Decades ago, businessman and former President of AT&T, Walter Gifford, in one of the best organization strategies, declared that technology would give “every man the chance to do what he will …, the time to cultivate the art of living [and] enlarge the comforts and satisfactions of mind and spirit.”
Despite the fact that in today’s age of technology, living a life of leisure is possible. Many people find themselves trapped in materialistic mindsets that leave them practically enslaved to their jobs with little time to actually enjoy life. John de Graaf, Executive Director of Take Back Your Time, spoke of this problem when he said, “[People] have taken all their productivity gains in the form of more money—more stuff, if you will—and none of them in the form of more time. Simply put, we as a society have chosen money over time.”
Think about it, no one on her deathbed ever thinks to herself, “I wish I had spent more time at work.” Instead, she will think about the trip she didn’t take or the item she never crossed off of her Bucket List.
In addition to leaving you feeling somewhat empty and unsatisfied, a materialistic mindset is sure to bring you unnecessary stress and anxiety. How can you avoid that anxiety? How can you cultivate a balanced view of work and money? What are some of the best organization strategies to avoid anxiety and simplify your life? Is it really possible to find satisfaction and inner joy in today’s materialistic world? Is it possible to find satisfaction in your current work?
If so, what is satisfaction?
Rather than conforming to today’s definitions of success that lack value and insist for “more, more, more …”, take the time to think about what is most important to you as a person.
What are your priorities?
- Spending more time with your family or your friends?
- Pursuing a healthy lifestyle?
- Doing more traveling?
One of the best organization strategies is to write down your priorities and goals to keep them clearly outlined in your mind. I offer a free, downloadable Dashboard tool that I have used for a few years to help simplify the process. If you can make time for the more important things in life, you will avoid anxiety, become a happier person, and feel at peace with yourself. That is more than success, that is feeling fulfilled.
A second necessary step is to identify whatever it is in your life that is keeping you from making time for what is important to you. For most people, it’s a job. Many people will reason, “But I need my job,” or “What will I do if I quit?” Let me ask you this, if you could work at a job you were passionate about and make your own hours, thereby leaving plenty of time for your personal endeavors, would you? It may seem like a drastic change that is out of reach, but I’m here to tell you that you can absolutely achieve this kind of lifestyle and lose the anxiety you currently feel. One key to reaching this goal is to simplify your life.
Practical Ways to Simplify
Simplifying your life can be easier than you think. Following some of the best organization strategies available, you can reduce your anxiety and simplify by putting the following suggestions into practice:
- Map your priorities. Be sure to write down your priorities and review them from time to time. Get crystal clear on your goals. “Spend more time with my family” is vague as a goal. Get clear so you can know when you have achieved the fulfillment you are seeking (e.g., spend a Sunday afternoon, 4 hours, once a month catching up with all friends and family members that live out of state). Make adjustments when necessary.
- Manage your time wisely. For example, if your priority is your family or your health and work is getting in the way, block out time like you would a business meeting. Instead of being reactionary to your calendar, be proactive and schedule the important things in your life as small chunks to get things accomplished. In the beginning, this may mean creating a new budget or cutting back on material expenses. Review your list of priorities for motivation.
- Set realistic goals. Making major changes in your life and schedule is a real challenge. You will need to be modest and recognize your own limitations; don’t schedule more activities than you can handle. Set reasonable goals to begin with (i.e., spend Friday nights with the kids) and then work your way up. If you have larger goals, such as starting your own business that you are passionate about, but you don’t know where to start – get help! I would be happy to provide you with one-on-one business coaching. You can also take advantage of my free Dashboard to get organized.
Reducing your anxiety and simplifying your life takes effort. Yet the rewards are magnificent. It means cutting back on activities that are less important and making material sacrifices, but rest assured, it can be done and it’s worth it. With your priorities in order, and your focus on what makes you feel happy, you will find inner peace and joy.
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