When was the last time you were bored? Can we even define the term? In between meetings, emails, voice mails, huddles, agendas, conference calls, reports, KPIs, strategic plans, quarterly updates, presentations, and deadlines… have we lost something?
Day in and day out, we work. This is work for which you are compensated, but also includes exercising to stay healthy, volunteering to make the world a better place, commuting to a neighborhood that’s comfortable, keeping up with household chores so you can relax someday… the list goes on and on.
Are we happy? Making a difference? Improving daily life? Bettering a relationship with our spouse, children, or siblings? Or are we so busy, we do not even notice? How do we feel in these moments?
Perhaps now… right now… is the time to be less busy doing. Let’s expend concentrated energy on how we feel during experiences, focus on understanding what provides us joy, improves meaning, restores energy, or positively feeds our soul?
Becoming less busy is about defining success on your own terms and designing a lifestyle that you believe in deeply – no matter how fast or slow it may be.
At the end of the day, chores and responsibilities need to be done and bills need to be paid, but if our focus is solely there, we will miss what truly matters.
Vanessa Van Edwards, a behavioral scientist at The Science of People, wrote an article How to Be Less Busy, highlighting busy is now our new normal… the default setting.
Dr. Edwards’ tips on how to become less busy:
The Mindset of an Essentialist. Essential-ism is a mindset… a [new] way of life. The primary difference between a non-essentialist and an essentialist is their inner voice of conviction: an non-essentialist thinks “I have to,” reacts… say[ing] ‘yes’ without really thinking, takes on too much, feels out of control… exhausted, and overwhelmed. An essentialist thinks, “I choose to,” [thoughtfully evaluates]… says ‘no’ to everything except the essential, and feels in control. The essentialist does great work and experiences joy in the journey.
Living Regret Free. Narrowing your list of things to do or achieve by the end of your life will support a goal to be more essentialist-like, and help prioritize what matters to you, not others.
You Have a Choice. In every decision you make you have a choice.Think about three activities you say yes to without thinking about it. If you took a minute to think about your decision, would the answer still be yes?
The ‘Hell Yeah’ [Principle]. Essentialism can be summarized in this headline: No more ‘yes.’ It is either ‘HELL YEAH’! Or ‘No.’ The Hell Yeah principle is difficult to implement, but a profound guiding principle and worth every ounce of effort. Why? It means living with extreme purpose and gusto. NO more maybe, no more meh, no more half-assed tries. You either do it and love it, or don’t do it at all. Can you live by the Hell Yeah Filter?
Right Now: Three things we can do to embrace an Essentialist philosophy:
1. Write down a goal for this month. This is our clarity of purpose. What is the one thing you want to do really well in the next month?
2. Now, [evaluate] your to-do list and cut it in half [OK… maybe remove one from the list… it’s a start?]. Remove… the things that are “nice to do” not “need to do” for you to achieve your goal.
3. Look at the calendar for the next month and remove 5 events, calls, or meetings that are non-essential toward the goal. [Enter this elimination task on your calendar] on the first day of every month.
Essential-ism! Cheers to life with a greater spirit of purpose!