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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Doing More With Less: A Look at your To's, Who's, You, and Do's



I'm reading The Power of Less by Leo Babuata (of Zen Blog.) Like many of you I've been inundated and am inundated with too many things.
Orchmid's Photo Stream - Creative Commons

Too
Too much email...
Too many things to do...
Too many chores at home...
Too much mail coming into my house...
Too Too Too Too

One
I don't need "too" what I need is one. Focus on one task at a time. Focus on one goal at a time. Multitasking is a myth.

Focus
I was reading today in the Message translation of Luke Chapter 9

" Jesus said, 'What a generation...No focus to your lives!..."

This reiterated some of the words I was reading in Leo's book. If you look at Leo's Zen habits from his blog, you'll see that the post 10 Things You can Do Today to Simplify Your Life has as the #4 item "set limits.
The fact is:

I am most often to blame for my "too's." 

How about you?

I'm the one who subscribed to several hundred feeds in my RSS reader. I'm the one who didn't take time to remove my name from those awful mailing lists. I'm the one who "gave away" my email to get some freebie I don't care about only to have my email given to several thousand spammers. I'm the one who said yes to something good that I really didn't have time to do.
Toolstop's Flickr Photo Stream - Creative Commons - some rights reserved

But one point Leo also makes is one I've been applying in my own life and that is FOCUS. Really, focus on one thing - get that out of the way and then focus on another. If you don't focus, you get nowhere!!

"A thousand wishes won't catch any fishes."

It isn't about wishing it is about doing. And sometimes doing means you have to pick.

Some people use the term "bandwidth" and yes, that term is OK, but I think it is more about longevity. Would you rather be available 24/7 and do everything possible for 3 years or have a career where you work 5 days a week and a few weekend days a month for 30 years? Which will contribute more to society?

Bandwidth will allow you to use up to the full bandwidth at any point with no degredation of service. The fact is that a human's "bandwidth" is more variable and that if you use a lot of it one day - there is less to use the next and so forth. (I'm living this with jet lag from my trip to China and Pennsylvania right now.) So, longevity is really more important. Sustainable performance.

As Much As You Will Give
This world will take just as much as you give it. Your job will take as much as you give it. And when you die from exhaustion, they'll shake their head, name some awards after you and talk about your tireless service and move on without you!

This world needs you and what you have to offer but in order for you to give it on an ongoing basis- you have to be ALIVE!

Today, we had an assembly about our runner up state championship girls basketball team and the coach said,

"I always tell my girls that in this world nobody is going to give you anything - you have to fight for it."

And that is true. No one is going to give you ANYTHING and if you want to get something you  have to FOCUS and fight for it.

You know I could be "Mrs. Perfect" and answer all 900 something emails that have accumulated in my inbox in the week I've been gone to China but you know what - the 200 emails from nameless, faceless PR firms who don't care one bit about my readers or me - they don't care - if I reply, they'll keep on sending me JUNK - of which I care about less than 3%! So, why bother? I'm using MailWasher Pro and I'm washing those folks out of my hair.

I have time for my friends and unless the PR firm wants to read David Meerman Scott's expert book on Social media (The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly, 2nd Edition) as they deal with me - then I'm going to ignore them. (PR and Advertising people should read that book and get a clue!)


So - let's take a Look.


Step #1 - Look at your "to's"
Ask yourself these questions:
  • What am I able to eliminate?
  • What am I able to cancel?
  • What am I able to ignore?
  • What am I able to filter?
  • What am I able to remove?
  • What am I able to simplify?
Step #2 - Look at your "You"
  • Are you treating your body in a way that it will last?
  • Do you feel good most days?
  • Are you eating right?
  • Are you getting enough rest?
  • Are you exercising?
If not, why not? It starts with you. Peak performance happens when you are well rested and well cared for. We all go through stages when this isn't possible but if we take care of ourselves the other times, we'll have a reservoir to be able to make it through those tough times without pushing ourselves into a heart attack.

Step #3: Look at Your "Who"
  • Who do you love?
  • Who do you care about?
  • Who do you want to know better?
  • Who gives you a reason for living?
  • Who do you want to help and influence both now and as part of your legacy?
The problem w/ our "who's" is that they are often there and taken for granted - they don't go on our list. Our Lists have lots of "do's" but often don't include the "who's."

Then... look again at your Do's. 

Your Do's should get rid of as many unmeaningful unbeneficial "to's" as possible while taking care of "you" and remembering "who" is important to you.

Focus on what is important and start now. So many people do goal setting in January and emerge with a laundry list that looks good on paper and would make the perfect human! But perfect humans don't exist on this planet and the people who do the most focus.

Let's get more out of life.. it's too short.
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