Streamlining Your Life

Posted by: Pulse Young Professionals on Tuesday, November 22, 2016

As I've said before and will surely say again, I wish there were more hours in the day. In middle school, I wrote a persuasive (yet somehow not yet victorious) essay that all weekends should be three days long instead of two (partially so that I could focus more on family and partially so that I could get more done). One of my favorite moments is when I was being introduced at a ceremony right before college graduation and they said, "after stealing the time turner from Hermione Granger, Jessica..." Until I can buy a time turner (to be delivered by an Amazon drone, obviously), I have come to terms with the fact that I’ll have to be disciplined about maintaining my priorities.

Sometimes you need to break away from everything to recognize the good and vital from the extra. An acknowledgedly ridiculous recent occurrence provided an in-your-face illustration: I had a Pyrex glass bowl that was a favorite for carrying my lunch to work, and one day, I realized reaching into the kitchen cabinet that it had become perfectly wedged inside of a casserole dish. We tried, soap, butter, and various strange methods and could not get the two to separate, rendering both useless. I finally realized that I had to give up one of the items in order to be able to use the bowl again, but didn’t want to go through the effort of breaking the bowl out of the casserole dish. I set it in a storage bin in my room and set that bin on a shelf, and recently came home to find that the bin had fallen to the ground, leaving the casserole dish shattered on the floor and the bowl again available for use. I hadn’t quite acknowledged the hard decision that I had to make, yet gravity had taken charge. Whether it's time, stuff, emails or otherwise, take some steps reestablish your dominance and reclaim your energy, your schedule and your space.

Here are a few of the best survival methods and tips that I have found. Please feel free to share your favorites!

  • Six years ago, amidst a bit of an overwhelmed-almost-to-the-point of pseudo-crisis phase, I briefly made decisions by considering the following:
  1. Do I have to do it? 
  2. Does it help someone and/or advance the greater good?
  3. Do I want to do it?

If an obligation didn’t meet any of these three categories, I didn’t do it. Life went on, the crisis dissipated and I used time more wisely.

  • Another favorite decision-making aid: “In five years, what will I wish that I had done?”

Reclaiming space and gaining freedom from extra stuff:

  • For every item you buy, get rid of one item.
  • Start each year with all of your hangers reversed. At the end of the year, think seriously about donating the items that you haven’t worn unless you can convince a trustworthy friend that you should keep it.
  • Donate duplicates unless you commonly use both items at the same time.
  • Filter promotional emails to go directly to your trash, where they will be for 30 days and you can easily find them if you're looking to shop/travel/etc. within the time that the promotions are relevant. Unrollup is also a great tool for reducing the number of promotional emails.

Saving time and energy:

  • When you're out shopping and notice an item that is well-priced, too awesome to miss, or fits both categories (jackpot!), buy it and get ahead of the curve on the holiday, birthday, baby shower or wedding gift shopping.
  • Do errands whenever they are convenient. Don’t put them off until they are really inconvenient, and by that, I mean, don’t get stuck paying the overnight shipping, driving to Woodruff on Christmas Eve, or frantically cleaning the living room two minutes before guests are supposed to show up.
  • Reclaim some of the time you waste on your phone and/or social media by downloading the Self Control app for your computer or a phone usage tracking app for your smartphone.

About the Author:


Jessica Pate is an Account Representative at Jackson Marketing Group and the 2016 Co-Chair of the Pulse Young Professionals Marketing Committee. She mentors through Mentor Upstate and has raced in the Spinx Run Fest every year since 2012. She participated in the 2015 Pulse Pacesetters mentoring program (shout out to Scott, Irv and group 3!) and is a Furman University Alumni Ambassador (proud 2013 Communication Studies and Sociology grad). She loves attending all the festivals in Greenville and traveling as much as she can on a twenty-something’s budget.

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2 comments on "Streamlining Your Life"

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Francisco Mendez on December 7, 2016 at 12:47:08 pm said:
I love the piece of would it help someone and/or the greater good, in making your decision to jump into a new project. Great article with a lot of great insight.
Kathy on November 29, 2016 at 8:57:36 am said:
Very good article. Got me thinking....
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