5 ‘Simple’ ways to get past clutter – in 5 minutes or less

By Felicia D. Pinkney

Raise your hand if you, too, have a laundry list of things to do each day but no real method to the madness.

Author John Tolsma’s advice is to divide everyday tasks into five buckets: Thank. Do. Reach out. Believe. Love.

In 5 Simple Things, his debut book, Tolsma uses a technique that focuses less on brain-cluttering stuff (a 60-item to-do list) and more on what he says matters most (faith, family, friendships, future).

“Every morning when I wake up, I focus on the five simple things that guarantee I find meaning and accomplishment by the end of the day,” Tolsma says.

He says it should take no more than five minutes to do the following daily:

5. THANK – Write down five things for which you are grateful.

4. DO – Then, add four things to accomplish in the day.

3. REACH OUT – Jot down three people to reach out to in order to build relationships.

2. BELIEVE – Consider two things to do to strengthen your faith or family.

1. LOVE – Lastly, commit to one random act of kindness some time in the day.

Author John Tolsma
John Tolsma

More than half of 5 Simple Things is a journal, where readers can document their own experiences for 30 days.

The author shares his journey in about 16 pages – not enough to really get to know him, but enough to show readers how to go about the process. For example, in the chapter called “Thank,” Tolsma was grateful for a much-needed rain. And for his random acts of kindness, he says he gave $5 Subway gift cards – enough to buy a sandwich and a drink – to folks on the streets of Knoxville, Tenn.

But do the 5 Simple Things work?

I began the 30-day challenge about a week ago; so far, so good. I’ve never been big on written to-do lists; I’d make mental notes instead. But I usually felt scatterbrained and a little upset if I didn’t achieve my daily goals.

However, breaking up my major tasks into four per day has been a lot more manageable since I began the challenge. And even if I didn’t do every business-related thing on my list, I felt so much better knowing that I had accomplished other goals, such as more snuggle time with my hubby & kids.

5 Simple Things: Get Past the Clutter and Complexity, by John Tolsma
$12.95 softcover

DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of 5 Simple Things for review purposes.