Essentialism for a Simple Life

Your life style

I’m about to jump into my little campervan (named Brian) and head west to surf. 

It’s Friday morning, which means I might have finally nailed a shorter work week.

This lifestyle goal has been at the back of my mind recently. Having learned to surf in Sydney, I want to make the most of summer here.

It has taken me a while to synchronise with the seasons. At first, I resisted, fighting winter and the need to go inside. Now, winter is my time to reflect and focus on work projects. In summer, I chill and get out to explore with more downtime.

I have a little wooden ornament behind my desk which says ‘Live Simply’.

It has me thinking about how I can help The Wellbeing Academy members to keep it simple and stress-free.

Spring Cleaning

Earlier this year, I was feeling a little overwhelmed. This feeling can happen naturally to us as things build up – until they need a spring clean.

Spring cleaning is always good – any time of the year.

Clean your desk – you feel in control and ready for the next day.

Clean your room with everything in its place – you feel motivated to achieve your goals.

I have gone a bit further. I cleaned my Life Projects. 

I went back to what I called the Essentials.

Step 1 – Essentialism

I asked myself one question.

If I only had 4 hours this week, what are the things I must do that would make everything else easier?

That helps me identify the Essentials. They are pretty easy to spot because when you don’t do them, you feel your stress rising.

Step 2 – Ritualise

Essentials must be ritualised to ensure you can rely on them.

When and where am I when I do these?

I wasn’t doing my essentials consistently. It elevated stress. I realised I was trying them at the wrong time. With a few minor tweaks, they now have their appropriate time and space in my calendar, a time when I have the right energy to do them.

Step 3 – What if?

I added a third step, one that has had an powerful effect.

What if I could get these done by Tuesday?

Why Tuesday? Monday is known as the least productive day of the week. While I like to challenge convention, right now I am happy as a statistic. I enjoy our Sunday evening family roast and starting slowly on Monday.

So Monday is for planning and easy things.

I can get most of the Essentials and critical stuff done by Tuesday. Once I put my mind to it.

That leaves the rest of the week with a feeling of momentum and creativity. This goal that is easily achieved. I’ve been defining my ideal week for years. It constantly evolves.

What should you do now?

Take another look (again) at your goals and calendar and ask these three questions.

1. What are my absolute Essentials? What must I do each week?

2. Do I do it consistently? If so, where and when? If not, why not?

3. What if I could get my Essentials done by X?

Finally, sketch a reminder saying ‘Less is More’ or ‘Simplify’ and put it somewhere you look every day.

Because the less you start, the more you finish.

How are you going? 

Do you have any specific challenges or questions that you need help with right now? I am here to listen, be your accountability buddy or to explore with you.

There are modules such as Productivity and Time management at The Wellbeing Academy – but only IF you want to add some micro-learning to your Top 4!

James Parnell is the founder of The Wellbeing Gym, which provides online wellbeing, performance and productivity programmes to individuals and corporates.

The Wellbeing Academy is a community of curious people sharing micro-courses and mastermind programmes. Take a micro-course available on the public Academy or become a Community Member and receive all member courses free.