There comes a point in life when you ask yourself, ‘When did everything get so complicated?’. It seems to sneak up on you from nowhere. One minute it’s all parties, holidays and dreams for the future. Then, all of a sudden, it changes. You feel lost, out of control, and nothing is straightforward. You have too many responsibilities and too many plates spinning in the air.
Then you decide you want to start your own business and it gets even more complicated, with even more plates to keep spinning. So, before you embark on any new ventures, you need to get back control and make life feel more manageable and less complicated. But how?
First, you’ve got to take stock and stop the downward spiral. It’s time to simplify. Focus on what is truly important to you and leave the rest behind. As each year passes, another responsibility seems to be added to your plate and the weight of responsibility gets heavier and heavier. But you bring it on yourself. That’s right, you bring it on yourself. I know that sounds harsh, but sugar-coating reality doesn’t help.
The most important thing is to start taking action. Write down three areas of your life that are stressing you out the most and be specific. Now think about one thing you can do in each area and add it to your list. What do you need to do to take action on it? Write that down, too. Now do it.
Second, you need to filter out what’s important from what’s just creating noise in your head. Do you allow your head to be filled with meaningless chatter? It complicates your thinking and you start to get confused between what you think is important and what is actually important. To combat this, you need to learn to recognise that not all things are created equal. You do not have to do everything or be everything to everyone. You need to focus on what matters to you.
Finally, learn how to say ‘no’. Saying ‘yes’ to every single request that gets put in front of you is a sure-fire way to make your life as complicated as possible. It also makes you perpetually ‘busy’ – never get this confused with being productive.
Now is the time to understand what is really important to you and focus on it. It’s time to find the strength to say ‘no’ and then you can say ‘yes’ to creating the life you want and building a business based on your values. No more plate spinning. Just you – back in control.
If you just keep thinking about things, but don’t actually do anything about them, nothing will change. It will only feel more and more complicated. Better to start with something really small than do nothing at all.
Sháá Wasmund is author of ‘Stop Talking, Start Doing’ (John Wiley & Sons, £9.99) and ‘Do Less, Get More’ (Penguin, £12.99). For more inspiration, join Sháá’s private Facebook group, The Freedom Collective, at shaa.com/freedomcollective
Photograph: Louise Haywood-Schiefer for Psychologies