Just Clean Up One Area

Mar 25, 2013 by

Like many others you may have resolved to be a little more organized this year.  Part of many new years resolutions is the notion to clean up the mess and be more organized.  The problem with this resolution is that its too vague.  Be honest, if you’ve made that resolution this past January first, have you done anything about it yet?  Are you organized?  Are you on your way to being more organized?

Big lofty goals like this one are nice, but they are too big and lofty and can easily be forgotten as you don’t do any meaningful action to work towards them.  If you’ve read any of this site, you know we are all about the meaningful action so today we take some.

Your Truly Simple Action for this week is to clean up just one area in your house.

Pick an area.  Any area.

Clean out that junk drawer.  Organize your closet.  Get rid of some junk you don’t need and make some money doing it.

Just pick one area that is cluttered and aim to tackle that area this week.  Start small.  Don’t aim to clean out the whole house because you will never do it.  Just pick one small area and get it done.  This will not only feel awesome, but set the path toward your goal of being organized.

It’s a good idea to pick an area that you see often.  This is good for two reasons.  First you no longer have to look at that cluttered area once you’ve cleaned it up.  All those nagging reminders of, “oh yeah, I need to clean that up”, will be replaced with awesome feelings of accomplishment.   Second, those positive feelings of seeing that cleaned area combined with the great feeling of accomplishment for getting it done with lead toward more opportunities to clean and get organized.

So that is it.  So simple.  Just clean one area.  Its not hard.  You have time.

Write down on a sticky note right now the area that is popping into your head to clean.  Put that note somewhere you’ll see it.  Schedule a day in your calendar to clean that area.  Do it tonight.  Just get it done and let those positive ripple effects start to happen.

Ben…

Truly Simple Actions The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing. Previous TSA’s:

 

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5 Ways to Simplify Your Email

Mar 18, 2013 by

We all get bombarded with too many messages every day. From commercials and billboards, to text messages and emails, we have information coming at us all day long. Heck I have 7 or more email addresses, but I have setup a simple system to where I only see a few emails per day of the hundreds I receive.

When it comes to your inbox you are in control of what messages you receive and how and when you see them, so its time to take control and simplify your digital life and clean up your email box.

Your Truly Simple Action of the week is to take control of your inbox.  Here are 5 simple ways to do just that.

Unsubscribe Ruthlessly

First you need to unsubscribe to every email that is not providing you value. If you aren’t getting valuable information from the emails coming into your inbox, stop getting them. Every email you get from a company has an unsubscribe link in it somewhere. They are usually at the bottom, but can sometimes be a little tricky to find. Go through your inbox this week and as you get emails in that you no longer wish to receive, simply unsubscribe from them. Do this each day this week. By the end of the week you should have at least 90% of the unwanted emails stopped. This is a quick and easy process that only takes a few seconds per email and you only have to do it once.

Filter, Filter, Filter

Next, when you are getting emails you really want to get, it’s time to filter them appropriately. I’m using Gmail as my email, but most email clients offer this same functionality. If yours does not, switch to gmail.

Filter all your emails that come from businesses into a few categories. Here are some of the filters I have set up:

  • Stuff to buy – everything that is an ad from a store
  • Stuff to do – events, races, concerts, things happening around me
  • Travel – all my airline, travel emails
  • Restaurants – everything from a restaurant
  • Social – any email from a social network (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc)

You can set up whatever filters make sense for you, but start with a few categories and you can always add more as they make sense.

Now with those filters set up, it’s time to use them. Filter all those types of messages so they get filtered and skip the inbox. Yes I still get those messages, but I don’t see them until I want to see them. This is the key to managing your email. You can still get all the sales emails you want, but you don’t need to see them until you are ready to shop. This is the best of both worlds. When I am ready to buy something I search through my email for some deals or discounts, but otherwise I am not having to look at ads and sales that do not interest me. This also works great for when we want to go out to eat, I can check my restaurant filter and see if any of my favorite restaurants are having any coupons or deals.

Here is how you filter your emails in Gmail

filteremail

Open the email you want to filter.  Click on the More button and then select “Filter messages like these”

createfilter

 

This will start to create the filter for you.  It will automatically filter by the email address and thats what we want.  You can filter by almost anything as you can see there, but we are fine with the email address so click “Create filter with this search”

createfilter2

Next check the box to skip the inbox.  We don’t need to see these messages in our inbox, thats why we are filtering them.  Then check the box to apply your label.  Select the appropriate label or create one.  I filter all my airlines emails into my Travel filter.  Then check the box to apply that filter to all those messages that match that filter.  Then finally click the Create filter button.

That’s it!  This whole process takes only a few seconds once you get the hang of it and you only have to do it once per email sender and then all of those emails will now get filtered for you.

Archive everything

Ok, once you filter out all the business email your inbox should be only getting messages from family and friends. This is a simple and awesome inbox. It should be filled with personal communications of people you actually want to talk to.  This is a good place to be, but we can get better.  Its time to clean out the inbox again.  Don’t worry we aren’t going to delete all your email, we are just going to archive it.  Archiving, lets us get all that email out of the inbox, but saves it for searching later.  You can always go back and find any email you wish, but we don’t need to keep it in our inbox.

This one is easy, simply check the box to select all the mail (1) and then click the text link to select everything (2), and then click the archive button (3).

email archive

This is a clean inbox. Take a moment and revel in its beauty.  Now don’t freak out, all your email is still there and you can search for it anytime you need it, but now you have a clean starting point to which you can be organized.

I archive all of my email every friday.  So at the end of each week, I take everything, and get it out of the way.  A clean slate is a nice way to end the week.

Don’t Push

Now that you’ve got your inbox under control its time to control your smart phone.  Turn off all push functions and notifications for email.  It is YOUR email and YOU are in control of when you want to check it.  Don’t let that little phone push you around and teach you to respond to every beep and buzz in your pocket like a trained monkey.  Turn off push email so your email only comes in when you want it it to.  Second, turn off all notifications so again, you get to check email when you want to.  You are in control!

push

Not in the morning

And one last tip on email.  Do not check it first thing in the morning.  This is hard as you might use your phone as an alarm clock right next to the bed as I do.  I also still struggle with this one, but its important.  DO NOT check your email first thing in the morning.  Just as you are taking control of your inbox, you take control over when you check it.  Checking it first thing in the morning is a really bad idea as it tends to hijack your day and you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet.  When you check your email first thing in the morning you are giving permission to everyone who has emailed you to give you marching orders for the day verses doing what you wanted to do.  You will want to respond to any fire drill you find in your inbox and that is not a good way to start the day.  Don’t check your email.  It will be there later.  Do what you want to do first.  Get done the things on your to do list first.  Those fire drills will be there later and you can take care of them later if they haven’t already sorted themselves out.  Don’t let others dictate your day.

Remember, you are in control.  This is your inbox.  This is your life.

I hope you take some time this week to accomplish this Truly Simple Action and see how these simple rules for email can make your life better.

Ben…

Truly Simple Actions The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing. Previous TSA’s:

 

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3 Simple Ways to Stay Motivated

Mar 11, 2013 by

If you’ve been reading this blog, received my emails or followed me on Facebook lately you’ve probably noticed some changes.   I’ve been posting a lot less recipes and such and a lot more simple tips and ways to make your life better.   I’m still cooking and such, but have been motivated to really help people improve their lives and the lives of all those around them.  That is the whole point of these Truly Simple Action posts.  It’s one simple action each week to improve your life.  I believe we all could make our lives a little better and that is what I am trying to do.

The thing about motivation though is that it doesn’t always last. It can come and go.  It can show up when you are not expecting it and it can be lacking when you need it.   So lately I’ve been really digging into finding motivation each day and trying to pass that along to others. If this is something you’d like to see, please visit my Facebook page.

Motivation is an awesome force to help propel you forward toward your goals, but we don’t always have the wind at our sails to keep us moving.  So this week’s Truly Simple Action is actually 3 simple ways to get and keep yourself motivated.

1. Move forward

Motivation requires action on our part.  We can’t sit back and wait to be motivated.  We can’t sit around and wait for the mood or the energy to hit so we can get going.

choices

You need to get moving.  Action spurs more action. If you are sitting on the couch thinking you should work out, you probably won’t. But if you just get up and get moving you may actually get something accomplished.  Just get up. Just get moving.  Do something toward your goal.  Move one inch closer to where you want to be and you will find new motivation to keep that momentum going.  This is a big part of these TSA posts.  Changing the world can seem like a daunting task, but if you set out to change just one simple thing each week to improve your life you will soon start to see real positive changes coming from those small simple steps.  Get started and the motivation will find you.

2. Surround yourself with people that motivate and inspire you

This is a big one for me.  You need to surround yourself with good people.  You need to find those that inspire you and encourage you to be awesome and be around those people.

anything

They may be friends, colleagues or others you’ve found online or in a good book.  Find those inspirational people and spend time with them.  I am currently at SXSW in Austin TX and one of my favoriate reasons to come to this conference each year is to be around so many friends and strangers who are all passionate about what they are doing and inspire me.  Find events and places where people who inspire you gather and go there.  Call up your friends who are positive influences in your life and make plans to hang out with them.  Surround yourself with motivated people and you will feel motivated.

3. Seek out motivation

The thing about motivation is that it doesn’t last.

bathing

You need to seek out motivation.  It will not find you unless you are looking for it.  This should be a daily search.  Find those inspirational people, stories, images in your life and incorporate them daily.   Read some inspirational blogs.  Listen to a motivational podcast.  Play your best workout song as loud as you can when you get up in the morning.  Inject motivation into your day every day and let that energy move you forward toward your goals and dreams.

Today is Monday.  Let today be the day you take simple actions toward making your life better.  Go out and conquer it.

punch

If you’d like to stay motivated with me, please subscribe to my email newsletter to get new simple ways to improve your life each week and like my Facebook page to see some fun motivational inspirations throughout the week.

Ben…

Truly Simple Actions The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing. Previous TSA’s:

 

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Epic Fail

Mar 4, 2013 by

This one is a little tough for me.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I really struggle with failing or falling short on the things I work on.  I am now beginning to understand the power of failure and its importance in my life.

We need to fail more.  Failure is not a bad thing.  Failure means we are trying new things.  Failure means we are experimenting with new ideas and things outside of our comfort zone.  Failure means, we haven’t gotten it all figured out just yet, but we are finding all the ways that it won’t work.  Failure is a good thing.

fail

It is OK to fail.  Unless we are talking about math class, failure means one step forward in our progress of reaching our goal.  If you are not failing, you are not trying.  I find that the fear of failure holds me back quite a bit in my own life.  I tend to like to have everything figured out before I proceed, and this keeps me from getting out there and trying new things in order to figure it out.  Sometime this just slows my process down, sometimes it stops me in my tracks.  I am working on this.  I am working on getting comfortable with the idea of failure and understanding what it it really is.  Failure is only a stepping stone and a sign that you are getting outside of your comfort zone to reach your goals and dreams.

comfortzone

Try new things.  Fail at them.  Learn from those failures.  Try again.  Repeat these steps as needed and keep moving forward.

What big idea are you afraid to start right now?  What is your dream that you just haven’t taken the first step toward yet?  What failure can you learn from to make the next step forward on today?  Take that step.  Make the first move.  Try something new.  Maybe you’ll fail at it.  Maybe you’ll fail at it again.  Failure is a singular event and has no reflection on who you are as a person, but does show that you are trying. Keep trying.  Keep failing.  Keep trying again.

Your Truly Simple Action of the week is to fail, and you only fail when you are trying something new.

If you need a little more inspiration, watch this.

Ben…

Truly Simple Actions The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing. Previous TSA’s:

 

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