A lot of you have probably heard me reference The Power of Less by Leo Babauta in the recent months. The book is a quick read and has one brilliant idea after another making it easy to enjoy and hard to put down. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to make more of their time, accomplish goals, and enjoy life a little more. The Ginops gifted me the book back in January and after reading through it once, I have made another trip through the book highlighting the “Ah-Hah!” concepts to practice more of in my daily life. Those concepts are what I’m here to talk about in a series of posts breaking each one down into the important details.
With our daily lives seeming out of our control and increasingly busy, I hope that the key points I’m sharing from my notes will help.
Identify the things in your life that are most essential. These are the things that you love, bring you the most joy, and have the highest impact. Identify what areas of your life are overwhelming, things you’d like simplified, and what you’d like to limit. These can be possessions, incoming information, and responsibilities at work, home, or elsewhere in life. Set limitations on the time you spend on the non-essentials and the stuff that goes with them. Examples of these could be emails, daily tasks and responsibilities, phone, internet, social media, clutter, and much more. The goal in setting limitations on these items is to make more time for those things that you love, bring you the most joy, and have the highest impact…the essentials.
Before setting limitations on the non-essentials you first need to assess the amount of time you spend on the non-essentials. How many times a day do you check email? How often do you open social media accounts? Is your home or work-space cluttered making it hard to focus or stressful? How often do you feel the need to look at your phone, whether there’s an alert or not? Here are some places to start:
Email: Limit the number of times you check your email each day. Ideally, you would check your email twice daily. Once in the mid-morning and again in the afternoon. If that’s not possible for you, maybe limit the number of times checking email to four times a day. Find a number that’s reasonable and will allow you to meet responsibilities. Then reassess in a few months and decide if you could check it less.
Social Media and Phones: Just like email, set aside time blocks during your day to check in with social media, make your posts, kill time scrolling through silly memes and others’ posts, and whatever else it is you do with social media. Set a timer for 5 minutes a few times a day to make sure you don’t end up down the endless spiral of a hole that social media can lead you down. Bookmark interesting posts to view later when your important tasks are complete. Be aware of urges to look at your phone for no reason or that instinctive habit to open social media and scroll. You might realize that you’re more glued to your phone than you thought. When you find yourself doing that just redirect your attention to what you were doing and move on with the task at hand.
Cluttered Spaces: Clutter and disorganization have been shown to cause increased stress and anxiety. Put a time and date on your calendar to go into work early or stay after late to organize your work space to where everything has been filed and it’s neat and orderly. If your home is cluttered and needs a cleaning and reduction of stuff, set aside half of a day on the weekend to clean up. Maybe start with one room and clean it start to finish. Then pick another room to go through on another weekend.
As you identify those non-essential items in your life you can continue to limit the time and energy spent on them in an effort to increase the things that bring you the most joy!