Decluttering possessions has become very popular in the last few years and I have been one of those excited about living with less. But what about decluttering your time? Is there something in your life that is sucking your energy, your emotions, your finances or your time? or even draining all of them?
In our busy lives we often do things and forget why we started. We continue long after the activity has served any useful purpose. Sometimes we do things out of tradition or duty with no benefit to any of the participants.
Sometimes we do thinks that we absolutely know we don’t want to. In economics it is known as the ‘sunk cost fallacy’. We believe that as we have already paid money or invested time in something we should continue on with it
The phrase “Beating a dead horse” comes to mind. You registered for the class, have figured out it sucks but keep going because you already paid upfront. Or you started a hobby bought all the equipment and it bores you but you already have all the gear, may as well stick it out. You will never get the money back, yet continuing with something that is wasting your time or resources becomes doubly wasteful. Imagine if you had limited time, an expiry date would you keep doing it? Well you do have limited time, so now would be a good time to consider stopping.
If you are ready to look at the wasteful clutter of your commitments and where your focus is, there are some things you can do.
Look at your life and come up with a list of the things that you really don’t like doing, or feel any resentment towards spending time on. Choose one at a time and and ask yourself these questions.
What are the consequences if I quit?
Am I doing it for others who could do it for themselves?
Am I enabling someone’s bad behavior by doing this?
is it necessary?
Is it useful?
is it helpful?
Is it pleasurable?
Does it serve any real purpose?
Does it waste my time?
And finally is it moving my mission forward? By mission I mean whatever is your life’s passion and purpose, whether that be your work, business, relationship or any future plans.
As you honestly answer the questions you may see that there are some things in your life that you are able to let go of, or at least recognize that you have a desire to.
There are also the mundane activities that can waste our time.
Here are some suggestions of things that I have saved time on by giving up or doing differently.
Sending Christmas/Holiday cards I am down to a much smaller list, saving time money and energy. When we were kids I remember my Mum sending cards at Christmas. Some of those on the list were so far in her past she wasn’t even sure if they were still alive!
Magazine subscriptions. I now only take one at time. If I dont feel like reading it all, I recycle it and move on.
Gym membership I didn’t go regularly so canceled.
Football/Sports games. I don’t enjoy them and used to go just to be sociable. Now I have made a decision to spend my time and money on something I actually enjoy.
Ironing/Cleaning When I lived in England I paid someone to do my cleaning and ironing. I tend to wear less formal clothes that don’t need ironing these days. Earning money doing something you love to earn money to pay for something you don’t is a great trade.
Junk mail I used to spend a ridiculous amount of time sorting through mail and shredding unwanted correspondence. Since I signed up with some of the websites below I don’t receive anywhere near as much.
Check out some of these in the US
DMAChoice for Direct Mail Opt Out
To Opt Out Of Credit Card Offers
Opt Out for Catalogues
In the UK
The Mailing Preference Service
Social Media AKA The Time Suck of the century
Facebook friends. Yes I have decluttered my list and as I have said many times before. Facebook in my opinion ‘guilts’ us by calling it ‘friending’ in really it is an online connection. I realize some people friend you for no reason other than to sell you something and others are great in person but I don’t want to be part of their online space. Then there are others who have moved on and are no longer part of my circle. Delete, unfriend , unfollow whatever keeps your mental space less cluttered. Remember your are not unfriending you are merely disconnecting online. Those two things are very different. There are also legitimate security reasons for keeping a smaller ‘friend’ list online.
Email Unsubscribe from anything that you have no interest in or have promised you will read later, because chances are you won’t.
Your time and resources are extremely precious. Use them doing things that you really want and not living someone else’s agenda. There are plenty of things that we HAVE to do. Make sure you are not adding unnecessary things to that list out of habit, fear or people pleasing.
Making just a few small changes could leave you feeling, lighter, happier and a little less burdened. Move away from time wasting activities then you will have time for things you truly want to do. Give it a try and tell me what you have chosen to let go of in the comments.