Originally posted in ZenHabits.Net
by Leo Baubata

I’m a former newspaper editor, and one of the things I learned was to edit brutally (no sarcastic comments about why I don’t do that with my blog posts). Cut out everything that’s not necessary, and you’ve got a more meaningful story.

I highly recommend editing your life.

Today’s edit: All the commitments in your life.

Take an inventory of the commitments in your life. Here are some common ones:

Work

  • (Write list)


Side work

  • (Write list)


Family

  • (Write list)


Kids

  • (Write list)


Civic

  • (Write list)


Religious

  • (Write list)


Hobbies

  • (Write list)


Home

  • (Write list)

You might have other categories. List everything.

Now take a close look at each thing on the list, and consider: How does this give my life value? How important is it to me? Is it in line with my life priorities and values? How would it affect my life if I dropped out? Does this further my life goals?

These are tough questions, but I suggest seeing if you can eliminate just one thing — the thing that gives you the least return for your invested time and effort. The thing that’s least in line with your life values and priorities and goals. Cut it out, at least for a couple weeks, and see if you can get along without it. Revisit this list at that time and see if you can cut something else out. Edit mercilessly, keeping only those that really mean something to you.

Each time you cut a commitment, it may give you a feeling of guilt, because others want you to keep that commitment. But it’s also a huge relief, not having to do that commitment each day or week or month. It frees up a lot of your time, and while others may be disappointed, you have to keep what’s important to you in mind, not everyone else. If we committed to what everyone else wanted all the time, we would never have any time left for ourselves.

Take the time to edit your commitments, and your life will be greatly simplified. You will thank yourself for it.

ABOUT LEO BAUBATA

Leo is the author of ZenHabits, which is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives, clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, creating something amazing, and finding happiness. He also founded Write To Done, one of the Top 10 Blogs for writers.

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