- Posted by Alaia Williams
- On February 6, 2015
Through my years of working with business owners and freelancers, I’ve noticed that people of all stripes tend to make things more complicated for themselves by adding unnecessary steps to the things they do every day. The following are a few things you can do to “cut the fat” and simplify your life:
Have the right systems in place. Systems don’t always have to involve your computer or online software, but there are many great systems out there that can help you streamline a lot of the work you deal with on a daily basis. If you’re starting from scratch, make a list of the tasks that you do repeatedly – daily, weekly, monthly, etc. This could include anything from paying bills, invoicing, bookkeeping, filing. Once you’ve got that list, I assure you, most of the things on it can have a system put in place to help you save time. It doesn’t matter if your system is online, offline or involves delegating to someone else – get a process in place and stick with it. Check out my previous post on the five systems I think everyone should have in place – perfect if you’re looking for a little inspiration.
Sign up for automatic bill pay (at at least pay bills online). Most bills can be paid online – including landline and cell phone bills, utilities, and credit card payments. Most of these companies will also allow you to elect the “automatic debit” option, so your bills are deducted automatically (just make sure you have enough money in your bank account to cover the bills!). Paying bills online and/or signing up for auto-pay saves you from having to write checks, use stamps, and remember to put the bill in the mail.
Focus on one area or project at a time. Don’t worry about everything big thing you have to tackle – because most likely, it’s probably a lot. Make note of your responsibilities and projects, keep the note(s) handy for reference, but save yourself from becoming overwhelmed by focusing on one issue at a time. Perhaps the most time sensitive? A good project management system can help you create timelines for your projects and organize all the pieces.
Identify your priorities. If you have a to-do list that is a mile long, pick out your top two or three priorities, and focus on those. You’ll feel a greater sense of accomplishment once you’ve gotten the most important things out of the way.
Use what you have. I have a client who is a perfect example of this. She is a big time crafter. She has so many crafting goodies, she could probably open her own store. It took a while for her to realize it, but she finally came to see that she had more than enough to do almost any project she could think of. We came across so many pairs of scissors, glue guns, craft paper, and embellishments during our project that there’s no need for her to buy anything else for a long time. If you have plenty of notebooks, stamps, office supplies, etc – use what you have before you fill up your space with more.
What other ways can you simplify your life?