Yesterday night, I threw away a bunch of things.
I uninstalled apps that were consuming more of my time than could be justified for the value they were adding. I took out some things such that they would never work their way back into my schedule. I deleted a bunch of songs that I had only listened to as part of a playlist, but had never sought out individually. I took out some people from my phonebook whom I'd like to avoid talking to. I uninstalled email and Facebook from my phone. I quit a bunch of WhatsApp groups.
This was a response to a realization that it is easy for things to pile up, things that take up time and energy but don't add anything to how I'd like to be living my life.
It was this Seth Godin post that got me thinking and made me do all of this.
Thank you, Seth.
In the post, he talks about how choosing function over culture can eventually lead to a dysfunctional organization. He takes the example of how a bully can end up in a position of authority or how you might end up working with a toxic co-worker who only has negative things to say about how things are run in the organization. (I have seen both such scenarios during my career). This happens when a bully is not reprimanded simply because he gets the job done and is functionally good, and because the toxic co-worker is an expert in her field of work.
To quote Seth Godin, "And, person by person, trait by trait, we build a broken organization because we believe that function trumps cooperation, inspiration and care. Until it doesn't, and then, all we've got left is a mess."
It is as true in our personal lives as it is for organizations. Little by little, we build a broken lifestyle because we believe that function trumps inspiration and care. Until it doesn't.
It is easy to let these things creep in and consume larger and larger chunks of time in our lives and it is inevitable that this happens.
The only way to avoid this is by constantly throwing away what should not be tolerated.
Set high standards. Make it hard for things to get on your calendar. And dedicate complete focus to the ones that do so.
You can do it every day, or every week. I prefer to do it once a week as I run on a weekly schedule as opposed to a daily schedule. But you can figure out what suits you best.
Keep asking yourself, what can you throw away this week?