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Simplifying can eliminate stressful days

Mar 8, 2012 - Staff

Question -- "I'm working all the time, how can I turn off?"

-- Donna, Cheyenne

Answer -- Ahh, the simple life. The weekend brings a sigh of relief; a change-of-pace from a hectic workweek. Now is the time to unwind and relax, right? Wrong.

Instead, most of us often find ourselves in the midst of a full schedule of errands and "to-do" lists that begin to make Monday look like a welcome break from the weekend. How can we break this cycle? The answer is to simplify.

Susan Pilgrim specializes in engaging the spirit of individuals, teams and organizations. She notes that as a generation, the "Baby Boomers" have had it all -- cars, big homes, money and stress. They are discovering that "having it all" is not all it is cracked up to be. Something is missing. That something is meaning. She defines "simplifying" as determining what is really important in life.

One step might be to simplify the home environment. Sometimes homes can be a source of chaos rather then comfort and sanctuary. The problem could be that you can't find things or are constantly tripping over debris, which might add to life's complexities.

Although it may take some time, up-front "cleaning house" can be a worthwhile endeavor. One method to keep free of home clutter is the "R" rules of reduce, reuse and recycle. Ask yourself, "Do I need this?" "Can I use this again?" "Could someone else make use of this?"

Evaluate your lifestyle. What are you willing to change? What is complicating life? Can you get by with two cars instead of three? Do you really need the big house and the taxes that go with it? Is a new wardrobe necessary every year? How often do you use the "toys" you have before replacing them with new ones?

One of the largest parts of simplifying is to change expectations of ourselves. Sometimes the projects we expect to accomplish are set in unrealistic time frames. Balancing the multiple demands of life can be daunting, but can be managed.

Decide each day which one or two essential tasks must be completed. Set your mind and effort to complete those tasks. Let go of the need to have everything be perfect and open your mind to creative problem solving. Try staying home one day a week, disconnect the phone and do whatever you desire.

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Editor's note: Anya Petersen-Frey is regional director, part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, email at wsbdc@uwyo.edu or call at 1-800-348-5194.

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