“The whole purpose of doing less is to have the experience of having more. Not more stuff, but more meaning in our lives.” -Kate Northrup
There are so many wonderful things I have to say about Do Less by Kate Northrup. I think it should be a required read for any woman out there. I have a type A personality and I have been raised to believe that I need to constantly be busy doing things and accomplishing more to prove my worth. I’m working to change this belief, but it is a belief that runs deep. My life is full of obligations and I have very high expectations of myself. Reading this book was a wonderful reminder that I don’t need to do it all.
“Do Less” is set up in two parts. Part one explains the research that we are more productive when we don’t work so much. When we actually focus on our top priorities, we stop spinning our wheels and get something accomplished. Plus we don’t burn ourselves out, so our health gets a boost. Part two is a series of 14 experiments that you can try in your life. You can do them in any order and at your own pace.
Here are a few experiments I want to try this summer:
Experiment 2: Discover What Really Matters to You
This experiment involves looking at your top priorities in comparison with how you are spending your time. When we don’t ask ourselves what matters to us, we spend our lives doing the things that matter to other people (like parents) or the things that our culture sees as important. When we spend our time in alignment with what matters most to us, we feel much more fulfilled.
Experiment 7: Simplify
We can all find ways to simplify our lives. We live in a fast paced world with so many options for everything. This tends to leave us with homes that are overstuffed and calendars that are filled to the brim. I plan to focus on freeing up time in my schedule. I really benefit when I have time to practice yoga, go for a walk, read a book, and just hang out with my family. When my schedule gets too full, I feel a lot of pressure and anxiety physically in my body. A few ideas listed in the book for ways to simplify include grocery delivery, capsule wardrobe, diaper delivery service, cutting down on holiday gifts, and donating old items instead of going through the hassle of selling.
Experiment 11: Streamline Your To-Do List
Kate’s take on a to-do list is so refreshing! She suggests writing a weekly to-do list that includes your 3 most important tasks. I am guilty of writing 20+ things down on my list and feeling defeated because I only accomplished 2 things on the list. I tend to try to get the small things out of the way before I start my big projects. This generally leads to me pushing off my big projects. When you only have 3 things on your list, you can guarantee they are going to be your biggest items for the week. You don’t waste your time on the unnecessary details that can eat up so much time.
I am excited to give these experiments a try this summer. I highly recommend getting a copy of this book for yourself and seeing which experiments you feel drawn to in your life. We could all benefit from spinning our wheels less and gaining some more meaning in our lives.