Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F***

The title of this post is the title of the book I've been reading lately.

Er, listening to lately. I've rediscovered space in my life for audio books and podcasts since I started spending more time in my car (see: commuting to school at night).

You might recognize the cadence of the book title from its rampantly popular inspiration, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. In that book, the author teaches you the art of decluttering your life by honestly and carefully deciding what physical possessions you REALLY need, and parting ways with the things you don't. (Note: something that used to be a beloved yes, might be a no now. Try not to confuse the two.)

Inspired by the concept, author Sarah Knight wrote her own spin on the idea -- honestly and carefully deciding what things and people you are allocating your emotional/social/etc resources to.

Subtitle: How to Stop Spending Time You Don't Have with People You Don't Like Doing Things You Don't Want to Do

One key is to view your emotional resources as finite, with a limit, like a bank account. When you're saving up for a big purchase, you're more careful about the other random things you throw money at, right? Well....think about what people and activities you really want to give the budget of YOU to. And then learn to remember that giving any of that resource to something you don't really want is not a consequence-less decision -- it actually pulls you away from the things you want most.

How many parties do you attend that you don't want to go to? How many causes do you donate to that you don't care about? How many people do you maintain relationships with that drain you more than they give back to you?

The idea isn't, in Knight's words, to be an asshole. The idea is to have boundaries.

And coming from someone who sometimes surprises myself with my good boundaries but sometimes just really sucks at it, this book has been good for me. Even if something is pretty good, is it best? Even if someone messages you and you're in a hurry and there's 5 other messages to respond to, do you have to stop what you're doing and get to them all immediately? Even if there's something you could help with, does it have to be you? Every time?

No. It really doesn't. Even if it feels like it does.

What things really top your list, when you make it a short one? What people?

Allocate your resources to them first. If you have leftovers, be flexible from there. But you don't owe anything to anyone other than that.

Say no to a fun casual party multi-level marketing sales event a friend invites you to when you don't like the product. Say no to Snapchat if everyone is on it but you just plain don't feel like it. Say no to extra volunteer work in your community or church that, yeah, you could be great at -- but so could someone else. Say yes when you want to say yes. Say no when it gives you more time to say yes in other more-important-to-you places. And then shrug off any lingering guilt about that decision and mosey on forward.

My list-toppers right now? My important people. My work. My education. My alone time. My sleep. A few key social causes I care the most about. And from there, sprinkle in chores and exercise and errands depending on the day and the week as my mental budget allows.

Go forth and declutter, my friends. There is zero need to keep overspending yourselves.
^^^recently said yes to getting soaked during the workday in order to get free flowers from an event in another building. Zero regrets.

p.s. fair warning to anyone who doesn't like the word "fuck" -- you might want to choose a different book ;) If the title wasn't a giveaway.


Budget Splurge Beauty said...

Advice that everyone should heed, really!! However I will say not being on Snapchat is a mistake because snapchat filters are the best things to happen to social media in, well, ever. ;)

Kailee said...

This is a really great post! I have been super busy lately and this will be a great thing for me to continually keep in mind! It's really true, I'm happiest when I'm doing things that I want to do, and while it's great to help others and stuff, if I only have so much time, I cannot spend it all on that.

Krystle said...

I really agree with this so much. For a long time I felt beholden to do what people asked me because I felt like I had to, or because it was what I was "supposed" to be doing. But as of late I have decided that I am the captain of my ship, and who else knows what my ship should be doing better than me?