Do you ever feel as though your day runs you instead of the other way around?

When we are pulled in many directions (as so many of us are), it may feel like we have no control over our own time.

We find ourselves working longer, waking up earlier, and generally feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

Anyone who juggles multiple priorities knows this feeling. And when things get like this for me, I have a handy little tool I like to use to get me back on track and reclaim control.

It’s my filter.

The Simplify Filter, that is. And it works like this:

Take a look at your Master Action Plan (if you aren’t already using this strategic to do list, it’s a great place to start), or whatever system you currently use to track your work.

Make sure your MAP is a complete list of all your tasks, deadlines and projects. Next, run all your work through the Simplify Filter:

  • Scale back: What can I eliminate?
  • Streamline: How can I automate?
  • Seek help: Where can I collaborate?

Use this exercise to prompt opportunities to simplify distracting activities and free up more time for your most essential work. For more ideas, invite your leader or colleagues to help you find other ways to streamline, scale back and seek help.

If you get this right, you can eliminate most of the distracting tasks taking you away from your core priorities and most essential work.

In other words, the Simplify Filter is an incredible tool to help you do your best work – and live your best life.

The exercise is useful whenever you:

  • Have too many tasks and commitments (and not enough time)
  • Are overwhelmed by your Master Action Plan
  • Spend less time on your most essential work than you want
  • Find you are not making fast enough progress on your key goals
  • Feel as though you are always racing to catch

Taking control over how we spend our time allows us to create the space we need to focus on what matters most. And that’s when we thrive.

What do you do to scale back, streamline and seek help in your life? Please share with us. We’re all in this together!