In life, there are areas that call for our immediate attention each time we visit them. Either because they are important or we enjoy these particular activities very much.
There are other areas of our lives that may be equally necessary to our survival and ability to thrive. But we just don’t enjoy them as much or simply, they could be streamlined.
Put systems in place…
I recently wrote about the economics of your attention. We have a finite amount of attention and endless directions we can focus our attention. In that post I suggest some ideas to determine how to cut out some of the noise, and came up with suggestions to help you point your time and energy into essential – as defined by you – parts of life. This is to aid you in creating the life you want to live, and become the person you wish to become.
Designing yourself and your life is no small task. I’d argue it’s a full time job. I want to focus further on how we can spend more of our time on what we actually want, and less on what we simply need to get by in life.
The fact is, even after cutting out a lot of the noise in your life, you will still be bombarded by less essential, but still important occurrences that come to your attention. Then there is the very basic necessities of life that you will spend a good deal of your time and energy on.
But let’s get extreme and question the status quo. Do I really need to be spending so much time on various essential, but basic tasks? Could I be spending less time on certain tasks and getting a nearly as optimal result to achieve happiness and success?
The answer is usually, yes! But you have to be willing to put systems in place.
For example, let’s look at eating and getting dressed. Extremely basic, but necessary – essential, in most cases – parts of life.
Can’t go too long without doing this. As someone who places a high value on fueling the body; lots of time and energy was spent cooking, thinking about cooking, and actually eating the food. How can we put a system in place?
I could eliminate cooking and thinking by just eating out. However, that’s not nutritionally or financially in line with my goals of eating healthy and saving a large chunk of my income.
And I would probably end up worrying and thinking even more about what was in the food I was eating from a restaurant or that someone else cooked.
So I need to cook my food. Can I reduce the amount of time I spend cooking, thinking about cooking and also eating the food? Perhaps.
To take a few steps back, I used to cook multiple times a day, creating multiple variations of meals. So much of my time was spent thinking up new recipes that fit my nutritional goals, cooking up multiple different meals every day and finding the time to get each meal in me. It was becoming extremely unproductive. When I finally gave up the notion that eating needs to be some sort of spectacle every time and that I didn’t actually need to eat different food each ‘typical meal session’ – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner – I became free.
I’ve streamlined this process by narrowing down my nutritional needs, and developing one simple recipe that fits that and eating the same things all the time. I also cook an abnormally large portion once a week. I no longer need to think up different recipes, and I spend way, way less time cooking. I’ve freed myself and my mind up to focus on more important tasks; such as writing and exploring my city in South Korea.
The time it takes to cook 3 portions is roughly the same as it is to cook 15 portions. Let’s say that 3 portions takes 1 hour. I have now cleared up 4 extra hours a week for myself.
That’s an extra week a year.
I know what you’re thinking: I WOULD HATE TO EAT THE SAME THING EVERY DAY! You need to grow up. If you want to maximize your results sometimes it isn’t always going to be sun and rainbows. Second, try making something that doesn’t suck. I ate butter chicken, rice and broccoli 2-3x a day for 6 months before getting sick of it. I’ve got references if you need.
In this example, not only are you saving time and energy that can be refocused. You are also saving money and your health – by avoiding eating out. Can we agree, a win-win situation?
While I like being done up and having nice things just as much as the next person. I hate thinking about my outfits, and I really don’t enjoy shopping that much.
Through minimalism and reading about other successful people’s streamlined lifestyles I’ve come to work with the bare minimum for clothing. Almost as though coming up with a personal uniform.
This allows me to save time and money shopping, gives me peace of mind not having a closet full of clothes and, maybe most importantly; saves me from the anxiety of picking the perfect wardrobe when I leave the house.
I did this by thinking about certain essential pieces of clothing that I could use together and in multiple situations. I also look to buy quality when I do actually buy. This allows for lasting, highly adaptable clothing. You don’t need much of it, and you don’t need to think about what you will wear.
I know what you’re thinking: I COULDN’T BARE THE EMBARRASSMENT OF WEARING THE SAME CLOTHING EVERY WEEK! You need to grow up again and come to terms with the fact that what you wear doesn’t make who you are. Your skills, characteristics and attitude make who you are. Anyone’s opinion that disagrees with this reality shouldn’t be of concern to you.
I will agree first impressions are real, so with your limited, but maximized wardrobe; pick the best.
These two examples are just a few ways you can get more from less if you simply put systems in place. And of course your goals and aspirations are going to be different from mine. If your thing is culinary arts, you would spend a lot more time in the kitchen than I.
Just as you can streamline your personal life, so can you put systems in place in your career life and probably any other section of life – nothing wrong with having a go-to pick up line!
Start thinking about cutting the fat!