I’ve wanted to dedicate an entire series of blog posts to the topic of ‘doing less’ for a while now. We’re in a point in time where we’re working more than ever and taking less time off than ever. It’s no wonder that many of us are feeling overwhelmed and fed up with the amount of work that’s on our plate. With 9-5 work commitments, kids on the go and only a slither of to ourselves it’s no wonder that many of us wish we could hit the pause button and let ourselves catch a breath. To be a part of this series and continue this important conversation, read more below!
I have been heavily inspired by some recent readings by knowledge women who are at the forefront of a movement encouraging us to do less - without sacrificing results. Sounds impossible right? Otherwise, why wouldn’t more people have caught on to this years ago? It’s not impossible, in fact, it’s highly possible with a simple change in mindset and behaviour.
I’m a strong believer that we are a product of our own environment. Therefore when Kate Northrup, author of Do Less said ‘we live in this culture of doing for the sake of doing because we have associated being worthy and being valuable with being in action at all times’ it all made sense. Our environment and this culture of constantly having to ‘be in action’ just to feel worthy are what’s driving us into the ground in a burning heap. It’s why we’re all more stressed than ever, and why no matter how hard we work we never feel fully satisfied.
Deepak Chopra wrote a lot about the importance of daily acts of self-care and personal fulfilment. He doesn’t believe that the key to our personal health and wellbeing is all about not smoking, losing weight or going to the gym. It’s about ‘a continuous style of living where self-care matters every day in every way.’ He believes that only a holistic approach, where we observe our life as a whole rather than isolated factors is what will bring us closer to our fullest potential.
He believes that the lifestyle which our culture currently deems as ‘normal’ is blocking our ability to heal and grow.
How a ‘Normal’ Lifestyle Blocks Healing:
1. Daily activity gets driven by work, with its demand for achievement and success along with our fear of loss and failure.
2. Self-Esteem is built on external norms like getting promoted and being competitive.
3. With so much focus on externals, life is lived on the surface. As the outside factors get more organised, a person’s inner life doesn’t keep up.
4. Emotional needs are placed second or not faced honestly
5. Little or no attention is paid to chronic low-level stress.
6. Relationships settle into routine and habit
7. Physical activity and contact with nature begins to diminish over time.
8. There’s no higher vision of possibilities, thanks to the burden of constant demands and duties from family and work
9. Paying attention to health issues is temporary and intermittent. For the most part, little is done until actual symptoms appear.
Despite my young age, and the fact that I’m still in university, I am already setting myself up to fall into the traps which many are already in. So no matter what age or stage, the concept of ‘doing less’ needs to be discussed.
When we look at the big picture, we begin to realise that it’s only recently within the timeline of history that women have become valued for more than our ability to birth children or provide pleasure for men. If there is any time in history that we should be looking to make a personal change, it’s now. Because this is how it always should have been. You won’t find me man-shaming, but I am a big advocate for equality. Equality of men and women in all ways.
We currently live in a patriarchy where the masculine qualities are seen as the only valuable qualities. As women, we are programmed to believe that these masculine qualities are the valuable ones. They encourage us to live in a world which is all about ‘progress’, where everyone is either a winner or a loser, where we’re all driven by competitiveness and individualism - ‘me over we’. There is nothing wrong with the qualities of the masculine, we need structure and movement forward to push us. There is something wrong about how it’s over-celebrated and we fail to recognise the qualities of the feminine. Women, in order to keep up and maintain the power and freedom which we rightly deserved for so long, are forced to abide by these masculine qualities - associating our worth by our productivity and our income. Neither men or women win in this situation, so why are we still playing the game so wrong?
Whether you’re a parent, a student or a hardworking girl boss, I think we all need to have a little talk about giving ourselves a break and letting us catch our breaths. Not just because of the significant benefits, it’ll have in the quality of our work, but most significantly because of the benefit it will have to our lives.
I want to clarify that ‘doing less’ isn’t about slacking off and so we need to change our language around this. When I talk about ‘doing less’ I mean doing less of the things that don’t matter so we can show up for the things that do.
This means leaving behind things that we feel like society is pushing us to do to free up our time and enable us to focus on the things that are truly important to us and help us accomplish our goals.
The simple fact is, if things are really important they WILL get done. However, rather than focusing on what we shouldn’t be doing. This conversation is more about focusing on what’s truly important to us and letting the unimportant things fall out of our ‘tightly-knit’ calendars. It’s about ensuring we’re filling our cups before we pour from them. It’s about making sure we have enough time to foster great relationships and raise our children well. It’s about giving time to our hobbies simply because they make us happy. Or giving ourselves the opportunity to try something new because hey, you only live once. It’s about giving up the daily hum and buckling up for something more exciting and a whole lot more fulfilling.
If you’ve been looking for a sign to make a change in your life, this is it. From here on, if you were waiting for it, I’m giving you official permission to let shit go and say ‘fuck it’ to the things you do out of habit rather than out of passion.
This series of blog posts is about discovering what ‘doing less’ really looks like and what ‘being more’ feels like. We’ll be reviewing some inspiring books written by some badass women about how to help yourself detach from this engrained lifestyle of ‘busy’. We’ll be exploring how to re-discover what fills your cup and make small but significant changes to your daily life.
This isn’t about me telling you how you should or shouldn’t spend your time, this entire experience is for you to personalise and customise to where you’re at in your own journey.
Each blog post will come with a theme and most importantly a lesson which we can ponder over and experiment within our own lives. We’ll also be learning a lot about how our brains work and how we fall into these patterns of mindless ‘buzz’.
I would really love you all to join us on this journey of learning and being. This message is especially important for all the women out there who take way too much onto their own plate out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s for all the mum’s out there who would sacrifice their ‘me-time’ until the cows came home just to care for their children. And it’s about supporting women to look after themselves first and be okay with saying no to opportunities that don’t fill us up.
To show your support for this message, I encourage you all to share this blog post on your Facebook timeline or send it directly to a friend or family member in your life who you would like to journey with. This process of learning and becoming will be even more inspiring if you can bring someone you care about along for the ride.
Let’s change the language about ‘doing less’ and empower ourselves and others to ‘be more’ instead.
From our home to yours,
Hi there! Thanks for checking out the Live Lively blog. I am so excited to share my passion for productivity, personal growth and wellbeing!