Time and productivity columnist for the NZ Herald

Robyn Pearce: Three tips to simplify your busy life

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Reduce space and you'll find you don't need so much 'stuff'. Photo / iStock
Reduce space and you'll find you don't need so much 'stuff'. Photo / iStock

Is it just my noticing, or are you also seeing an increasing commentary and focus on decluttering and simplifying? It's not just things: it could be activities or even people.

Can you reduce driving time?

I had a big wake-up call a few weeks ago while chatting to my friend Elizabeth Jeffries over coffee. She and her husband Stephen were visiting from Louisville, Kentucky. Most of her work is coaching senior executives.

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'Are most of your clients in Kentucky, Elizabeth?'

'No, only one company. All the others are dotted all over the country. I work with everyone almost exclusively via Skype.'

I know many coaches and consultants get clients to come to their offices but since I moved to the country nearly an hour out of Auckland I'd been in the habit of going to my clients' premises. I've only ever done on-line coaching with overseas or further afield clients. Suddenly I realised how much time was being wasted driving around Auckland.

If I followed Elizabeth's example with my increasing list of coaching clients I would actually be able to service them better.

From that day on I started to shift all my clients to Skype or an equivalent medium - and no-one minds! With Skype's video camera and screen sharing functions you can still read the body language and see anything they want to show you.

• What unnecessary driving are you doing?

• Could more of your meetings be done online?

• How else can you get information?

I'm not suggesting that we forego all 'in the same room' meetings, but let's save them for the times we really need to.

Reduce space and you'll find you don't need so much 'stuff'

One of my tenants sold her large 4-bedroom home and shifted into my small 1-bedroom rental flat while she looked to buy another property.

'Do you miss your big house, Donna?' I asked her yesterday.

'Not at all. It's amazing how much more simple life is now I don't have to look after all that space and all the stuff that filled those rooms. I've realised I don't need anything like the size of the old house. My things have been in storage for six months and I haven't even missed them. My next place will be small.'

When did you last use it?

• The following clever wardrobe declutter trick was popularised by Oprah Winfrey, although she didn't dream it up. Reverse all your hangers. When you wear something, place it back with the hanger facing in the normal direction. After six months it will be obvious what you can let go.

• If you're still reluctant to discard, try putting those 'I can't quite let them go' items in another room, or a suitcase or big bin in the garage if you don't have spare hanging space elsewhere in the house. If you've managed without them for a year, you really didn't need them.

• A tip from highly entertaining fashion stylist and speaker Lisa O'Neill for anyone whose weight fluctuates: Put the different sizes in different wardrobes. Then you don't waste time every morning filtering the wardrobe.

• When something new comes in to your office, home or garage, remove two things you don't now use. Put them in the recycle bin or donate to a charity shop.

Office decluttering:

The space closest to you is your most precious.

Think of it as your 'interruption zone'. If that valuable 'real estate' is cluttered, it slows down your thinking. At a sub-conscious level you're constantly sifting and sorting to seek the next task.

If possible shift everything you're not working on to a desk return, shelf or table to the side or behind - out of your direct eye line. Keep in front of you only the task you're engaged with and your focus will significantly increase.

- NZ Herald

Robyn Pearce CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is known as the Time Queen. She mastered her own time challenges and now helps people around the world overcome theirs. She can show you how to transform your time challenges into high productivity and the life balance you desire. Start by downloading her free report "How to Master Time In Only 90 Seconds" at www.gettingagrip.com. It's a simple yet powerful diagnostic tool to help you identify your key areas for action.

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Time and productivity columnist for the NZ Herald

For 22 years author and speaker Robyn Pearce (known by her clients as the Time Queen) has been sharing her experiences and knowledge about time management and productivity with countless clients and readers around the world as a keynote speaker, educator, coach and writer of 8 books and many hundreds of articles. She often appears as a subject specialist on television and radio. Robyn learnt her subject the hard way. Through the years of raising six kids, single parenthood and then a highly successful real estate career, time management was her biggest challenge. The good news is – she won, and now helps others find more time.

Read more by Robyn Pearce

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