If I had an evil twin, her name would be Lucy. That’s right, Last Minute Lucy, and while she claimed to be highly motived, extremely efficient, and a team player, in truth she was my nemesis.

I’ll admit, Lucy and I both love a deadline.  I love the motivation and energy of getting things done.  I think Lucy was just an adrenaline junkie. Stress worked for her as well as anything.

Lucy thought nothing of making people wait. Lucy had a habit of doing too many chores on her way out the door. Lucy claimed to be efficient, so she carried things in her hands, on her arms, and over her shoulders, but come hell or high water that girl was only going to make one trip.

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Lucy always had a reason for being late. Always. You can probably guess it was never her fault either. Sigh. Lucy was sucking the life out of me.

Every now and again I would catch a glimpse of Lucy in the mirror. She was harried, not happy and definitely not helpful. Truth was, I needed to give Lucy the boot.

Enter a small little book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. The agreements are simple, yet profound. And if you let them, they will change your life.

Agreement #1 is Be impeccable with your word.

Lucy helped me see that being impeccable with my word meant being on time. “I will meet you at 4:00pm.” If I wasn’t there at 4pm, then someone was waiting for me. Lucy might be OK with that, but I wasn’t.

Being on-time felt like aiming for a bull’s eye, but being early was as easy as hitting the side of a barn.  Early could be five minutes or fifty minutes. But if I was going to do this consistently, then there were a few changes I needed to make.

Change #1. I had to stop letting Lucy talk me into doing too many things on my way out the door. Sure, I like to come home to my house neat and tidy, but it was making me late. And being late meant I wasn’t impeccable with my word.

Change #2. Instead of getting a little buzz from the rush of a deadline and how much could I get done before the appointed hour, notice instead the ease that came with a cushion of time. My own personal bumper zone. Oh, how nice. And how much nicer I could be when I wasn’t stressed if traffic was heavy or it took longer than anticipated to find my destination.

Change #3. Realize it’s not efficient to carrying too many things at one time. It takes the focus and fun out of life. It’s hard to notice the color of the trees or feelings of gratitude for a warm home when you are juggling too many things at one time.

Change #4. Reframe early. Early is the new efficient. Arriving to a destination ahead of time not only reduces stress but adds a little space to your life. Many things are possible when you have time on your side.

I won’t lie. Lucy still pays a visit from time to time, but she is not a resident at our house. She’s not even a guest. She’s a reminder that living life simplified is a practice. And it’s not done in a day, rather day by day.

Today and every day, it’s a great life, simplified.

Bettina Blanchard

It’s not what we have, it’s what we do that makes life fun. Professional organizer, business owner, radio show host, accordion player, I love to live and write about finding the balance between having...