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How to simplify your life

I don’t watch TV. I don’t do Facebook or Twitter. I work full hours and more. Yet I finish each day and face each weekend with deep frustration of not having made much progress in my projects. I wonder what is wrong with me or with the way I manage work.

So here are some of the things I might try.

  • Do not make promises. – Do not say “yes” unless you definitely mean it. Say “no” far more frequently.
  • Do not make yourself available. – Make preemptive appointments so that you won’t have time to accommodate other people’s requests.
  • Reduce options. – Too many choices lead to complications and distractions. Drop less-attractive options from your pool of alternatives quickly.
  • Embrace constraints. – Identify as many constraints as you can and fully appreciate those limitations instead of ignoring them.
  • Go home at 5 pm. – Extend your working hours earlier in the day, not later. If you cannot regularly have dinner with your family because of work, quit the job and find something else to do.
  • Ask for help. – Find someone to check your performance and manage your progress. Allow your colleague to monitor your working patterns and let them give you advice.
  • Give up your bag. – Carrying stuff back and forth between home and work really does not contribute to productivity. Commute empty-handed.
  • Reward good habits. – Encourage yourself to adopt more healthy and productive practices by rewarding yourself when you do anything well. Be generous and let others join you in celebrating your progress. Pay yourself for work well done.
  • Encourage others to contribute. – When your colleague makes even a tiny bit of contribution to collaborative efforts, thank them profusely and praise their work. This will encourage them to take charge.

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