Posted: 17 Jan 2013 07:35 AM PST
By Leo Babauta
Many of us work in an endless stream of tasks, browser tasks, social media, emails, meetings, rushing from one thing to another, never pausing and never ending.
Then the day is over, and we are exhausted, and we often have very little to show for it. And we start the next day, ready for a mindless stream of tasks and distractions.
I am a fan of going against the stream of what most people do, and taking a step back. Is it really worth it? Is this the best way? Are we losing our lives to busy-ness and distraction?
What if we did less instead?
Of course, I’ve been suggesting doing less for six years here on Zen Habits, but it’s a topic worth revisiting, because it is so necessary. Today I offer a short guide to doing less, for those willing to give it a try.
I could probably write an entire book on the benefits of doing less, but here’s the short version:
I’ll stop with those benefits — they’re sufficient for getting started. But I think you’ll discover others as you give this a try.
Savor Your Tasks
I wrote recently about how to savor life … and this applies to your to-do list.
When you do a task — let’s say writing something — create space around that task. Really pay attention, really pour yourself into it, and enjoy it. Any task can be enjoyable with the savor mindset — yes, even cleaning and doing taxes.
When you do the task, don’t rush through it, but be mindful, be present, and smile.
When you’re done with the task, savor your accomplishment instead of just looking for what’s next. Breathe between tasks.
Curate Your Tasks
If you normally do 20-30 things a day (as an example), small and large tasks and meetings, that’s great — but are these things important? Are they good enough to make the cut of what should be in your life?
Instead, think of yourself as a collector. Each day is limited, our lives are limited, and we can try to cram as many things as we possibly can into these containers, or we can collect just the experiences worthy of being in these limited days.
What would you include in your day if you were culling experiences and tasks down to the best ones? My day, as an example, often contains these things I love: meditation, writing, coffee and reading, spending time with my wife and kids, exercise, eating healthy meals, helping people, going for a walk, more reading, drinking a glass or two of red wine. Not every day has those things, and not in that order, but those are some of the things I find worthy of my day.
Creating a Day of Less
Can you do less today? How would you do it?
The answer is yes, you can do less today, even if you’ve already started with a rush of small tasks. Here’s what I suggest:
Breathe. Enjoy the new space. Savor the beauty of doing less.
New Zen Habits WordPress Theme
On another note, I’ve created a new WordPress theme (the one you see on this site right now), and am offering it free and uncopyrighted here: zh2 theme.
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