Because sometimes it gets to be way too much.
Posted on January 30, 2018, 18:15 GMT
Lagom (pronounced lah-gom) is a Swedish word that means
“not too much and not too little, but just the right amount.”
It’s about moderation, efficiency, and fairness. In The
Little Book of Lagom: How to Balance Your Life the Swedish
Way, Jonny Jackson and Elias Larsen share tips, projects,
hacks, and quotes that will help you live your life with more
balance, intention, and simplicity. Below, some tips to bring
a little more peace into your work life.
© 2018 by Andrews McMeel Publishing. First published in 2017
by Summersdale Publishers, Ltd.
1. Try these 10-minute morning
It’s amazing how much tidying and decluttering can be done in
a few minutes before you begin your working day. These tips
are a great way to ease yourself into simplifying your life
and getting off to a good start:
● Go through your pile of mail (yes, we all have one) and
open everything. Chances are you will be able to discard
most of it. If it’s mail that has sensitive information —
bank details, for example — either shred it or invest in a
garden incinerator. File away things you want to keep in a
expanding file folder with labeled compartments, such as
house, medical, work, children, pets, etc.
● Book all your appointments in one round of phone
calls: dentist, optician, doctor, hairdresser, etc.
● Select three of your favorite songs and tidy your
workspace while the songs are playing — it’s so much
easier to work in an uncluttered and attractive environment,
and listening to great music will set you up for the day.
2. Be mindful of media consumption and
what you absorb.
Think about how watching the news before you go to bed might
affect you, for example. Limit your worries and allow
yourself to enjoy your last hour before bed by reading a good
book or having a conversation with your partner, or calling
up a friend and having a good gossip session.
Photo by João Silas on Unsplash
3. Get organized.
Being organized involves forward planning, and though it can
be hard to get motivated — even to do something simple such
as picking out your outfit for the next day when you’d rather
go to bed, for example — your future self will thank you for
● Pick a quiet time on the weekend to go through your work
commitments, family activities, etc., for the week ahead so
you know what’s coming up. Don’t get caught unprepared
when your child has been invited to a costume party and
they’re the only one in plain clothes!
● The night before a work day, get your clothes ready for
the next day. Make sure they’re ironed, select
accessories and shoes (give these a polish), and you’ll find
the morning routine a whole lot easier.
● If you have to share a bathroom with others, arrange a
time slot so there’s no hanging around as you wait to use
it. It might sound a little militant, but it will reduce
your stress levels.
● As soon as an appointment is made, or a meeting is
organized, add it to the schedule, be it an old-school
notebook or an online calendar system.
4. Don’t compare yourself to anyone
It’s common to compare yourself with others, such as
considering someone else to have a better job, a bigger
house, more money, etc., than you, which steers you away from
looking at all the positive things happening in your life.
Don’t believe that emulating others will make you happy;
try to be the best version of you and look at the areas in
your life that could be improved upon as well as recognizing
and appreciating what you’re good at.
Whenever you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else
who you consider to have “more” of something that you want,
or a “better” life, remember the lagom principle of
not being perfect but “just right” for you. Remind yourself
of your achievements and allow yourself to feel good.
Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash
5. Keep it simple when communicating
● Emails — Deal with these in batches rather than as
they come in. Some people get very impatient if they don’t
receive a reply within the hour, but don’t feel stressed.
Go at your own pace; work through one or two items on your
to-do list before attending to your emails. If you find
this hard to do — especially when you see a reminder popping
up at the side of your screen — then turn off your email
notifications until you are ready to address them.
● Meetings — Assess whether a meeting is required to
discuss a particular issue, or if it’s an excuse for a coffee
and a chat. A phone call might be enough.
● Making requests — Be concise and clear about your
requirements and always include a workable deadline. Follow
up with an email to clarify the details.
● Dealing with difficult people — Try to nip issues in
the bud before they escalate. If you experience unpleasant
behavior in the workplace, do your best to avoid a
confrontation, document the incident, and inform your
6. Simplify your work week.
Does your day start off with good intentions and a list of
items to be fulfilled, only for you to get to the end of the
day and find barely anything has been done, because other
things have gotten in the way?
Ask yourself these questions:
● Am I taking on too much?
● Am I making the best use of my time?
● Am I happy with the way I’m spending my time?
We are all guilty of taking on too much — often because we
are encouraged to challenge ourselves, and have a fear of
saying “no” to things and missing out on something important.
The reality is, if you spread your time too thinly, you won’t
be able to do your best job on the things that are most
important to you. It’s also likely that you will become
stressed and neglect your personal needs.
Take a look at your schedule and highlight the areas that
would benefit from more time being spent on them, and
look into how you could delegate other tasks or find a more
efficient way to get them done.
Photo by Roman Bozhko on Unsplash
7. Keep challenging yourself.
It may take years of patience and determination to master a
skill, such as drawing well or learning a foreign language,
but studies show that you have a greater chance of being
happier day-to-day in the long term if you actively pursue a
pastime or course of study. That feeling of losing
yourself in study or a creative pursuit is referred to as
“flow,” and this state, according to some psychologists, is
where true contentment lies.
8. Balance thinking vs. doing.
It’s a constant internal argument for many — thinking about
doing something over actually doing it. It’s important to
strive for the things we want and go for our goals, but
there’s one thing that can stop us: procrastination. Here are
the common excuses we tell ourselves:
● “I don’t have time to do it.”
● “I might fail.”
● “If I leave it, someone else can sort it out.”
● “What if I succeed and I find I can’t cope?”
Switching from intention to action is a huge step. Now it’s
time to get motivated.
It can be easier to encourage others in their plans than
to motivate ourselves, so getting a support team in place can
be a good way of working toward your goals. Maybe you
have friends who have plans of their own? You needn’t be
going for the same goal: One person may be eager to start a
new health regime, while someone else may want to change
their job or study for a new degree.
What matters is that you find a time to meet regularly and
update one another on your progress. Even if it’s a quick
15-minute chat after work or a coffee on a Saturday morning,
you’ll come away feeling boosted by their enthusiasm and
advice, and they’ll feel the same way, too.
9. Press pause.
Life is short and it’s important that you factor in time to
do the things you enjoy. Schedule some downtime on your
calendar each week. If you have wall-to-wall commitments,
think about whether you really have to do everything on your
Will anyone notice if you take bought items along to a party
rather than cooking something yourself? Can you arrange to
swap babysitting or other duties with a friend if you agree
to return the favor another time? If you have kids, set up a
regular appointment with a babysitter, if possible, or
introduce an hour of “quiet time” at the end of each school
day so that you can all unwind.
Once you’ve found yourself a regular slot, don’t forget to
plan what you want to do in that time, otherwise you’ll end
up drifting around, catching up on the housework or
10. Be grateful for what you
Start a daily gratitude journal. List all the positive
things in your life — from the small things that make you
smile, such as the view from your window, to the bigger
things, such as your health or your family. At night, list
three things you were grateful for during the day and you’ll
soon start focusing naturally on the positives.
For more information on
The Little Book of Lagom: How to Balance Your Life the
Swedish Way, click here.
Andrews McMeel Publishing
All text reprinted with permission from The Little
Book of Lagom: How to Balance Your Life the Swedish Way ©
2018 by Andrews McMeel Publishing. First published in 2017 by
Summersdale Publishers, Ltd.
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