Senior Nation Tips: Do Less, But Do it Better

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A recent Washington Post Home Section had an interesting piece dealing with people, in general, having a common sense of feeling overwhelmed, all of the time. This certainly applies to those in the “older” group.

The Post reported that, “We’re driving ourselves crazy trying to do everything, instead of identifying ways to do fewer things and a few things better.”

They offered five suggestions on how one might simplify and prioritize his/her “to-day” lists as well as to think through what can be  eliminated or integrated. And, perhaps most important, when they can say no.

Turn off your cellphone at the same time each night: The endless emails and texts that arrive on our computers and phones, 24 hours a day, are a major reason we feel constantly overwhelmed. There’s never a break in the action. The Post Home Section recommends that you turn off your phone and computer each night at 9:00 PM and wait until the next day to deal with whatever may have come up.

Manage expectations about having a clean and tidy home: No matter how hard you work at keeping your house spotless and orderly, it’s a battle you’re never going to win. So think about which spaces are nonnegotiable – those areas that you absolutely need to have clean and tidy – and just let the other rooms go. It will vary from household to household. No-one’s house looks like a picture in a magazine anyway.

Don’t try to attend every social event: Many people feel guilty if they are unable to attend every social event to which they are invited. It’s okay if you are not at every event. No one will think less of you if you are not at every event.

Find at least two things you can delegate: It can be easier to do household work ourselves rather than explain it to someone else (and then worry that it’s not being done correctly). We just do it ourselves.

But it’s important that we delegate tasks when we can, even if the person doing them doesn’t do them the way we would. Asking for help, is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of leadership and efficiency.

Schedule time to do something for yourself: Make yourself a priority. This is not selfish. If you don’t schedule time to do things you need and want to do, it will make you less organized. Block off time on your calendar and commit to giving yourself at least an hour or two each week when you are doing something for yourself. If you don’t give yourself a break, no one else will.

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