Once again, I want to welcome the incredible Danielle LaPorte (author of the blog White Hot Truth) to Unclutterer. Read a more complete biography of her at the end of this article.
Last year was a biggie for me. I released a book, did speaking gigs in a dozen different cities, raised a bunch of money for my internet company, left that company for a new solo venture, and still made time to build forts and Popsicle stick boxes with my little boy. I knew that if I didn’t stand guard against the potential time, energy and stuff clutter that was coming my way, I was going to go berserk.
My initial inclination to planning for business growth was to do more. Work more hours. Put my kid into more programs. Just cram more into my life for a period of time. You know, weather the beautiful storm. But this time, I stopped myself. Maybe it’s maturity that brought me to my senses. Or maybe it’s all the sinus infections I’ve had from being over-worked. Or it’s the plethora of plastic toys and unanswered email that’s crept in while I’ve been juggling an ever-increasing more-ness to my life. But I finally had my eureka revelation and (I know, it may sound daft, you may have already mastered this incredibly obvious life lesson), but I finally realized that a girl can only do so much. Uh-huh.
When the going gets busy, the wise ones simplify … with a vengeance.
Managing chaos with beauty, quality, and ruthless simplicity:
- Commit to your creativity. This may sound like it should be the last priority on your packed to-do-list. When we’re busy, the creative things are usually the first to go, but creativity is like a super vitamin juice for the soul – a little bit goes a long way. Whether it’s just a love note that you write on a napkin, or some flowers you arrange for the dinner table – find little ways to keep your creative nature alive. Beauty-making helps you keep things in perspective.
- Get the best tools. Whether its more computer memory, a comfortable back pack, or a bus pass, invest in the best of what you use the most. Any carpenter will tell you that a house is easier to build with a sharp saw.
- Have it delivered. What last minutes trips and essential to-dos are consistently causing you stress? There’s probably a service to solve that dilemma:
- Arrange for direct deposits and automatic payments. I go into my bank only a few times a year (no more looking for a parking spot or waiting in line!) We auto-pay utility bills with an air mile-earning credit card, and write just one or two checks a month to the credit card.
- Get a food delivery service. Once a week, the food dude drops off organic veggies, milk and other yummers we’ve ordered. It costs about 5% more than our usual grocery bill, but race-to-the-grocery-store trips before work/daycare/appointments – no more.
- Send gifts through Amazon. It seemed like every girlfriend I have had a baby last year. I sent them all kids books directly through Amazon (you can fill out a gift card that is included with your order.) I give them the more personal, lovey prezzies when I see them in person (and know better what they really need).
- Get DVDs by mail. Now THIS changed my life. No more, “We have to watch this movie tonight,” pressure for the sake of the $5 rental fee. And no more late fees!
- Just say ‘no.’ Really. It’s a magic word.
- Insist on good service. I switched banks because I could never get a human on the phone and it took too long to get my business done. And as much as I liked her, I broke up with my hairdresser. She kept me waiting every single time.
- Give yourself a break. I adore books. I’d eat them if I could. But I actually committed to NOT read books for the first half of my very busy year. I also gave myself permission to be late with returning phone calls for six months. Sweet relief.
If you can see busy times coming, plan to do less, not accommodate more. Refuse to expand, insist on boundaries. Take your soul vitamins – be sure to do the little things that nourish your spirit. Reject anything that doesn’t foster your greatness, and put systems into place that support your freedom. Be ruthless. You’re worth it.
Danielle LaPorte founded www.whitehottruth.com because “self realization rocks.” Her blog is lauded as “kick-ass enlightening.” She is the lead author of the bestseller, Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design. A former think tank executive and communications strategist, Danielle helps entrepreneurs blaze their careers with her signature Fire Starter Sessions.