The Power Of Less by Leo Babauta

dont-you-wish-life-was-this-simple

I wish life was simpler.

This is something I’ve said to myself many times before and I’m sure you have too. Feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and unmotivated is often a product of our own doing. We try to do too much, too fast, and too soon.

Short Answer is Simplify. For detailed answer please read the book The Power Of Less by Leo Babaua.

“Simplifying isn’t meant to leave your life empty — it’s meant to leave space in your life for what you really want to do.”
– from The Power Of Less by Leo Babaua

True to its name, the Power of Less is short. 170 pages, this non-fiction work follows the traditional how-to book formula to employ numbered lists of steps.

The main principles he outlines are as follows:

  1. Set limitations. By setting limitations, we must chose the essential. So in everything you do, learn to set limitations.
  2. Choose the essential. By choosing the essential, we create great impact with minimal resources. Always choose the essential to maximize your time and energy.
  3. Simplify. Eliminate the nonessential.
  4. Focus is your most important tool in becoming more effective.
  5. Create new habits to make long-lasting improvements.
  6. Start small. Start new habits in small increments to ensure success.

My favorite line in the whole book is “Simplify. Eliminate the non-essential.” I think if that is all you get out of the whole book it will have been worthwhile.

Still go ahead buy the book and read it fully, it’s full of ideas. The best parts were when the author wrote of his own personal experience and used specific details of life changes he made and how he went about that.

Simplicity boils down to two (very simple) steps:
1. Identify the Essential
2. Eliminate the rest

All in all, this is a good little book with some great logic in it, as well as links and suggestions on how to use today’s tools to make your life better. A short book that combines technology advancements with wisdom of the ages is just the kind of focus that we multi-taskers need to help us calm the chaos that surrounds us online and off.

Learn to move at a slower pace and you will be happier, and just as importantly, you will become more effective and productive.

Bonus: You can visit the this link to read the 10 big ideas from this book.

The Lost Art of Idleness

This post is inspired by the radio show The Art and science of doing nothing.

Look around and all you see are people being asked to produce more, work harder and make every moment count. At every turn we’re pushed to do more, faster, and more efficiently: That drumbeat resounds throughout our wage-slave society. Multitasking is not only a virtue, it’s a necessity.

The latest neuroscience suggests that while our brains are wired for action and intensity, our brains need time to rest if we are to be at our best on a sustainable basis. Being busy all the time can actually create problems for our mental and our physical health.

We seem to hate idleness, believing it is such a waste of time.

During Confucian times, idleness was an important part of Chinese culture. A Confucian gentleman grew long fingernails to prove that he did not have to work with his hands.

Confucianism actually “idealized leisure and effortlessness”.

And Samuel Johnson, the 18th-century English writer, wrote a number of essays on the benefits of being idle. Idleness, he claimed, “may be enjoyed without injury to others”. Johnson saw idleness as “a silent and peaceful quality, that neither raises envy…nor hatred”.

autopilot-by-andrew-smart

For more on the lost art of idleness, read Andrew Smart’s book Autopilot: The Art and Science of Doing Nothing. The author argues that the brain needs idleness, he has used latest findings in neuroscience to argue that doing nothing leads to happiness.

“Recent research is revealing that some forms of self-knowledge may only appear to us in idle states,” writes Smart. In our frantic chase for gain, we suppress “our brain’s natural ability to make meaning out of experience”. Idleness is especially important after taking in new facts or skills. “If you relax for a while, the hippocampus more or less writes these memories to your neocortex, which houses your long-term memories… So the best thing to do after learning new information is to take a nap, or at least be idle.” Be happy, be clever, be idle.

Moreover, ‘doing nothing – really and truly nothing – actually makes your brain function better’. The key, as with most things in life, is achieving balance between activity and idleness. One without the other is, in the long run, neither productive nor healthy.