It's About Time
Busy-ness is not same as satisfaction
'How much stuff do we really need to live? was the question I posed in my last column.
In the ongoing quest for a simplified life, today's question is, How much busy-ness do we need in our lives?
Just as many people try to pack too much stuff into their homes, in today's fast-paced world it's easy to see that too many try to pack too much activity into their days.
Julie Morgenstern, author of "Time Management from the Inside Out," writes, "Just as you can fit only so much into a closet or drawer, you can fit only so much into your waking hours."
And, just as a cluttered closet needs to be purged of the unnecessary -- so that only the important and valued (the "treasures") are kept -- one's schedule needs to be purged of the unnecessary, un-fulfilling and meaningless.
At first glance everything you do might seem necessary, but my favorite way to identify the "treasures" in my schedule is to apply the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 Rule.
According to the principle, which has practically universal application, 20 percent of our activities bring 80 percent, or most, of the satisfaction, while 80 percent bring only minimal satisfaction.
What is the 80/20 of your life? Ask yourself which activities bring you the most enjoyment.
Conversely, what are the activities that take 80 percent of your time but yield only minimal satisfaction?
Once you identify the vital 20 percent, focus on those and begin to pare down the rest.
If you're a parent whose children are engaged in a multitude of extracurricular activities that leave little or no breathing space for them (and you), ask them, "Of all the activities you're involved in, which do you enjoy the most?" And, "Which bring you the most satisfaction?"
By concentrating on the vital few, you can de-clutter your schedule, restore a saner pace of life and greatly increase your satisfaction.
I encourage you to do LESS, but do MORE of those things that really matter.
Ruth Wong owns Organization Plus. Contact her care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813, call 488-0288 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org