Actors, writers and filmmakers have been saying for years that less is more. Sometimes it doesn’t make any sense – less cake is just less cake, if you ask me – but every now and again it strikes a chord.
How to we go about creating what we want in life when we’re constantly barraged by messages, projects, ideas and things that we really, really want to do/see and people we want to meet/read/talk to?
The trick isn’t in stretching your day to the sleepless limit of its 24 hours. It’s learning to do less to get more.
The Power of More
We all want more. It doesn’t matter who you are or how minimalist your life, everyone wants more something, be it more money, more freedom, more peace & quiet or more time to spend with family and friends.
More is something that we’ve become attuned to through the constant stream of advertising and articles online that suck us in to wanting the latest gadget, that new pair of shoes or the sexy new model of whatever car we drive. We’re almost being asked and persuaded to want more.
I’m not afraid to say I want more. I want more time to work on the projects that make me passionate; I want more time to spend with my wife, chilling out and relaxing; I want more time to sleep, rest and relax so my working week feels less of a 5-day marathon leading up to a 2-day crash of the weekend.
I want all of these things for my life and more, but I can’t have it all.
I thought that the way to have all of these things is just to work harder (except for the sleep thing).
If I get up super-early in the morning I can write and develop my film projects before work. If I leave the house an hour early I have time to go to the gym. By getting it all done in the morning, I’m free to hang out with K when I get back in the evening.
I was wrong.
Do Less to Get More
If I want to achieve any of what I truly want to achieve – success at work coupled with being able to continue producing videos and spending time with my wife on top of everything else, what I really need to do is cut myself off from some of the things to focus on those about which I’m truly passionate.
I’ve always had multiple projects on the go, always been spinning several plates and juggling knives all at the same time. And while it may appear very impressive, what it ends with is smashed plates and cut fingers.
What I’ve realised is that it’s all down to choosing what really matters to me and working out just how much I’m capable of doing. Can I really make films on the weekend when I’m working all week? Can I really keep writing when I want to get to the gym? How much time with K do I have to compromise to get the things I want to get done, done?
I don’t know the answers any more than anyone else, but what I do know is that by doing less – by focusing my concentration on just one or two things – I can make that focus more direct, more pointed, more specific and I can put all of the energies I have into each second of the day to make sure I’m moving forward.
By limiting what I’m doing with my waking hours, I can make those hours a hundred times more productive, a hundred times more likely to see these projects to fruition and a hundred times less likely to run out of steam halfway through.
Deciding what matters most is the hard part; cutting it out is simple.
Take a look at everything in your life right now and pause for a moment and think how much richer or poorer your life would be without Thing A in it. Repeat for Thing B, Thing C and so on through your list of activities and work out just how many of these you a) have the energy to pursue at the moment and b) are making/will make a substantial difference to your life.
Pick only what you simply cannot live without and put those things front=and-centre. Focus your energies on them 100% and make them happen. Then, once you’ve completed something or freed up more time and energy, you can add back in some of the other things.
What are you doing right now that you could cut out and save yourself time, energy, money, heartache or anything else that’s not helping you live the life you want to live?
I guarantee we all have 2 or 3 things we could happily drop from our lives without a significant dent and I guarantee that if you find those things and eliminate them, everything else will be all the richer for it.
What are you going to do less of from today?
One of the projects I’ll be turning my attention to for the next few weeks (and eliminating other things in favour of) is the creation and launch of my first book Smile Through It. If you want to know more about it and get a FREE copy of my first eBook, The Art of the Second Chance, just sign up to my newsletter here.
Photo: John Taylor on Flickr