It is Not the Daily Increase…
Our next of Bruce’s ideas is one that will most likely resonate with you and your life. Here it is:
We live in a society and culture that is overworked, overstressed, and generally unhappy. Our attention is constantly being pulled in a hundred different directions and our lives are more complex than ever. Technology is supposed to make things easier, but it’s making us feel the need to do more. Although the internet may be one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind, it can also bring a huge amount of stress and complexity into our lives.
As a culture, we’re working more than ever before, yet our pay isn’t reflecting it. And even the people who are making good money still aren’t as happy or healthy as people in many other parts of the world who work less.
For all of these reasons, this idea from Bruce Lee may be the perfect message for us as we head into 2016. As we approach the New Year, we should look to streamline our lives. Every day we need to be trying to take things off of our plate instead of adding more and more to it.
Simplifying also allows us to increase our focus. We can set a course and do what needs to be done to get there. We can make each day really count. How many times do we hear people complaining about how quickly time goes by and how they “Can’t believe it’s already _______?” This comes from people running around and being pulled in every direction and not ever truly being present. We shift into 5th gear and then turn on the auto-pilot. The result is a rushed and stressed life, and one that we never actually experience.
By slowing down, we’re able to be present in what we’re doing. This is of course at the basis of most Eastern philosophies, and Bruce Lee understood this idea well. The more present we are, the more we feel, think, learn, etc. We take back our lives and learn to truly be alive.
In order to simplify our lives and, “Hack away at the unessential,” I suggest that we make a list of things that we need to get done every day in order to be happy and healthy. A sample list of daily tasks might look like the following:
- Meditate 20 minutes
- 10 minutes of physical flow practice every morning
- Eat 3-4 healthy meals consisting of whole, nutritious foods
- 1 hour performing some sort of physical practice
- Drink 1 gallon of water (preferably electrolyte-enhanced)
- Sleep between 8-9 hours
- 1 hour of personal hygiene activities
- Brushing/flossing teeth, showering, shaving, neti-pot, etc…
- Spend 1-2 hours doing maintenance activities
- Laundry, grocery shopping, house maintenance and cleaning
- Work on average 8 hours or less (but while working, be fully focused and engaged)
- Read for 30 minutes
- Spend time with family & friends
Now your list might be completely different. That’s ok. The point is that for most of us, our lists won’t include television, social media, video games, or any other form of time-wasting. Now I’m not saying swear off all entertainment, but I am saying that we should reserve it for once we’ve already completed our daily list.
Many of us, myself included, spend so much of our day procrastinating and wasting time with entertainment and social media. Before we know it, the day is over and we didn’t get much done. The work and to-do’s pile up and we feel stressed and behind the eight ball.
It’s amazing how once you break the habit of spending unnecessary time on the internet and with other forms of entertainment; you end up not really missing it. And, the productivity goes through the roof.
My challenge to you, in order to put Bruce Lee’s idea into practice, is to make a list of the bare minimum essential daily tasks that you need to do to be happy and healthy, and then to stick to doing only those things for one week. I have personally done this myself and it’s amazing how much more productive I’ve been and how less stressed and rushed I feel.
I also implore you to look at your list (as well as any tasks that aren’t on it but that you find yourself spending a lot of time with) and see which of those you can outsource. Which of your activities can someone else do for you so that you it can be taken off of your plate? Of course this will be dependent on the relationships that you have and the resources that you have at your disposal, but it’s worth looking into. Freeing up more of your time to do what you want/love instead of doing things that you hate will instantly remove some stress from your life.
So play around with these ideas see what comes of it. If you have any other ideas or practices for simplifying life and “hacking away at the unessential”, we would love to hear them!
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