I often talk to folks about how they’re simplifying things. We all go through this from time to time: There’s just “too much stuff” in our lives and we weed out some things. Many of us have filled our lives with toys and activities and habits that steal our time. So we’re super busy with mostly useless activities!
Just like Spring cleaning, we eventually get to the point where we have to cut out some of the junk.
Unfortunately, we sometimes go overboard.
If you’re thinking of simplifying, don’t get carried away or you’ll suddenly find yourself with voids that need to be filled. In such cases, you’re just as likely to fill the void with new useless activities.
Plus, to be honest, if you’re an extremely active person, you might throw your system into shock if you cut back too much at once. That’s why I say “Simplify – in Moderation.” The great thing about simplifying is that you can go through a simplification program every few months for the rest of your life.
Here are a few points to remember. First, prioritize. Which items add the most stress? Put them near the top of your list of things to cut. After all, as long as you’re making cuts, cut the stuff that detracts from you overall life quality.
Second, keep the activities that bring fun and joy into your life. These activities take time, but they also give you energy! Sometimes we assume that all activities that take time actually cost time. But the truth is, some activities take time, but give you energy. So the result is higher energy and higher productivity.
Enjoyable activities that increase enjoyment tend to involve the personal side of life (or personal side of business). Emails with friends, clubs, and dinners out fall into this category. After all, life can’t be all work! We work so we can enjoy our lives. So when you’re cutting, don’t cut too much of the life part.
Third, reduce your activities one or two at a time. That way you can adjust your schedule. So cut a few things, make some adjustments, then cut a few more things.
The most important part of the process is to consider why you want to reduce activities. Are you reducing just to make someone else happy? As you might suspect, this will be the least effective reduction. Or are you reduing in order to cut stress, to have more time for something else, or just because you need a change? Your motivation will help you make choices.
As with everything else, spending a little morning quiet time considering how your choices fit in the big picture of your will help you to make choices that are good for you.