Happy November 1. What are you working on this month? I’m committing to more writing, more sleep, more joy, and more quality time with friends and family. I’ve really been inspired lately by multiple podcast interviews I’ve heard with Greg McKeown, the author of Essentialism, the Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Here is a description of the book:
The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s not about getting less done. It’s about getting only the right things done. It’s about challenging the core assumption of ‘we can have it all’ and ‘I have to do everything’ and replacing it with the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time’. It’s about regaining control of our own choices about where to spend our time and energies instead of giving others implicit permission to choose for us.
McKeown talks about the importance of doing a quarterly inventory of your life to identify what is truly essential. When we are trapped in the daily grind, we tend to feel like everything is essential and important, when in fact, very little actually is. He suggests that the quickest way to identify what is essential to you is to ask a few simple, but provocative questions: If you had only one week to live, what would you do? If you had only a month to live, what would you do? If you had only a year to live, what would you do? And if you had the rest of your life to live, what would you do?
Try this exercise and you’ll quickly discover whether or not your lifestyle and the things you are doing each day are in alignment with your values and your heart’s desires. We tend to delay our dreams and the things that bring us true joy for a time when “things settle down” or “when we get through this or that”, but that day never seems to come and suddenly you realize much more time has passed than you had intended. Instead, see what non-essential tasks, obligations, or other stuff you can dump, delegate, automate, simplify, or optimize so that you can make space for joy TODAY.
Don’t just think about what you want to achieve this month, this about how you want to FEEL. Commit to pursuing the RIGHT things for you. And as you do, here is a round-up of a few fun apps I’m loving right now that you can incorporate into your dream lifestyle.
Lift and Lift Coaching Lift is a cool app and community that helps you to “put your goals into actions”. There are expert-led plans or you can create custom goals. You can use Lift to help hold you accountable and keep you focused on anything you are trying to achieve. There is a great story in the productivity/life hacker community about comedian Jerry Seinfield’s secret to success. He simply committed to writing jokes everyday, good or bad, and marked each day that he wrote on a calendar. Us humans have something inside of our brains that makes us not want to “break the chain”. Lift works in the same way. Psychologically we start by simply wanting to keep the chain going, and then eventually we’ve created new habits. I’m extra excited about Lift now because they have just launched “Lift Coaching” and there is code currently on the site for 2 weeks free coaching (otherwise it is $14.95/month). I just hired a coach to help me create a daily writing habit, something I’ve been really struggling with. She has already messaged me with great advice and the accountability factor of having someone checking in on me to see if I’m writing is exactly what I was missing.
Cash by Square Inc. I learned about this cool app from Less Doing guru, Ari Meisel. I’m currently participating in his awesome 8-week Less Doing Bootcamp and I’m totally geeking out on some of the cool tools we’re learning more about. If you aren’t familiar with Ari’s work, drop everything and get his life-changing book “Less Doing, More Living” – the man’s a genius! The Cash app solves the mildly annoying problem of cash exchanges. In the past week I’ve saved myself the time and stress of having to run to the ATM or trying to remember that I have to pay someone back for something multiple times. You simply download the app to your smartphone and link your bank card to it (read all about Cash Security here) . The person on the other end does the same. You can request or send money. It’s similar to Paypal but it’s FREE. I’ve used it this week to send money to a friend collecting for a birthday gift, to pay an assistant, and to collect money for a Community Supported Agriculture bag of veggies that I front the cash for.
Delectable Wine App I love a good glass (ok, maybe a few glasses) of Pinot Noir once in a while. When I do indulge, I want to make sure I’m drinking something that I absolutely love, but I never really had a great system for tracking the wines that I fall in love with. I would take photos of wines I like, but then they would get buried forever in my iPhoto, meaning I end up buying the same 2 wines again and again. Enter, Delectable! This FREE wine app is like Instagram for wine lovers. You take a photo of the wine label and it will show you what other Delectable users have said about it and how they have rated it. You can use this app to track the wines by taking your own photos and note and you can also use it to help you determine what you want to purchase. You have the option to follow sommeliers and other users. You can even tag who you are sharing a bottle with and where you are so that you can remember special moments. My last Delectable post – A smooth and delicious Chilean Pinot Noir from Pinot Evil Cellars I discovered on sale at CVS for $5! I rarely trust cheap wines, but this one was outstanding and the reviews confirmed it. Here is one Delectable member’s take on it: “Clean, light raspberry nose. Dry, medium acidity, low tannin, light body. Flavors of raspberry and red plum, hint of damp hay. Short finish.”
Cheers to your “Essentialist” November. Wishing you lots of mental space and time to design and create your dream life, full, but not too full, of the all the RIGHT things for you.