“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” – Bruce Lee
Last week I watched an interview with Shannen Doherty on Chelsea Lately. It was a special on breast cancer and Shannen said that one of the benefits of getting cancer is that it really ‘cleaned house’ and stripped away all of the unessential from her life. Her relationships changed. Some people showed up for her in ways that she never expected of them and some people just completely left her life and it was heartbreaking. She realised that some of her friends were ‘lifestyle’ friends who she just went out and had drinks with and were only out to have a good time. They didn’t want to deal with any of the hard stuff.
Her relationship with herself changed. She had to rediscover who she was without all the packaging. Particularly the things that define our sexuality as women. Like hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes. She also said that for years she had this tough exterior which is now largely gone. She is more vulnerable, more able to cry and empathise, and has become way more transparent and authentic in herself. She shows up apologetically as herself – cancer and all.
I found this so interesting as I am currently working on becoming more real and authentic in myself, and more willing to share the bad stuff as well as the good stuff. Sometimes it takes something really bad to happen to realise all of the unessential and give us extra focus for the essential.
Think about what is absolutely essential to your life. What are your big rocks?
I think it is important to have no more than THREE main things to focus on in your life. Everything else can slot in around it. Mine at the moment are Family, Work and Health.
Make sure you organise your day around getting your most essential tasks in that are associated with those big rocks. Work on paring down all of the other areas of your life.
Here are five areas where we can work on stripping out some of the unessential:
1. Overcommitted? Leave space free on your calendar. Say yes to the really important things and don’t worry too much about the rest. We only have so much time available don’t give it all away to others.
2. Wasting time? We often waste so much time each day on procrastinating or doing things that are not going to give us any value back in the long term. Our time each day is precious, we can’t waste any of it.
3. Too much stuff? Regularly work on decluttering and reducing your possessions down to the essential. What is essential will be different for everyone. Over time you can learn to live with less and life becomes much simpler with less to take care of.
4. Working smart? Get more work done in less time by working smarter, setting goals, reducing distractions and setting a timer if need be. Goal setting each week helps us to stay on track with determining our most important work tasks.
5. Daily planning? Writing out a daily to-do list helps you to stay on track with your most essential tasks. It enables you to plan, prioritise and mark tasks off when they are completed so that you can make sure that every day you are focusing on the essential items. I find that when I skip planning I waste a lot more time!
(Photo: Sweet Ice Cream Photography)