Choosing NOT TO


“Sometimes what you don’t do is just as important as what you do.”

– Buffett & Clark as quoted in Essentialism

When I read this statement, I thought of all of the choices that come my way each day.  I thought of the ads & other junk mail that fill the mailbox & then create the paper piles on the table.  I thought of the daily barrage of emails that ask for attention as my inbox count continues to rise. And I thought about the amount of time that I’m able to allot to ALL of the tasks that I have hopes of doing each day.

Often, the time needed for the amount of tasks & activities on my list is just not there. And when I realize that is THE TRUTH, then I it’s time to change my strategy.

This is when recognizing the power of choice in my life can be a game changer. When I truly embrace that I get to decide what to spend time on & what I can let go of, then big shifts can happen.

Here are some steps that can make it easier for me to choose what is important & necessary vs. the things I don’t need to do.

Start by practicing this skill in an area that feels safe (fairly risk-free) or in an area of my life that has been nagging at me to make a change. Often my gut knows what is important & what really feels like a waste of time.

Take a step back. Pull back from the immediacy of things & take a look at the overall picture. Make a short list of the things that are non-negotiable (I need or want to do these things).

Now look at my usual patterns with curiosity. Ask myself if I’m doing things out of habit or because I have always done it that way & haven’t considered another option.

Then create a statement that becomes my “new normal.”  These are the words I can tell myself every time I’m tempted to do more than is necessary or essential. Use this statement:

“I am choosing to spend time on things that are urgent & align with my values.

Reminder – I can choose not to do something for a temporary amount of time.  I can always bring it back into my life when the time is right.

As Greg McKeown says in Essentialism, “our options may be things, but a choice – a choice is an action.  It is not just something we have, but something we do.”

I’m going to grant myself the freedom to NOT Do a few more things & instead spend that time on the stuff that really matters.

Kate Buckmeier

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