Take what you want from this list. I find these things work, but your mileage will vary.
1. Do less. This is my productivity mantra, and it’s counterintuitive. I actually don’t believe in productivity, but instead believe in doing the important things. Do less, and you’ll force yourself to choose between what’s just busywork, and what really matters. Life then becomes effortless, as you accomplish big things while being less busy.
2. Having less is lighter. Start asking yourself if you really need everything you have, or if you just have it out of fear. Start to let go of what you have, so it doesn’t own you. And then, as you have less, you feel lighter. It’s wonderful.
3. Let the little things go. People who struggle often fight over little things. We obsess over things that don’t really matter. We create resistance instead of letting things glide off us. Let the little things go, breathe, and move on to the important things.
4. Clean as you go. I haven’t written about this for a long time, but early in the life of Zen Habits I wrote about the habit of cleaning as you go. Instead of letting the cleaning pile up, put things away when you’re done. Wash your bowl. Wipe the counters clean as you pass them. Sweep up dirt when you notice it. By cleaning a little bit at a time, as you make messes, cleaning up becomes a breeze, and it’s never difficult. By the way, this applies to everything in life, not just cleaning.
5. Make small, gradual changes. Most people are too impatient to follow this advice — they want to do everything at once. We have so many changes to make, but we don’t want to wait a year for it all to happen. As a result, we often fail, and then feel crappy about it. Or we don’t start at all, because so many big changes is intimidating and overwhelming. I’ve learned the hard way that small changes are incredibly powerful, and they last longer. Gradual change leads to huge change, but slowly, and in a way that sticks. And it’s effortless.
6. Learn to focus on the things that matter. This is implied in the items above, but it’s so important I have to emphasize it. Swimming (or any physical activity for that matter) is best done when you do only the motions that matter, and eliminate the extraneous motions. Stop thrashing, start becoming more efficient and fluid. You do this by learning what matters, and cutting out the wasted activity.
7. Be compassionate. This makes dealing with others much more effortless. It also makes you feel better about yourself. People like you more, and you improve the lives of others. Make every dealing with another human being one where you practice compassion.
October 10, 2011
Over the years, I've followed many different types of blogs: hiking blogs, bike touring blogs, Peace Corps blogs, and even drawing blogs. But I also like blogs that work on the inner "me". One such blog is called Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. He's published two books online, and now is getting ready to publish a third called "The Effortless Life". Below are some notes he posted on his blog that I thought were really good, good enough to share. But, go check out his site at zenhabits.net and book for yourself too.
October 2, 2011
I expect the marriage to last a long time in the future, but the honeymoon is definitely over.
What in the heck is he talking about?! Apple. Years ago, I was a computer geek even before personal computers (PC), from the MSDOS up through Windows XP, immersing myself in putting together hardware and writing software. But at one point, I just got fed up with Microsoft (MS) and decided to get a Mac (an Apple computer). My first Mac was an iBook laptop. It was a hard first couple of weeks, but after that, I was in love. I would never go back to MS, never!
When I got back from Mongolia in August, one of the first things I did was buy a new MacBook Pro (to replace the one I had stolen in Ulaanbaatar). Even though the new Lion OS has just been released, my laptop still had the last OS, Snow Leopard. I got a free upgrade to Lion and went through all the hoops to upgrade my OS. Some things I loved, especially the new Mail. Others were cool but I didn't really use much. On the downside, some programs wouldn't work, and it seemed, even with 4 gig of RAM, the MacBook ran a bit slow.
I stuck it out for 2 months, hoping that maybe an update would smooth out all the bumps that came with the new OS. But no. It was not to be. In some ways it was like I was back on an old Windows XP machine. I saw the "spinning ball" way too much, and on Apple programs no less. I was continually having to "force quit" applications and even rebooting, something I had never had to do with my other two Mac laptops.
I stopped off at the Apple Store the other day to talk to one of the folks at the Genius Bar. He didn't seem surprised in the least when I said I wanted to downgrade back to Snow Lion. I told him my plan, and he said it looked like I had everything covered. So, two days ago, I erased the Lion OS and began the slow, laborious task of loading Snow Lion OS and all my files (Time Machine is not backward compatible so everything has to be moved and copied manually).
Will I ever go back to Lion OS again. Who knows. I'll definitely watch the tone on the forums and such to see what others are experiencing. I still love my Mac but maybe I'll just skip this OS and wait for the next one. Whatever kind of cat it is - I hope this one will be housebroken though. [smile]