It's a chilly Nashville morning as I write this even as soft sunlight pours through my window. As I've mentioned in several of my recent posts, I've been doing a whole bit of de-cluttering in my life. This has mostly applied to various physical spaces like my closet, bedroom, car, and so forth; however, I've also been trying to do so in the way I carry out my day.
For most of my life, I've been the kind of person who has had a gargantuan to-do list. It would be an endless stream of tasks connected to multiple facets of my existence. After one item would be completed, another one would roll right on in. I've been thinking about this a lot over the past few weeks, and I've decided that, in spite of the productiveness, it is still not all that gratifying.
It feels no different than doing the same thing over and over again. The actual tasks might all be different from each other, but the intention is all the same--just to get something done. For me, this has become monotonous especially because, in my own life, there is no end to all of the things I could be doing.
So, I've decided that from now one, excluding (and occasionally including) time-sensitive tasks or ones that affect other people, I am only going to focus on getting two or three important things done each day. I've actually been doing this now over the last two weeks, and I really love it.
Who would have thought that doing less could feel so much better? I think I've come up with the reasons why . . .
First off, the tasks become more about quality over quantity. By limiting myself to such a smaller amount of specific things to do, I've wound up doing the things that really matter to me the most versus stuff that really wasn't that big of a deal to begin with.
Secondly, I'm much less plagued by guilt over not doing something. Back in the endless-to-do-list days, I would feel so guilty about not accomplishing the twenty things I set out to do. I'd question my own abilities, skills, and worry about not being more efficient. Well, this kind of guilt is utterly soul-crushing, self-defeating, and completely not necessary. Instead of celebrating all that was completed, I got bogged down by what I didn't do. How lame is that? I've now been more forgiving of myself and more positive about what I have accomplished, and I feel so much better for it. Guilt BEGONE!!!!!!
Thirdly, I've found myself doing the things I REALLY REALLY enjoy instead of just plodding through one mundane task after another. There is a massive ocean that separates what you WANT to do and what you HAVE to do. One is fueled by personal desire while the other is fueled a scary monster-monkey in saggy diapers who will throw a temper tantrum if you don't finish your work. Okay, maybe not, but my point is that it's so much more fun and enriching to invest your time and energy in something that you love and that replenishes your spirit.
Lastly, believe it or not, I've been more productive than I was before. By narrowing down to two or three of the MOST IMPORTANT tasks, I've essentially become more efficient. I've tossed aside the work that wasn't all that essential to begin with. Besides, I would often give higher priority to the less important tasks to put off something that I needed to do but didn't want to. Nowadays, I just go for the big ones. In a qualitative sense, I've won. Shouldn't we just always focus on the more important things anyway?
So, there you have it. For me anyway, doing less has meant doing more.
Whoulda thunk it?
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