Less is More

I recently made the move from New York City to Savannah, Georgia.

I type this as I sit on my mattress on the floor of what will soon be transformed into my master bedroom. I’ve got most of my boxes unpacked, but I’m still waiting on some furniture to arrive. It’s been nearly two weeks since I left Peak Performance and, consequently, the city, and as much as I miss the friends that I made, I couldn’t be happier.

Let me tell you, it’s been a whirlwind of a time. Between wrapping up my last few clients, staying on top of my business, orchestrating a cross-country move, and still looking after my very-needy puppy, I had a lot more than I wanted on my plate.

If this had been two years ago, I would have been a mess. I would have skimped on sleep, relied on stimulants to keep me going, and held numerous pity parties for myself, all culminating in one, possibly two, mental breakdowns.

But I did things differently this time.

Packing things up during my last few days in NYC - my home no longer a home
Packing things up during my last few days in NYC - my home no longer a home

Over the past year, I’ve been doing a lot of reading on mindfulness, productivity, and stress. Namely, I’ve learned that the most successful individuals are not the ones who spend more time working, but rather, channel their energies appropriately. The ones whose productivity remains sky high are the ones who take plenty of downtime for themselves and invest time in hobbies outside of their profession.

With these notes in mind, I approached my move ready to tackle my chores with a smile on my face and a skip in my step the whole way through.

Here’s what I did to stay afloat:

I got a full night of sleep every single night.

It didn’t matter what all I had going on or how busy the next day was going to be. By the time 9 o’clock rolled around, I was crawling into bed. I didn’t fuss about what work I still hadn’t finished or worry about a prior conversation with a coworker. I knew that if I didn’t get sufficient sleep (that’s nine hours for me), the whole next day would be shot; I’d be dragging my feet, my productivity would drop, and I’d be feeling pessimistic about everything.

I cut out the inessentials.

Because I had so much going on, I trimmed away the things that didn’t absolutely have to be in my life at the moment. That included: training, writing new articles, working on any of my business projects, or attending seminars. I avoided any unnecessary purchases (new outfits, impulse Amazon buys, etc). I even simplified my cooking and avoided any fancy meals, instead opting for foods that could easily be heated up or ordered in. I wanted to manage my stress wisely, and that meant keeping my responsibilities to a minimum while still staying on top of the important tasks. That left me more room in my schedule to pack up my apartment at a leisurely pace, take my dog out for long walks, and overall feel less flustered.

I outsourced as much as possible.

If there was anything that someone else could do for me, I delegated. With my business, I hired an assistant to help manage daily emails and work on some ongoing projects that I’d been putting off. With my move, I hired a moving company to haul all of my belongings down south. I even pawned my dog off to my then-boyfriend, now-fiancé temporarily in my final week of packing so I’d have less on my hands. I took care of only the things that I alone could do: nurturing my brand, looking after my clients, drafting up sales copies and newsletters.

I limited my time with technology.

I stopped Tweeting so much and I didn’t check my e-mail obsessively. By 7 o’clock every evening, I would turn off my laptop. I set my phone on Do Not Disturb mode so only a select few could reach me. I realized that there was nothing that would happen in the evening that couldn’t wait until the next morning. This consequently allowed me to mentally unwind instead of feeling wired well into the night, and I usually ended my days with a book in bed.

I still made time for myself.

Rather than neglect my physical health and well-being, I continued to make myself a priority. I didn’t fret about taking a week off from training because I was well aware that seven days wouldn’t hurt my progress. Instead, I allowed myself to de-stress by taking more brisk walks than usual, reading my leisure books, and staying connected to my friends. I went out for dinner with those I cared about, I read my devotional with my now-fiancé, and took Sundays completely off from any and all types of work.

Taking a day off to go to the beach. Stress level = zero :) 
Taking a day off to go to the beach. Stress level = zero :)

Now that I’ve made it to the other side (!), I look back and realize that the strategies that I adopted are ones that I should continue implementing (save for the training break and writing hiatus, of course). I no longer allow myself to harbor any FOMO with time away from social media; I’ve done away with the extra baggage in my life; I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

I don’t remember the last time I’ve felt so little stress.

Moving forward, I know that there’s still more trimming and simplifying to be done with my life. I could probably downsize my wardrobe by half, get outside more, and read even more books. On top of what I’ve already been doing, here are some other things that I will continue to do:

  • Don’t check my phone at the table
  • Make eye contact when speaking with others
  • Read one book a week
  • Have a date night every weekend
  • Get more involved in my community
  • Tackle one project at a time

I feel refreshed and hopeful that with each passing day, I’ll become more and more practiced at simplifying my life.

Less is more.