This week, leadership coach Amy Stewart joins Eureka Training to look at ways to simplify life beyond work in order to be happier and more productive.

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When asked how I am these days, my stock standard response seems to be, “All good, just super busy and crazy with everything!”

Work, partner, children, house, extended family, friends, health, social networking, lists of things I must do, should do, and would be nice-to-do – sheesh, I’m sure you’ll agree that life can be full on.

On a constant quest to explore what I’m truly capable of, I have recently been reflecting on how I can best organise my life beyond work in order to free up some quality head space to be a better leader, team member, and colleague.

Here are the top seven tips that are really making a difference in my life right now:

  1. If it can be done in less than five minutes, then do it now. Write that card, make that call, pay that bill, send that message. Find some five-minute windows on your lunch break, in the evenings, on the train, in the doctors surgery, etc. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be done in less than five minutes. (If it will take longer than five minutes, then schedule it for another time.)
  2. Shop online where possible. Groceries, gifts, clothing, even trampolines! You can buy anything online these days. Research your preferred supermarkets or grocery suppliers to establish some benefits, like free or cheaper delivery days, super specials, early or late delivery times, etc. Much of my gift shopping thus far in 2015 has also been online. A couple of recent triumphs include: When my husband’s grandmother recently turned 90 – she is in Queensland, we are in NSW.  We ordered an awesome (rather sizable) photo collage canvas online and had it delivered straight to her door. We arrived a few days later for the celebrations and were able to open it with her. And two weeks ago, when my son turned five, I ordered his extra special gift – a trampoline – on the Saturday, and it was delivered on the Monday. Sensational!
  3. Download an app to share your ‘to do’ lists with others in your life. My husband and I recently downloaded a shared app that allows us to view and collaborate on the same shopping list. While online shopping works most of the time, one of us often still needs to pop into the supermarket. This also forms our ongoing larger shopping list. We have reduced messages back and forth, and those numerous phone calls it takes just to pick up the essentials.
  4. Turn off the beeps, dings, and little envelopes. Many years ago, I attended a great time management course. I learned how to remove the mail delivery icon popping up every time an email arrives. It’s amazing how distracting this can be. The same can be said for the beeps and dings on our phones and tablets each time a message, email, or social networking update arrives. Set specific checking times for yourself – certain times of day, on the trip to and from work, etc. – and stick to it.
  5. De-clutter the paperwork on the fridge. For a long time at our place, if a magnet could hold it, then it was on the fridge!  I saw ‘busy-ness’ everywhere I looked. I’ve now adopted the ‘clean space = clean mind’ philosophy. Grab some of those peg-like magnets to collate the paperwork, invitations, take away menus, etc. Or better yet, organise them into files and keep them out of sight altogether.
  6. Cook meals that can be eaten over more than one night. We tend to either eat the same yummy meal over two nights, or change it up for the second night. For example, our hearty beef stew from last night is being pimped up for tonight with some lentils, kale, and a dash of curry paste!
  7. If someone offers help, say yes. Traditionally, I’ve tried to do most of everything myself. Then, when some real craziness came into our lives last year, it humbly opened my eyes to some amazing offers of help. The answer is now, ‘yes, yes, yes, please!’  Of course, this generosity is reciprocated whenever I possibly can.

So, there are my seven little tips – all moments ‘re-claimed’ to use my head in more productive ways – for brainstorming, collaborating, reflecting and communicating.  Seven ways to lessen the crazy and the busy!

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AmyScreen Shot 2015-02-12 at 12.02.26 pm Stewart holds over fifteen years of expertise across learning, leadership and organisational development. Amy has been instrumental in driving cultural change across core business areas.  Such work has involved developing culture strategies, leading cultural working groups, and working closely with senior leadership teams to ensure successful implementation. On a more personal note, she’s an avid traveller, passionate cook, ‘wanna be’ sensational gardener, and one who treasures her time with her husband and two young children.

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