I have been watching this show on Netflix hosted by Marie Kondo called Tidying Up — Marie is a tidying consultant (what a cool name) and she goes around to different families who have trouble tidying up — they have a lot of clutter, or limited space or they generally do not feel organized. Marie shows them the KonMari method, they get various assignments and ‘homework’ on the show and the families all take a focused amount of time (from what I see, about a month to two months) to tidy up all of their belongings.
I bet if you look around your room that you will see a lot of things that are just ‘clutter’. Maybe even some of this clutter brings you stress (I know some of that clutter definitely brings me stress when I see it). And then you think, well I can live with it just sitting there OR I really don’t know what to do with all this ‘stuff’ that I have. Well, the KonMari method will help you figure out what to do with it but this post is not about that — no, it’s more so a post that I thought about which is a reverse of the whole New Years resolution posts that I’m sure you have seen a lot of — “here are my resolutions or goals for 2019”; “this is what I’m going to do in 2019” — I noticed that a lot of these posts are additive in nature — you are generally adding different activities, habits or practices to your routines where you have not done them before. What I wanted to explore are the things that I want to stop doing in 2019 and while this is a post really only for myself (much of my writing is for myself), I do think that it will help others think about the things that they should stop doing in their lives.
Have you heard about the story about the pilot and Warren Buffett? The pilot asked Warren about his advice for getting things done in his life — Warren told him to write down a list of 25 areas or focuses in his life that he wanted to accomplish in the next 5 years — could be pilot education, could be improving his marriage, etc. After the pilot wrote down the 25 tasks, Warren asked him to circle or note down the top 5 things on his list that he most wanted to do. After thinking for quite some time, the pilot managed to circle the top 5 things on his list. Warren then asked him to put those 5 items in one list and the other 20 on another list. The secret, as Warren said, is to only focus on those 5 items. The other 20 is on the pilot’s do not do list. What is on your do not do list?
Being busy or saying that I’m busy
We all have those friends or colleagues who look frazzled all the time. “Man I’m swamped” or “I barely got any sleep these past couple of days”. Is work really that busy for them? Debbie Millman says that “Being busy is a choice” which I wholeheartedly agree with.
Why are you so busy?
I have lots of different deadlines that I am working towards.
Why do you have so many deadlines?
I am tasked with multiple projects.
Why are you on multiple projects?
I was told to do them by my boss.
Why didn’t you push back if you only had a limited amount of time?
My good friend and someone that inspires me to think about life differently, Shawn, has a rule that he never says that he is busy for a similar reason. If you are busy, it often can mean that you do not have your priorities in order because if you had your priorities in order, you would not be swamped with anything that does not progress your life.
I am a great believer that you become more of what you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with happy, positive and ambitious people — you will also become happier, more positive and more ambitious. If you read financial books all the time, you are going to have a great financial mindset. A long time ago, I remembered I was quite negative — very pessimistic about my life, the things that were happening, test results and I decided at some point that I was quit going to be negative and to be positive instead. I found that it didn’t take up as much energy; I found people liked to be around me more; and I found that your perspective in life really changes. Now I’ll be honest, it can be tough to be positive all the time but where it is important in your relationships and perspective in how you see things, I have definitely made strides — which is why I don’t want negative people in my life to influence my thoughts and behaviours.
Clutter / big purchases
I heard a great concept from one of the Minimalists on his podcast — I think it was Josh who said that any time he wants to purchase anything over $30, he would take 30 days to consider it. The reason is because after 30 days, if he still wants it, he can then go get it but by setting this delay, he can avoid the feeling of impulse buying (which is very easy to do given that you probably have your credit card linked up to Amazon and can instantly buy anything you want) and he also found that by waiting 30 days, that feeling that you want to buy something goes away and only returns if he really needed it. It’s something that I want to incorporate into my life only because I look around my house and see that there are a lot of things that I have collected that I really don’t need or use every day. I want to make sure that everything I have in my house sparks joy and if it doesn’t, I gift, donate or trash it so that it can bring someone else joy.
Mindless consumption of media
I’m a self development fanatic — I have two bookshelves full of books, numerous podcasts downloaded, subscribed to multiple online courses that I have not finished and in a way, it’s digital clutter. This year, I’m resolved to consume less media (that is, TV, Netflix, Movies) and to take stock of what I already have, evaluate its usefulness and then to store it away. I’d like to think that I consume less entertainment than the average person already but I inevitably find myself watching things on Netflix or the TV to pass the time — that’s not necessarily a bad thing but just something that I’d like to do less of.
Using my phones in the mornings and late at night
I think technology in general has slowly been changing our brains. Before I had a smartphone, I didn’t have to worry about being ‘bored’ — I’d talk to other people, read a book or would generally just be lost in my thoughts. Now, if I’m waiting in line for a few minutes and have nothing to do, I do what others might do — pull out their smartphones and start scrolling through different things. What’s wrong with just standing there doing nothing? Why are we so addicted to our tech? I’m resolved to use my tech less a few hours in the mornings (when your most productive time is available) and a few hours before bedtime (so that I can sleep better). I’ve already failed a couple days but at least my purposeful non-use (even if its only half the time or a third of the time) means that I am able to focus on other things such as reading or spending time with loved ones.
Is this an exhaustive list? Probably not but at the very least, it should give you a sense of some things that I want to work on because as important as goals and resolutions for 2019 are, it’s also important to recognize the different things in your life that should be stopped (or even just maintained).
Hey! You’ve gotten to the last paragraph in my post (because you’re that kind of person) so I’m willing to bet that you are also the kind of person who thinks a lot about personal growth and self development. Do you like books? Again, I’m willing to bet that you do. If you are interested in book notes from the 50+ books that I read every year, dropped in your inbox every month, sign up for my newsletter