get enough sleep, you make worse decisions and your mind is cloudy throughout the day. Sure you can fight fatigue with running, naps, or coffee in the middle of the day, but a good night’s sleep is the best possible way to ensure you are at your highest productivity level throughout the day. You will get more done in less time when you take the time to recharge through sleep.
This is all about creating routines and the more you can turn into a system, the better. Get ready for bed at the same time and in the same order to make nights easier. The same goes for mornings. The more often you give the same routine a chance, you will be able to see what works, what doesn’t, and you will also become faster at it. This allows you to fit more things into your day, again saving you time.