Do Less and Live More

Note: This is a guest post from Melissa of Melissa Camara Wilkins.


“How are you?”

How many times do you hear that every week? We all know not to answer “fine.” Fine isn’t a thoughtful answer. Fine means we didn’t think about the question.

Instead we have another default answer, don’t we? We’re busy. We’re all busy. How are you? Busy.

It’s true, so many of us are busy. Even as we try to simplify our homes, our calendars have a tendency to stay packed full.

When we start eliminating the extra stuff from our houses, we find new pockets of free time—the time we would have spent taking care of all that stuff. You’d think, then, that we would have plenty of open space in our schedules.

But there are so many options competing for those extra minutes that we can keep adding to our calendars until there’s no time left. We’re busy.

Sometimes being busy feels good, and sometimes keeping busy makes us feel important. But you are valuable because of who you were made to be, not because of the activities you do. Your worth does not depend on your busyness. You can do fewer things, even if the things on your calendar are all good things.

And the things we keep busy with often are good things. There’s volunteering, there’s being a friend, there’s work. There’s regular old household chores. And if you have kids, there’s sports, scouts, classes, clubs, and lessons, enough to fill every minute of the day, and it seems like everyone else is doing them all, so it must be possible.

We stop asking each other: How are you? And we start asking: How do you do it all?

The most important way to think about that question doesn’t have anything to do with your process. The best answer to that question has to do with your purpose.

You don’t have to do it all. You can quiet your schedule. You can choose mindfully.

Focus on purpose over process.

Instead of asking: How do I do it all?

Start asking questions like: Why am I choosing this? Does this feed my family or nourish my soul? Was I made for this?

If your schedule lines up with your purpose, wonderful! Keep doing what you’re doing, and keep asking for help when you need it.

But if you weren’t made for this—whatever this is that’s filling your schedule—stop.

Let go of activities that aren’t a good fit for you or your family. Let go of activities that might be great, but are too much for this season. There will be other seasons. Let go of activities that everyone else is doing. You aren’t everyone else. You were made to be you, on purpose.

You can focus on what’s right for you. Do what fits your personality, your passions, your purpose, your values, your family. Do more of that, and less of everything else.

It’s hard to be the person you want to be if your days leave no room for contemplating who that person even is. (tweet that)

Let go, and you’ll find more space to be yourself.

A minimized schedule can have maximum impact.

When you don’t do it all:

– You need less stuff.

Every activity comes with its own clothes or shoes or tools or toys. If you eliminate the activities that aren’t best for you, you won’t need all the props to prop up a lifestyle you don’t even want.

– You relieve pressure.

With fewer activities, there’s less stress on your calendar and your budget. You have less worry about carpools, traffic, and arrival times. You relieve that feeling of living through over-full, overcomplicated days.

– You have more time for your soul to breathe.

More free time means more space for stillness and contemplation. It means more space for dreams and growth. It means more time for listening and reflecting.

When there’s open space in your calendar, there’s more room in your heart for considering your place in the world, for thinking about who you are and how you intend to live.

Kids with more free time get to practice using their imaginations, and really, so do we adults.

Enough busyness.

Live out your purpose. Live your values. You don’t have to do it all. You just have to be yourself, and do what you were made to do.


Melissa Camara Wilkins writes a beautiful blog for unconventional souls who want to live differently, think differently, and see the world a little differently. Her book, DO YOUR THING: How to Find Time to Do What Matters, is free for you today.

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