In a society obsessed with productivity and convenience, many of us have failed to acknowledge the adverse effects of a world that moves at hyper-speed. Maybe we notice on a more global scale – we see more depression, anxiety, and even suicide.
But what about on an individual level? Have you paid attention to how this obsession with to-do lists and intuitive calendars has made a mark on you as a person (not a robot)?
There are ways to be more productive, while simultaneously cutting things out of your life that don’t serve you. The goal with productivity should be to have more time to be whole, not to find other things to put on your list. So, here’s 5 ways you can save time, feel more whole, and simplify your life.
- Ask yourself: “Is the really necessary?”
The popular advice right now is to suggest that we should just say “no” more often. While I understand the sentiment, I think it should be more nuanced. Indiscriminately saying “no” only for the sake of exercising your free will may land you in a more isolated place than you originally planned.
What I’ve found to be more helpful is to consider whether something is really necessary to my well-being or not. If it doesn’t serve me, why am I doing it? Here’s where the nuance comes in: even if something doesn’t serve me now, I need to consider whether my efforts now will serve me later. Considering your happiness now and later may have more lasting, effective results.
2) Establish a sustainable routine
The operative word here is “sustainable”. The fact of the matter is, we often overestimate what we are able to accomplish in a given amount of time. In other words, we never seem to get as much done as we think we can.
This is not a personal failure, but it is a reality. What can you reasonably get done in the morning before work? Daily gratitude practice, meditation, 30-minute workout, and make your organic, fresh breakfast? As lovely it sounds, that’s not realistic. And all of these self-love, personal development acts may end up making you more crazy than before. Clearly, that’s not what we’re going for here.
If you can only manage to write a journal entry and eat a nutritious breakfast, that’s great! And your ability to remain consistent with that routine will, over time, make you feel much more centered than adding 37 extra additional things.
3) Cut out toxic people
We’ve all got people in our lives that make us feel emotionally drained, or who constantly drag us into their drama. Ever sat down to actually think about how much time you spend with people who only dim your light? Even if it’s not the time spent with them – how much energy do you expend just thinking about the garbage they bring into your life?
It’s not a betrayal to keep certain people at a distance. In fact, they you never even have to inform them that the nature of your relationship is changing – it can just happen. When you leave behind people who don’t bring positivity to your life, suddenly the clouds lift, and life feels a little lighter and brighter.
4) Consume less media
We consume TONS of media every single day. In fact, we spend more time consuming media today, than in any other time in history. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, late night talk shows, the news – I could go on – the barrage of “latest news” is endless.
Again, I challenge you to take stock of how much time your consuming media, and how you feel after doing it. Did that last post from your favorite Instagram beauty influencer leave you feeling ugly and insignificant? Unfollow. Did that last post from your most-admired political figure leave you feeling helpless and hopeless? Unfollow.
Media may help keep us up-to-date, but it doesn’t help us take action. It doesn’t help feed our souls. And it definitely doesn’t help us live happier lives. So, let go of it.
5) Do more of what you want, and less of what you don’t
We often forget to consider one really important question: what do I want? So much is expected from us, and so much pressure falls on us day after day, to do/be/look/act a certain way. And then we forget that we’re allowed to consider our own desires.
In fact, what you want is possibly the most important part of your life! If you’re constantly deprived of the little and big things that allow you to express your creativity, individuality, and make you feel alive, the results can be devastating. This is what’s driving the uptick in anxiety, depression, and suicide. We’re suffocating – deprived of our own essential selves, and it’s literally destroying our populace.
Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and without direction, stop to consider what you want. Once you figure it out, march toward it, and don’t look back.