In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m not a big proponent of sacrifice, giving things up, or neglecting parts of yourself in order to achieve or reach a goal.
I’m all about joy and freedom now.
Sacrificing and putting things off creates an endless pursuit of delayed rewards and deferred life. It leads to what I call “Preparation Syndrome” — constantly preparing to live some day in the future.
The most common example of this in our culture is the act of sacrificing and working for years to attain a degree in a certain field, to get a so-called good job, to be able to afford the so-called good life.
Another instance is neglecting your social life and relationships for the pursuit of a self-centered goal, only to find that you have no one to share your happiness with when you achieve it.
This leads to compartmentalization and rarely to true lasting happiness.
On the other hand, suspending major transformations in the short term to make a permanent transformation can be a very noble pursuit.
For example, if you want to make the transition to working for yourself, you may need to put a hold on goals that aim to make major breakthroughs in personal fitness or a new relationship.
For a short period of time, you might choose to give up mastering the djembe? — a goal that may be deeply important to you — in order to focus those energies on building your business that will, in turn, give you more freedom to pursue your goal of Rasta Rockdom with more ease.
In short, deciding what you will give up for a year can result in you making a transformation that will lead to you never having to give up anything again for the rest of your life.
So, eager adventurer and fellow escape artist, what will you choose to give up in order to transform your work into one of deepest joy, meaning and contribution to the world?
Please know that while this might include giving up pursuing your goal of becoming a Jeet Kune Do master for a year, it need not be limited to shunning the pursuit of deeply important goals.
Every day, there are many ways we waste time (not the good kind of “doing nothing”), doing things that do not move us forward on our journey or further our higher development.
Like a gnat on amphetamines, we bounce idly from one superficial rush to the next. We put off our important work in place of short-lived pleasures. We feel a rush checking our Facebook profile for the seven hundredth time today, but we feel empty at the end of the day.
These fleeting diversions are the bane of our deepest development.
They keep us trapped in the same patterns, living the same safe, predictable, mediocre life, day after day.
These are some of the mindless amusements I had to give up in order to become the master of my own time.
- Idle banter around the coffee machine with coworkers.
- Pointless meetings that I had no real benefit or need in attending. (I found lots of clever ways to excuse myself from these meetings, like needing to meet deadlines for important clients.)
- Mindless checking of things. You know what I’m talking about: blog sub- scribers, new comments, Facebook likes, Twitter replies, email, Instagram.
- Reading blogs and mindlessly consuming media. (I chose classic books instead.)
- Mental masturbation that caused me to put off making important decisions. (“Should I choose that WordPress plugin, or this one. Hm, maybe I should ask Twitter. Oh look, squirrel!”)
- Endless planning. And revising plans. And then forgetting I made them and creating new, better plans.
- All of these things I found necessary to give up, and I shudder to think about how much time I regularly wasted on these futile pursuits.
So, what black hole, time-sucking activities do you need to give up in order to make this transformation?
Say goodbye to them for good without sorrow or second thought, and you won’t regret it.
What’s more important to you, freedom or email?
Mindless checking of things is a big problem for me. I check my email so much it is ridiculous.
Between checking Twitter likes/replies, emails and my Amazon ranking I waste so much time. I could have written two more books with the amount of time I waste doing mindless checking!
susanne iles says
I am a research junkie. I convince myself that it is important for my work. It is, BUT more often than not, I find myself so far down the information rabbit hole it takes me ages to clamber out and get back on track. After reading “Reclaim Your Dreams” I bought a little egg-timer to keep beside my computer and work table as a visual reminder that my time is finite and that I need to stay focused on the task at hand.
Haha, You got me:
“Endless planning. And revising plans. And then forgetting I made them and creating new, better plans.”
Good to see you back here! Let’s catch up soon.
Andrew Miles says
“A gnat on amphetamines” – describes me so well sometimes.
Mental masturbation is definitely a problem I have – I find it really easy to spend a LOT of time making pixel-perfect decisions that ultimately have no bearing on my core purpose.
More embarrassingly – but I know it’s something a lot of guys deal with – actual masturbation was for far too long a huge drain on my time and energy.
Having the discipline to stop these things carried over in a big way to my productivity.
I believe every decision you make comes with a sacrifice – to have one thing, you must always give up something else.
One thing that I’ve always struggled with is giving up the comfort and security of a mediocre life in order to live a life of fulfillment and freedom.
I too am a research and planning addict. Another statistic, approach or brainstorming session will make all the fear go away. Ha!
Now I’m onto reading about how others have done it to fortify the whimpering and anxious walls of determination.
Great slap in the face wake up call kind of post! I have 4 part-time jobs and find days get ruined by not focusing on one at a time and bouncing from email account to email account trying to respond to every message immediately.
Finding out how to manage that more efficiently would help me be more productive at every job. The fear of letting anyone down or seeming unprofessional by not being available all the time is holding me back.
Wow. You know, I’d SAY that freedom is more important, but actions often indicate otherwise. I’m learning, though, that “The Good Life” isn’t just about sacrificing for enough years to “enjoy” retirement when we’re old and decrepit…it’s simply about making tough decisions NOW. Choosing NOT to spend money on things that add no value to our lives, so that we can spend EXTRAVAGANTLY on things or experiences that give us most joy. And this post gave the great reminder that this applies to how we spend our TIME as well! Thanks Jonathan!
My biggest one is checking my analytics. Ever since they added the real time monitoring I just had to know when people were on my site. Especially when it was just getting started. Every time someone visited I had to watch and see what page they were on.
I am so guilty about the endless planning and revising.
It is just recently that I’ve realized that it is more imprtant to TAKE ACTION. If something doesn’t work we can always change direction and the best thing is we learned from it.
David Hindman says
I find that I keep tweaking my schedule around so that I derive more pleasure from my time. I enjoy setting goals and hitting them, and recently I decided to get more physically active. I set a goal of 12% body fat and to do that required getting to the gym every day. So I had to give up 90 minutes of something else – in this case, to fit my desired schedule, it was TV after work. Trying out small changes for a brief period of time can let you decide if that change works for you before committing. But you’ve already started taking action toward a habitual change, which can make the transition so much easier.
I really like the idea of the timer to keep yourself on schedule.
Great post, you got me on the endless checking of everything. But you are very right about it all. I have been trying to be more productive of my time but sometimes I find myself clicking endless through different websites and consuming articles after articles. Which can be counterproductive for my work flow.
so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your articles