When I started writing, Is It Worth It?, it really was just for me – sort of like a journal. I wanted to find a way to reduce my complicated life to something manageable. I wanted to find what was really meaningful in my life, what was essential and worth pursuing. I had three online businesses at the time. I also was trying to write my life story to give to my children before I wasn’t around to write it. Add to that, I was volunteering both in the local community college and in my granddaughters’ classrooms, and learning to play the guitar. It was just too much. I’m a perfectionist and knew I wasn’t doing everything up to the level I’ve always set for myself.
After finishing the book, I realized there was one last chapter that needed to be written. Just why does anyone need to simplify their lives? When you can’t get it all done and done well, something needs to be eliminated. Yet, that’s too simple an approach. Besides, when you know who you are, you know that you’ll be back in the same predicament in short order. A messy desk can be straightened out. Keeping it that way is another story. And that thought got me to write, “Intuitive Living”.
I finally came to the understanding that simplifying one’s life was the way to find meaning in it —to find purpose. Finding meaning requires focus. Each thing in life may have meaning for you, but if you can only spend a few moments a day or week on whatever that is, that’s not focusing. And then none of those things really can rise to the top and be meaningful.
So many people believe they can multitask. Studies have shown that anyone who is multitasking is not doing a very good job on anything they’re doing. If you’re a perfectionist, seeing the less-than-perfect job is only going to frustrate you and add to your burdens. I liked the term that Greg McKeown came up with in his book, Essentialism. We can’t “multifocus”.
The purpose of simplifying can be different for different people. Maybe you’re one of those people who realize that with doing so many things, your stress level has escalated. Whatever you feel is your life’s meaning or purpose, when you’re in a state of stress, you can’t pursue it, or pursue it well.
Since you can’t be doing everything at one time, you need to figure out what is most important that should be done. What is that something that will move you toward your purpose or meaning of life?
What Does It Mean to Have a Meaningful Life?
Just what does it mean for life to have meaning? It’s going to be different for each person. For me it comes down to asking “Why am I alive and what do I need to accomplish in life or experience in life to make it worthwhile for me to have been alive at all?”
If I’m running around doing more than is humanly possible and not doing it in a way that I can be proud of, something has to change. I need to simplify my life so I can find what is most important. As I shared in my book, Is It Worth It?, we need to find what area of our life brings us the most satisfaction and make sure we have the time and mental space to make it happen.