It sounds paradoxical, but there is a freedom and even a power that can come from setting limits.
I discovered this after I started working with Ari Meisel. Ari is officially self-titled an “Achievement Architect.” He helps people achieve things by improving their efficiency in all areas of their lives.
We decided to start with email.
It’s not going too far to say that my email inboxes are crazy full. After telling me about two free programs that would help me deal with the mail (Baydin’s Email Game and OtherInbox), Ari said that he never has more than 10 messages in his inbox at a time.
My mind boggled at the idea of having such an empty inbox.
Imagine, if you will, a monster from Greek mythology, with huge open jaws, continuously spewing out bank and credit card notifications, newsletters, client/potential client emails and more. God bless the search function.
THAT was my inbox.
And yet…two days later, I was staring at an inbox with just 2 messages in it.
After triumphing over one inbox (I admit that the larger and uglier one is still being worked on) I started folding some laundry. As I prepared to place a stack of folded t-shirts in a dresser drawer, I noticed how stuffed the drawer would be, to the point where I would have difficulty opening and closing it.
So I took all the t-shirts out and counted them. Then I thought about the fact that I only really wear these t-shirts when I work out. How often do I work out? Five – six days per week. So how many t-shirts do I need? Six (well, I made eight my limit, since I sometimes get behind on laundry).
And it’s not going to stop there. I’ve started on my mailing supplies (surely a limit of two sheets of charity return address labels is enough, since I send maybe 30 pieces of snail-mail per year) and plan to set a limit of one notebook (how often do I write anything in long hand anymore?).
Limits also needn’t be placed on just physical, tangible, stuff.
They can also be placed on things like:
- How many books you read at one time.
- How many browser tabs you have open at once.
- How many projects you work on at the same time.
At this point you may be saying “Yes, it’s nice to get rid of physical or mental clutter and excess crap, but where is this freedom you’re writing about?”
- The freedom to not have to think about it (“Where is [insert item]?!”).
- The freedom to not panic and feel overwhelmed when I see all the emails in my inbox.
- The freedom to focus fully on one thing at a time.
In other words, setting limits frees up mental space.
With this freed up mental space, you can focus on:
- Your business.
- Your clients.
- Your projects.
- Whatever you want.
And THAT is freedom.
Feeling overwhelmed by how much you have to do for your business? Thinking about setting limits on what you do and outsourcing your marketing and writing? Contact me for a complimentary consultation.