Eliminate the Non-Essential From Your Life

by Stephen Mills on February 11, 2009

Eliminate the Non_Essential

In How to Thrive by Accomplishing the Essential I discussed the philosophy of Leo Babauta that advocates a two-step processes to simplification.  Identify the Essential and Eliminate the Rest.  Here are some tips on how to eliminate the rest.

  1. If any particular task does not progress one of your essential goals it should be eliminated.
  2. Start gradually as this will be a major behavioral change in your life.
  3. Conduct periodic reviews (daily or weekly) of all your tasks and commitments.  Eliminate any new items added that do not progress your essential goals.  Continue the gradual elimination of prior tasks until you completely eliminate all non-essential activity.
  4. For any task you are performing ask the question: “At this point in time, out of everything I could be doing, is this the very most important one to be working on?”  If the answer to that question is no then don’t do it.  If it will always be no then eliminate it.
  5. Every day before you do anything else identify your most important tasks (MITs), your big rocks, or whatever else you call them.  I find that 1 to 3 items works best for me but your specific situation might be different.  Don’t list more than 4 or 5.
  6. Before you start reading email and end up chasing rabbits or getting caught in email chains, or any other typical daily chaos, complete your 1 to 3 MIT’s/Big Rocks.
  7. Say no. Unless you stop taking on commitments you will never succeed at escaping the rat race or living a happy life.  Another’s want or desire is not a commitment on your time or your ife.
  8. Start now.
  9. Stop watching TV right now!

Please comment and let me know what you think.

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Random Thoughts on Success — The Rat Race Trap
April 23, 2009 at 6:35 am

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chris February 11, 2009 at 10:22 pm

That is a good little list for being more productive.
Though, for some of us sorting though the e-mails is one of the big rocks.


Stephen - Rat Race Trap February 11, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Chris, a big rock is something important. Is sorting through email a big rock or a necessary evil for you? Do you have an email method like “getting to zero”? How often do you process emails each day?


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