Learning To Lose Control

February 18, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

I have always had issues with control.  I have a deep seeded belief that 1 – I’m the only one that can really take care of everything and 2 – When things happen without my “permission” it makes me feel disoriented.  As neither one of these beliefs are true and/or sustainable, I’ve had to work on myself.

I’m the only one that can take care of everything is a God like complex which doesn’t give much trust to others and overwhelms the self.  The way I have found to deal with this is to let go.  I do what I can and the rest I let go.  And if things don’t turn out quite the way I expected, I deal with that once it comes to pass.  I literally say to myself: “Let go”.  And then I ask: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”  And then I finally end with: “Taking care of everything all the time is an impossible and exhausting way to live.  Truly you don’t want to live like that.”  After these three questions and statements, I’m ready to let go followed by a long deep breath.

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Want To Be Happier?

November 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans – John Lennon

Below is an interesting post on today’s Huffington Post on the topic of living life in the present.

The post discusses our two ailments; 1 – Either hung up on the past or planning for the future and 2 – Seldom bringing our attention to the moment we are living thus often wasting the experience.

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The Little Rules Of Action

January 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Featured


Taking action doesn’t mean making life a blur.

“The shortest answer is doing.” - Lord Herbert

Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on Twitter.The

Too often we get stuck in inaction — the quagmire of doubt and perfectionism and distractions and planning that stops us from moving forward.

And while I’m no proponent of a whirling buzz of activity, I also believe people get lost in the distractions of the world and lose sight of what’s important, and how to actually accomplish their Something Amazing.

And so today I’d like to humbly present a few little rules of action — just some small reminders, things I’ve found useful but by no means invented, common-sense stuff that is often not common enough.

1. Don’t overthink. Too much thinking often results in getting stuck, in going in circles. Some thinking is good — it’s good to have a clear picture of where you’re going or why you’re doing this — but don’t get stuck thinking. Just do.
2. Just start. All the planning in the world will get you nowhere. You need to take that first step, no matter how small or how shaky. My rule for motivating myself to run is: Just lace up your shoes and get out the door. The rest takes care of itself.
3. Forget perfection. Perfectionism is the enemy of action. Kill it, immediately. You can’t let perfect stop you from doing. You can turn a bad draft into a good one, but you can’t turn no draft into a good draft. So get going.
4. Don’t mistake motion for action. A common mistake. A fury of activity doesn’t mean you’re doing anything. When you find yourself moving too quickly, doing too many things at once, this is a good reminder to stop. Slow down. Focus.
5. Focus on the important actions. Clear the distractions. Pick the one most important thing you must do today, and focus on that. Exclusively. When you’re done with that, repeat the process.
6. Move slowly, consciously. Be deliberate. Action doesn’t need to be done fast. In fact, that often leads to mistakes, and while perfection isn’t at all necessary, neither is making a ridiculous amount of mistakes that could be avoided with a bit of consciousness.
7. Take small steps. Biting off more than you can chew will kill the action. Maybe because of choking, I dunno. But small steps always works. Little tiny blows that will eventually break down that mountain. And each step is a victory, that will compel you to further victories.
8. Negative thinking gets you nowhere. Seriously, stop doing that. Self doubt? The urge to quit? Telling yourself that it’s OK to be distracted and that you can always get to it later? Squash those thoughts. Well, OK, you can be distracted for a little bit, but you get the idea. Positive thinking, as corny as it sounds, really works. It’s self-talk, and what we tell ourselves has a funny habit of turning into reality.
9. Meetings aren’t action. This is a common mistake in management. They hold meetings to get things done. Meetings, unfortunately, almost always get in the way of actual doing. Stop holding those meetings!
10. Talking (usually) isn’t action. Well, unless the action you need to take is a presentation or speech or something. Or you’re a television broadcaster. But usually, talking is just talking. Communication is necessary, but don’t mistake it for actual action.
11. Planning isn’t action. Sure, you need to plan. Do it, so you’re clear about what you’re doing. Just do it quickly, and get to the actual action as quickly as you can.
12. Reading about it isn’t action. You’re reading an article about action. Ironic, I know. But let this be the last one. Now get to work!
13. Sometimes, inaction is better. This might be the most ironic thing on the list, but really, if you find yourself spinning your wheels, or you find you’re doing more harm than good, rethink whether the action is even necessary. Or better yet, do this from the beginning — is it necessary? Only do the action if it is.

“Talk doesn’t cook rice.” - Chinese Proverb

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8 Ways Doing Less Can Transform Your Work & Life

September 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured


Do less, be happier.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupe

Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on Twitter.

Most productivity blogs and books will teach you how to do more, to get more done, to be more productive.

I want to teach you to do less, to get less done, to be less productive.

And while I’ve written about it before, I think it’s time we take a look at how this can really change your work life, and your life as a whole.

Doing less is not about being lazy (though being lazy is a good start) – it’s about focusing on quality rather than quantity. It’s about getting off the hamster wheel of productivity, so that you can create something great rather than just being busy.

Let’s take a few examples:

  • A furniture maker can mass-produce a ton of cheap furniture that will fall apart within a year. Another craftsman might produce way fewer pieces of furniture, but make them beautifully and solidly, so that they’ll last for generations. If he makes them well enough, they might even be sought out and remembered for their great design.
  • A programmer can write tens of thousands of lines of code, and produce a lot of software that works. A less productive coder can write a tenth of the lines, perhaps even editing down what she writes so that there’s less code, but they’re better written. This small program might be the most useful thing on many people’s computers, flawless code that just works.
  • A writer can churn out lots of words (hundreds of thousands, if not millions), but have his work read by relatively few. Another writer can write a small but powerful blog post or ebook, and have the post be spread by thousands of people.

In each case, the person produced less, but focused on quality. The impact of the smaller work was higher, and thus the time worked was better spent.

I’d argue that by focusing on quality, you could work less and still have a higher impact. I’ve done this in my life – by cutting back on my work hours, I actually get less done but have a higher impact.

I should note: this takes courage, to do less. You have to shed all the old ideas of working harder and working more and being more productive. You have to forget about what others think about your work habits, and instead think about the impact the work has on the world and your life. You have to change the way you do things, and that’s never easy.

But it’s worth the effort.

Here are some ways this philosophy can change your life and work:

  1. Less hectic, busy schedule, less stress, more peace. Doing less leaves free to schedule less, leave more space in your schedule, work at a more human pace.
  2. More ability to focus, to find Flow, to work in the moment. When you are doing too much, you are constantly switching from one task to another, constantly interrupted, constantly distracted. Do less, clear away distractions, single-task.
  3. Work has more impact and spreads further and wider. When you do too much, your work is spread thinner, you have lower quality, and people won’t spread your work or give you awards for low-quality work.
  4. More pride in your work, which feels good. Feels awesome, actually, to create something worth putting your name on.
  5. People appreciate higher quality. Customers rave. Readers enthuse. Reviewers glow. Bosses promote.
  6. More time for family and loved ones. Not a small benefit. Be sure that if you do less, you use the saved time for something important. Like quiet time for the ones you love.
  7. More time for other things you enjoy. I use my time for exercise, or reading, and of course my family.
  8. Free yourself up to create amazing things. Creating is hard to do when you’re busy and distracted. By doing less, you can create something great.

How to Do Less

I almost didn’t include this section, as to me it seems obvious: you just … do less. But I realize it’s not obvious to everyone, so I’ll share a few tips (many are familiar to long-time readers):

  • Slowly cut back on non-essential commitments.
  • Have fewer meetings.
  • Say no to requests, as much as possible, so you can focus on doing something great.
  • Cut out distractions, especially the Internet.
  • Single-task and focus.
  • Churn out a shitty first draft, then edit.
  • Edit some more. Make it beautiful and minimal.
  • Make it something you will be proud to claim credit for.
  • When you find yourself doing busy-work, stop, put it off, find ways to cut that out of your life.
  • Whatever blocks you from doing your great work, kill it.
  • Set limits on how many things you do each day.
  • Focus on the most important tasks first, before you get distracted
  • Set limits on your work hours.

It won’t happen overnight. Change gradually, but surely.

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” - E.F. Schumacker

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