Ever feel like your juggling too many balls or spinning too many plates at one time? Maybe even both? Searching for a way to simplify life? You need to start by focusing effort on the parts of your life that matter.
Setting Priorities will only get you so far. There’s an assumption everything on your list needs to be done. It does not. Simplify life, lighten your load. Do a few things better, way better by focusing effort on them and forget about the rest of it.
My Breakdown. I began to simplify life by realizing that three main categories compete for my time and life energy. Family, Professional and Community. If an activity does not fit in one of those three categories I don’t have time to focus effort on in it and probably shouldn’t be if I want to achieve my goals on a timely basis.
Family. Always first even when they don’t realize it. It’s a constant struggle to not have them feel left out of my life. Shouldn’t be but hey for me it is. I try little things like grabbing my MacBook and setting it on my lap while we catch some evening TV from DVR. Not always the best way of focusing effort but for now while I reach for some big goals it’s how it is sometimes.
Professional. Up until recently I dabbled in side projects. I still keep my eyes open for these and remain involved in one pursuit besides ColorMetrix. The reality is ColorMetrix provides the lion’s share of my income. As long as that is true focusing effort, the lions share of my effort on ColorMetrix will continue. One can only do so much in a given day.
Community. This blog is where that activity starts and ends. I give you guys these posts. I volunteer my time in other ways sparingly. Time is my most precious asset. The older I get the more I realize that simplifying life involves gaining control over the clock. I also spend time at meetups focused around the community that has grown here and via my activity on Twitter. I focus effort on giving posts and get your feedback. Together we grow a community and become friends. It’s cool, really cool actually.
These are big buckets, so the trick is to not let them fill them up. Simplify life by doing less and enjoying what you are doing more. You don’t have to accept every civic of professional board position offered to you. you can be active is several civic and professional organizations but by declining the board seat you avoid extensive time commitments. Commitments you may not be able to keep and who do you help by letting people down?
This approach may look simple. It’s not. It’s taken me most of this year to straighten this out in my head and lighten the load. Start by writing down your commitments in each of these categories. Be honest and the lists will get quite long. When the process is done I hope you have no more than two or three things in each category. When you do your life will feel more balanced.
What have you got to lose? Start your list today or maybe leave a comment and let me know what you think of this approach to life simplification.
Joshua Garity says
Well said Jim. With all of the options provided to us in life these days, by way of technology and relatively fast travel, we try to accomplish too much and water down the quality to cram more in.
It's funny we wrote about similar topics today. I actually like your post more than mine. 🙂
Sue Spaight says
I like it Jim. One question: where is the “Jim” category? While generosity is a virtue, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first before you can assist those around you. Maybe, for you, community is your oxygen?
Jim Raffel says
Oh sheesh, I almost deleted this awesome comment. That's why it may show as edited by moderator. I didn't touch it and it's such a great reminder to never forget about yourself. Can't help others until you are whole and healthy yourself.