(File image) Before you try to change anything, ask yourself what the payoff for keeping so busy has been. Is it that you are trying to please other people?
Living a Simplified Life
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FEBRUARY 27, 2008
Susan Scholl, HappyNews Columnist

Life can be so complicated, so busy, so draining. Who wants to live like that? I know I don’t and I’ll bet you don’t either. Most of my life coaching clients claim their lives are much too hectic and they have no time for themselves. They are finding that living life in a frantic way leads to dysfunction, chaos, frustration, and a variety of unfinished projects. They are craving a more simple life.
So what does it mean to have a simplified life and where do we start? To live a simplified life means that we must first create one. That would be creating a life that is in balance allowing time for both work and play. It might even suggest eliminating half of what we are doing these days. We jam-pack our lives and our children’s lives with so much “stuff” that we can’t possibly keep up. We jokingly comment about how we seem to run into ourselves as we come and go. We have so many projects, goals, ideas, shoulds, have to’s, and commitments. How did this all get started and how can we put a stop to it? Wouldn’t it be great to have a daily schedule that was truly enjoyable?
Before you try to change anything, ask yourself what the payoff for keeping so busy has been. Is it that you are trying to please other people? Do you have a friend or family member pushing you into doing something which poses no interest to you, but the thought of saying no brings on too much guilt? Has an organization asked you to do too much? Organizations say that 20 percent of their members do 80 percent of the work. I believe that is because people do not know how to say “NO” without guilt. If you are involved in too many projects, it’s difficult to do a good job at any of them. There is nothing wrong with saying no. It’s healthy and commands respect of your time.
We often over commit because we think we will have more time in the future than we do in the present. We take on future tasks without realizing that our current tasks really are not going to change and we have only added one more thing to our busy schedule. This only serves to create resentment, frustration and even illness in the future.
The best place to start is by acknowledging where you spend your time. Coach U, Inc. suggests that you make a list of all your commitments. Include in this list commitments to business, family, social, organizations, etc. List all of them.
You may find some of them to be commitments you no longer enjoy such as time-consuming leadership positions in organizations, volunteer jobs you no longer enjoy, professional organizations from which you no longer are receiving any benefit, social engagements you no longer enjoy, or goals you no longer care to achieve. Is all this extraneous stuff overloading your schedule? If so, eliminate at least three of them. By freeing your schedule from non-productive commitments, you then create the time for the activities you actually want to enjoy.
Next spend some time deciding what types of activities serve you well and provide you with the greatest enjoyment. Now that there is some space in your schedule, resist the temptation to fill it back up. Keep plenty of spare time in your week so if something takes longer to complete than you thought, you still have time for it without bringing about unnecessary pressure.
When you find that you actually have time for your life, you have succeeded in creating a simplified life.

Susan Scholl is a Certified Professional Life Coach. You can read more about her at www.susanscholl.com