Do less.

I am a master of the to do list.
I’ m quite good at getting stuff done.
Both in business and in private life.

I do even better with my long term goals:
Write them down, forget about them and
a couple of years later they are achieved.

I don’t mean this ironically.
It is a fact of my life and most people would envy
me for my ability to get stuff done.

A few of my friends are even better
at this game than me.
Entrepreneurs who are even more determined than me.
They achieve bigger goals, faster than me and
and then move on to the next one.

But recently I picked up on some strange signals that make me
want to get out of this game.I realised that while I felt
some contentment about achieving a lot,
my happiness did not increase with getting more accomplished.
One trigger was a simple statement,
picked up on twitter:

You are not your to do list.

    Later, over Christmas,
    I read a book with the rather blunt title “fuck it”.
    It’s  more refined message is, in my words:

    We attach so much meaning to so many things in life,
    that we become too attached. And we miss life on the way.

      Aterwards I discovered the fantastic blog
      of Leo Barbauta, http://zenhabits.net/.
      (My favourite  post)

      Leo writes about a lot of the  things that
      I’ve been doing for quite some time now.
      Getting fit, consume less.
      Our home is actually quite minimalist
      and I work a lot to keep my life simple.

      – Er, repeat that: I work a lot to keep my life simple.

      Phew. There I said it. There must be a better way to do this.
      I don’t want to work a lot to keep my life simple.

      Do less. Want less. Breathe.

      4 comments

      1. Well, life is not digital (or a to do list). Life is a burning bush. As I said before so many times. Let me finish your sentence (“Our home is actually quite minimalist and I work a lot to keep my life simple.”) in my own words: “Your home is your mind and body. And you can’t move to another home.”. Remain cautious of subtenants too. It is not desirable Being John Malkovich…

      2. What kind of tool or general principle you are using to manage your todos?

      3. Hi Andreas,
        no tools at all.
        Long term goals and values are all in a constantly evolving word document.
        I look at it maybe every two to three months and then forget about it.
        But there never was anything in that document that I did not get done in the end.
        Maybe worth another blog post.
        Short term Tasks: A4 / Legal pad, I write all my task down and just get them done.
        Maybe a new list every week. crossing off done tasks is so rewarding,
        I don’t want to do that online.

      4. Sounds good. Basically I’m doing it the same – with long-term goals in a Google Doc, short-term to-dos on both paper (for business) and online (for private tasks).

        And you are absolutely right: Crossing off on real paper indeed feels most rewarding.

        I even tend to make a new to-do matrix every other day. Through taking over the same tasks over and over again I always get a comfortable reminder to finally really get things done.