“You can do anything, but you can’t do everything,” says productivity expert David Allen. The constraint he’s talking about is (yes, you guessed it) time. Often “times” (pun intended) we start working with the notion that anything is possible that anyone can become anything and that there are no limits. But the truth is: time is limited. So if you’re someone who wants to expand her skillset, nurture relationships, or get the most out of life, then you’re going to need to find the extra time in your probably already hectic life.
Enter the productivity method I like to call “the Capsule Life.”
Inspired by the concept of “Capsule Wardrobe,” which is the idea that having a few essential items in your wardrobe that are interchangeable and don’t go out of fashion makes it easier to get dressed in the morning. Capsule Life is the use of simplified routines that need minimum effort in place of the basic, tedious, and time-consuming tasks, so that we can focus more on what’s important to us.
Here are a few first tips:
Create a Simple Food Habit
This might not be the best tip for foodies who like getting elaborate with their meals, but for me, someone who doesn’t make culinary creativity a high priority, it’s a time-saving short-cut. I recommend finding 7 different staple lunches and dinners that are healthy and easy to make. You can even make and freeze them all in one day and then reheat them throughout the week. It cuts down on food shopping time, since you’ll have a standard list of what to keep in the fridge and pick up at the grocery store. I’ve been eating the same breakfast for the past few years; bagel and a smoothie, together with a cup of coffee and a glass of water. It gets me energized in the morning, while not wasting any time in figuring out what to eat. If you’ve got more of a budget you should consider using a food service, like Blue Apron, where you get ingredients delivered for healthy meals that are quick and easy to cook.
Find a Uniform
… Or more specifically find a style that you like wearing, be it your hair, your clothing or both. Art Director, Matilda Kahl went viral last year for wearing the same clothing to work every single day. Obama always wears a suit, either gray or blue (and no other options) as he told to Jerry Seinfeld a while back. I’ve worn our Elsa dress design for 3 years and counting to meetings and events and I’ve had the same hairdo since I was 4 years old. Again, this is all to release time for the things that I really want to do. If you have troubles finding a style for you, consider just going very classic with cuts and colors that fit everyone, or consider doing a one time color test to figure out which colors fit you well and hire a stylist, like our friend Venus Ferrer to sort your wardrobe out, for a fresh start.
Just like your closet could benefit from a cleanse, so could potentially your social life. Why not start prioritizing the relationships that matter by saying no to those that don’t? If family is important to you or you believe it will become important, prioritize them. If certain friends are important to you, prioritize them. Start minimizing time spent on activities or friends that you really don’t enjoy. Prioritizing means knowing what relationships you value and scheduling your life after them. Saying no to what’s less important is also an opportunity to become more present to what is.
Set Aside Time Slots for Emailing
If possible you could go as far as to delete your work email from your phone (something I recommend). But I know that might not work for everyone, so instead I suggest to start setting aside time slots during the day for answering emails and when you’re done answering, close out and focus on your next task. Answering emails can give the illusion of that you’re getting things done, while distracting you from tasks that are more important. By blocking out times for when not to open your email inbox, you’re freeing up your brain capacity for the bigger things.