Business – Rules for a Simpler Day

9 Rules for a Simpler Day

Our days fill up so fast, and are so rushed and filled with distractions, that they seem to be bursting.

It’s a huge source of stress for most people, and stress is perhaps the most important factor determining whether we’re healthy or sick.

So how can we simplify our days? It’s not incredibly hard, but I’ve found it’s best done in steps.

These are the steps I followed, though of course calling them “rules” means we should test them and break them as needed. No rules should be followed blindly. I’ve found these to work really well, though.

See below for June Challenge to help you implement a simpler day.

9 Rules for a Simpler Day

These are the rules I suggest:

  1. Know What’s Important. The simple version of simplifying is “Identify what’s important, and eliminate the rest.” So take time to identify the most important things in your life (4-5 things), and then see what activities, tasks, projects, meeting and commitments fit in with that list. Also take time each day to identify 1-3 Most Important Tasks (MITs), at the beginning of your day. Or the night before, for the next day.
  2. Visualize Your Perfect Day. This is not so much because this “perfect day” will come true, as it is to understand what a simple day means to you. It’s different for each person — for me, it might mean some meditation and writing and spending time with my wife and kids. For others, it’s yoga and painting and a hot bath. For others, it’s time to focus on the important work, but still get other things done later in the day. Take a minute to visualize what it means to you.
  3. Say No to Extra Commitments. Now that you’ve identified what’s important, along with the “perfect day”, you need to start saying “No” to things that aren’t on your important list, and that are standing in the way of the perfect day. The biggest thing you can say No to is a commitment — membership on a committee, involvement in a project, coaching or participating in a team, going to an event, being a partner in a business, etc. List and evaluate your commitments (professional, civic and personal), and say No to at least one. It just takes a call or email.
  4. Limit Tasks. Each morning, list your 1-3 most important tasks. List other tasks you’d like to do. Say no to some of them. See if you can limit your list to 5-7 tasks per day (not counting little things, which you’ll batch). Limiting your tasks helps you focus, and acknowledges you’re not going to get everything done in one day.
  5. Carve Out Un-distraction Time. When are you going to do your most important work? Schedule it with a block of time (1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, whatever works for you). Make this your most sacred appointment. Become incommunicado. Close the Internet, all notifications, hold all calls. Just do the most important task, then the next one if you have time.
  6. Slow Down. We rush through our days, almost in a single frenetic anxiety-filled non-stop movement. Instead, slow down. Life won’t collapse if you aren’t rushing from task to task, email to email. You can pause, take a moment to reflect, smile, enjoy the current task before moving on.
  7. Mindfully Single-task. Stop multi-tasking. One task at a time, with full focus on that task. Practice mindfulness as you do the task — it’s a form of meditation. Watch your thoughts wander to what you need to do later, but then return to the task at hand. Your day will be much simpler, and much more enjoyable, when you practice being present with your current task.
  8. Batch Smaller Tasks, Then Let go. Email, paperwork, little things at the bottom of your task list (create a “small tasks” section at the bottom), minor phone calls, etc. … these shouldn’t get in the way of your important tasks. But they still need to be done sometime (unless you can let them go, which is best whenever possible). If you need to do them, batch them and do them in one go. It’s best to do these later in the day, when your energy is lower and you’ve done the important tasks for the day. Don’t let the small tasks get in the way of the big ones. When you’ve done a batch of small tasks (including processing email), let them go, and get out. You don’t want to do this all day, or even half a day.
  9. Create Space Between. We cram our tasks and meetings together, and leave no spaces between them. The space between things is just as important as the things themselves. Leave a little space between meetings, even tasks. Take a break to stretch, walk around, get a glass of water, perhaps do some simple breathing meditation for a minute or two. Enjoy the space.
By Leo Babauta

Cool Idea – Green Celebration

Eco-minded consumers aren’t going to throw away their ideals when it comes to planning a wedding, and we’ve already seen the Portovert magazine provide ideas for green brides and grooms. Now Netherlands-based gift store niko niko is offering Throw & Grow event confetti, which grows into wildflowers after it’s been used.

Available in ten different colors, the confetti is made of biodegradable material embedded with wildflower seeds. When the confetti is thrown, it can be left to naturally disintegrate and if it lands on fertile soil then it may eventually grow into plantlife. The Throw & Grow confetti is currently available from the niko niko store as a Gift Box for EUR 11.95 or a Party Box for EUR 19.95.

Throw & Grow confetti enables those organizing weddings and other celebrations to forget about having to clean up while also benefitting the environment. How else can big events be made more green?


via Springwise 

Business – Cool Idea – Crowdfunding platform aims to teach kids about how they can use crowdfunding to get their projects off the ground.

Bali’s Green School is an example of an educational institution putting an emphasis on nurturing the business skills of young people, but with numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs and startups now being offered through online avenues, Piggybackr is a new platform that aims to teach kids about how they can use crowdfunding to get their projects off the ground.

Given that many of the major funding sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo don’t allow campaigns run by minors, even young people who are aware of crowdfunding don’t have a chance to try it out for their own moneymaking ideas. Piggybackr is compliant with COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in the US, by ensuring that users under 14 years old have the approval of a parent or guardian before launching a campaign. Children can also only send out invites to members of their family, school or society, enabling them to use Piggybackr as a place to learn about and experiment with crowdfunding before they’re old enough to launch more serious enterprises. Before users begin their campaign on the site they are offered hints and tips to help make their projects more effective, such as suggested backer incentives and email templates. When a task is completed, the site awards effort points and badges, so even if the projects don’t reach their target, children can still feel a sense of accomplishment.

For children who have known mobile and web devices all of their lives, it makes sense to open up the most current and exciting business possibilities to those willing to explore and learn, so they’re well equipped for the future. Are there other online business models that kids could engage with?


via Springwise

Remembering Normandy: Let Us Never Forget

For years I honestly didn’t understand the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. The fact that the former honors the brave men and women who have died during military service, while the latter recognizes all veterans of the armed forces, living or dead, was a distinction that had always been quite lost on me, even though my own mother had served in the army.

Being old enough to remember crying like a babe in arms during Saving Private Ryan but too young to recall any family member who had actually fought in the last World War, the full gravity of the pivotal conflict had never really occurred to me beyond what had been conveyed by textbooks and films. Of course I understood the import of what had occurred during World War II but I hadn’t actually connected to it. That is, until I stood on the shores of Normandy at Caen and looked out over the beaches where Allied troops clashed with German military forces nearly 70 years ago in what would be the decisive battle of the war.

When I arrived in Normandy after an hour long train ride from Paris, visits to the D-Day beaches and war memorials had been on my list of “to dos” but, if I’m honest, they weren’t at the top of that list or even close to it. I first wanted to visit the horse track and shop the chic boutiques in Deauville, to explore Étretat and the cliffs that had so inspired Monet and to experience the enduring majesty of Mont St. Michel.

I wanted to drift around the scenic port of Honfleur, sample Calvados in Breuil-en-Auge, stroll Claude Monet’s mythical gardens in Giverny and dine at France’s oldest inn, La Couronne (which is perhaps most famous to us Americans nowadays as the place where the late Julia Child enjoyed her first meal in France). Thankfully I got to do all of those things, but none of them left as lasting or arresting an impression as my visit to the Caen War Memorial and the sight of Utah Beach, Omaha Beach and the American cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer.

A moving film about the D-Day landings, made up of archives and extracts from fictional films, served as my introduction to the Caen Memorial Museum and set the tone for my visit. By the end of the film I was already teary-eyed, because the film and the exhibits made the war so real. This version of events was not a sanitized, testosterone driven account of a historic battle. This was instead real life human drama played out with news reels from wartime, the voices of the actual players and the faces of men who left their families and gave their lives in service to their country because they believed it was the right thing to do.

I abhor war, but as my eyes swelled with tears outside that poignant memorial, my heart also swelled with pride. While I cried at the sight of the 9,387 perfectly aligned tombstones spread out over 173 acres of the American cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, I also felt a deep sense of gratitude for the sacrifice these soldiers made in a way that I had never felt it before. I finally connected.

I would dare anyone to stand on the cliffs above Omaha Beach and not appreciate the courage it took for the soldiers who landed in Normandy on that fateful day back in 1944 to leave their battleships, knowing that for many of them doing so would mean certain, if not immediate, death. Their ghosts haunt these cliffs as does the scourge of battle. That such a naturally beautiful and peaceful place should also be associated with such tragedy and inhumanity is almost incongruous. And yet the connection between the two seems anything but tenuous.

I left that memorial and those beaches with an odd combination of melancholy and hope in my heart. I was sad because of the knowledge that following a horrendous war that had been sparked by a dictator and filled with unspeakably horrible atrocities and loss of life, we are still, 70 year later, at war with dictators who inflict unspeakably horrible atrocities on innocent people.

I was also sad at my questioning of whether the aim of our current conflicts is as heroic, pure or even as clear cut, as was the goal of liberating Europe in World War II. I wondered if we are as brave a nation as we once were? Are we as selfless in this era of utter self-involvement? The obvious answer is probably yes and no, particularly when one weights the fact that my notions of last World War still bear the benefit of the romanticized re-tellings that I have absorbed with interest over the years.

However, despite my sadness I was also happy. Happy that the stain of war spawned a peace that has for the most part endured, but even happier that there is a Normandy and a heartwrenching memorial to remind us that war is an ugly, painful business that should always be the course of last resort rather than the first. Let us always remember, so that we can strive to do better. Let us never forget, lest we repeat.

Find out more about the Caen Memorial at Find out more about Normandy at

via Duane Wells