I was a real workaholic in the past, putting in 60 hour work weeks to make sure I had every minute scheduled, working as fast as I could to get things done on time, on schedule and perfectly.
It was exhausting and draining on my life force.
You would think that after a 60 hour work week, I’d be plum tuckered out to do anything else right?
I also booked lunches, dinners, shopping dates and events to cram up my Friday evenings and weekends.
When I didn’t have every minute of my day scheduled, I felt like an unproductive LOSER.
The more appointments and meetings I had, the happier (I thought) I felt.
It meant I had a life!
It meant I had friends who loved me!
It meant I had a great, promising career!
But is also meant that I had an awful time staying awake for it all.
Now, I have a different outlook on life: Take it easy and simplify.
Take some time and rake a zen garden or two
1. Fewer events means you actually get to enjoy them
I was not running around saying: Gee I can’t stay even half an hour longer! I have to get to my next lunch date.
I had a flexible schedule where I had a whole day free just in case someone wanted to spend extra time with me.
I wasn’t staring at my watch any longer, mentally fidgeting in my seat.
2. Fewer To Do items means you don’t feel stressed
You can actually spend time making sure your work is done well, on time and of a high quality.
I was spending AT LEAST an extra hour a day, re-checking my work because I felt like I was rushed and didn’t spend enough time on it to do it right the first time.
Re-doing or re-checking your work when you could just take it easy and do it right the first time is frustrating and a waste of energy.
It also stresses you out which causes you to rush, perhaps buy fast food because you are pressed for time, and it also affects your relationships.
3. Fewer items purchased means you only have what you love & need
You aren’t spending your time polishing 50 pairs of shoes and boots.
You may have only 15, and you use every single pair instead of thinking: Why the heck do I have 3 pairs of the same shoe in different colours?
You also aren’t dusting off ornaments that don’t make you happy, but make you feel guilty if you even think about donating them.
4. Fewer appointments means you have more time for yourself
This is something a lot of us forget: time for ourself.
We have careers, families, kids, friends and even pets to take care of and help, but if you overwork yourself and stress out, you will BURN OUT the way I did, and realize that 2 years of your life has passed you by without you feeling like you’ve done anything productive.
You NEED time to recharge, like a battery.
Sleep is one of those recharging times, but even just being able to read a chapter of a book while having a cup of tea is great escapism for your mind.
Note: I cannot put down a book after a chapter. When I am REALLY into a book, I cannot stop, even if it means I lose sleep and wake up grumpy.
5. Fewer things To Do, means you are focused & you care about what you do commit to
Time really passes by quickly, and do you want to look back on your last 40 years and think: What the HECK have I done?
When you do less, you take the time to do it right and to enjoy it, which results in your caring more about what you do.
When I meet up with friends (both old and new), I like having a whole day dedicated to them.
I don’t feel rushed, I don’t look at my watch, and I commit to the meeting and commit to enjoying it.
In contrast, when I was a busy, busy bee, the more I did, the less I cared.
I only cared about being on time for my next appointment and thinking ahead the future without concentrating on the present.
Now, I don’t care if people call me or my life boring.
I like having a clear weekend and a simple schedule that is flexible with the feeling of utter freedom.
On a whim, I can spontaneously decide to take a trip or go someplace with BF somewhere if we are both free.
It’s liberating after years of scheduling every minute of my day.
If you want more motivation, head over to Beyond Norms and read 10 Minimalist Lessons from Seneca.