How to Create Space in Your Life for What Really MattersBy Ellen Gregory
Many of us live a life of accommodation rather than evaluation. We agree to every request and every entreaty for our attention without considering if we have the time or desire to comply. We perpetually stretch ourselves too thin, become consumed by trivial tasks, and passively go along with other people’s agendas.
Even worse, our to-do lists are always longer at the end of the day than they were at the beginning. We’re exhausted from juggling too many things at once, but feel guilty because we haven’t completed everything we said we would. We’re overworked and constantly busy, yet feel underutilized and unproductive.
It may seem counterproductive to do less, but when we strategically eliminate and pare our lives down, we actually gain so much more.
Get Back to Your Basics
For years I’ve fallen into the trap of trying to do everything while feeling as if nothing ever gets accomplished. I began searching for ways to maximize my time and productivity and came across Greg McKeown’s Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. The book focuses on asking probing questions about all the things we feel we have to do, so that we can separate the necessary from the discretionary.
McKeown argues that we don’t create space in our lives to really stop and think about what matters most because we’re too busy with everything on our to-do list. Our goal shouldn’t be doing it all. It should be to do a few things superbly well.
When trying to decide what is essential, ask yourself these questions:
- What am I deeply passionate about?
- What taps my talent?
- What meets a significant need in the world?
Be selective instead of letting a list of tasks dictate your time. When we fail to say no, we’re saying yes by default, and living a life by happenstance rather than design. Note that the point isn’t to start saying no to everything, but to really think about what we value and make choices from that place. But how do we do that?
Identify Your Core Values
When there’s a gap between what we value and the actions we take, it may cause us to feel distressed and directionless. In order to map out your path to greater well‑being, you first need to figure out what you value most. Try this exercise fro