Simplify Before You Organize

Philosophy

As we prepare to move (yet again), we’re faced with the same question we always ask: what should we do with all our stuff? Despite paring down each time we move, we as human beings (or maybe more so as Americans) just tend to accumulate stuff. It comes in through your mailbox, in grocery and shopping bags, and via all those many packages from Amazon (hey, free shipping!).

I recently took an airplane-ride-skim of a little book called 30 Days to a Simpler Life. It’s about ten years old, but the advice was largely still relevant. One of my favorite takeaways was to

Simplify before you organize

It makes perfect sense when you read it, but it’s easy to work quite differently. Whether you’re looking at too many shoes in your closet, projects scattered around the office table, or even todos that are rolling around in your head, the tendency might be to think “okay, I need to put all this in a nicely structured system, and then I can decide what to do with it all.”

wrong.

Instead, whip through whatever mess you have and mercilessly delete things. Delete might mean throwing it in the garbage, recycling it, giving it away, or crossing it off your mental list before it ever sees the light of your GTD app. In the end you’ll spend less time organizing, and you’ll buy less stuff to organize with.

5 Tips for beginning bloggers

Philosophy

I never thought I’d write a post like this. The internet is already packed full of entire blogs devoted to blogging about how to be a good blogger. But increasingly I find myself repeating the same little tidbits of advice (usually in a grumpy, ranting tone) to all my friends that start new blogs.
I’m [...]

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Haircuts and Tradeoffs

Philosophy

Eliminating the obvious time- and space-wasters is a great first step. After you get those out of the way, it’s time to start making the tougher decisions.

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Work hard, play hard, rest hard

Philosophy, Travel

We’re now two weeks into our two month Mexican excursion, and I’ve been doing my best to apply that motto.

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Process vs Outcome

Philosophy

Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in
disaster.

– Robert Pirsig, from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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4HWW Work Defined

Philosophy

At the end of a recent podcast, Tim finally did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while: he defined work.
“Financially-driven work, or work that you would prefer to spend less time on”
Simple as that. Under this definition, a 4-hour work week seems a pretty plausible goal. The 4HWW book title and subtitle, [...]

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Optimizing vs. Satisficing

Philosophy

Most of the time, good enough is good enough. Join me in making the shift to satisficing.

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Our 4HWW Workflow, part 1

Philosophy

Work, play, serve, outsource. Here is part one of our decision making process.

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Inclinations and Epiphanies

Background, Philosophy

The following is a list of events from my past that have helped make the principles of 4HWW resonate so strongly with me:

1980’s: My elementary school is the first in the state to switch to a “year-round” schedule. I learn the value of, and become accustomed to, shorter bursts of focused work with vacations spread [...]

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