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Sunday, 4 January 2015

Monthly Musing - January 2015 - Doing less

It’s that time of year again – the time of resolutions and good intentions.  Be more organized.  Get rid of clutter.  Start the year with a clean slate.  Clear your to-do list.  Be more productive.  I’m always fired up with enthusiasm at the beginning of January, ready to take on the world.  I’m going to have my house running like clockwork, my family organised and ready for every eventually.   And I do – for about three weeks.  Then all my good intentions start to return to comfortable familiarity and I find myself doing things at the last minute, muttering about why I’m always the last to find out about anything.

I mentioned this to a friend recently who recommended that I should listen to a recording of a motivational speaker talking about being more productive.  How can I possibly be more productive, I wondered, I’m busy through every moment of the day!  But listening to him talking (whilst doing about four other things) made me actually sit down and stop for a moment and think.  Most of us are busy all of the time, but we’re not actually that productive.  How much do we actually achieve in a day?

The basis of the talk (and here I must confess that I’ve only heard about half of it – there have been too many other things to do recently, including a small celebration that you may have heard of called Christmas!) is that we should do less things, do them more often and get better at them.  Do less things?  But there are so many things that I need to do every day – how can I possibly do less of them?  The world is such a big place, there are so many experiences, so many things to try, places to go, people to see – surely we need to pack more into our lives, not less?

I asked my husband about this.  “I’ve been telling you about this for years,” he said (although I pretended not to know what he meant). “By doing too many things at once you end up not doing anything very well at all and just wear yourself out and feel as if you haven’t achieved anything when you might actually have done a lot.  Doing less actually gives you more time.”

I have to be honest, he has been telling me this for years.  He often comes home to find me doing half-a-dozen things at once, and yes, I do get frustrated at the end of the day when I feel as if I’ve spent the day in a rush and haven’t finished everything I wanted to do.  So perhaps it’s time to listen to the words and take some notice.  Take the time to work out what’s really important to me and focus on that, not worry about all the experiences I think I might be missing out on.  Do less things, do them more often, get better at them.  As resolutions go, it’s not too bad.


4 comments:

  1. That's a good idea, but the idea of prioritising which things I want to focus on. ?. Well, it just isn't going to happen really. I'm just about able to set some goals, but that might be as far as I get most days. One day I will be organised. One day I'll have my priorities set and a plan to follow. ... but that day isn't here yet. Have you any plans for how to achieve your resolution?

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    1. Actually, when it comes down to it there are only a handful of priorities for me, revolving around my family, my home and my work. I've realised that it's OK for me to focus on those without feeling that I have to try to save the world before lunchtime as well, and I'm going to try very hard to do just one thing at once before moving onto the next thing. Who's to say it will last any longer than January, but the thought of it makes me feel calm and I think that's a good place to start! xx

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  2. I totally agree with everything in your post, but it is to hard sometimes just to stop and decide what to do first and what to put on waiting. .. Thanks for sharing!

    Lluisa xx

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    1. The prioritising is hard, I agree, and if nothing else this year hopefully I'll get better at doing that! xx

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