We live in a busy age.
We are constantly prodded to do a million things we “should” do.
Advertising, conventional wisdom, and social pressures continuously get in our face and tell us we should be doing more things.
Here is one more option to consider:
First, do all the profitable and pleasant things you can do for yourself and others.
Second, relax and consider if there are more profitable things you could do.
Third, if there’s no more profitable or pleasant things you can think of to do, then stop doing.
What do I mean by “profitable things”?
I’m not only talking about money. When I use the term “profit,” I mean the effect of your actions combined with whatever various other external factors, creates more benefits than detriments for yourself and others. The combination of your contributions with the external elements amounts to more benefit than the unimbued sum of the parts.
When you teach, do students feel pleased and enlightened?
When you have conversations, do your friends feel supported and encouraged?
When you work, do the things you create or do create a monetary profit or a pleasant outcome for yourself and others?
When you make love, is the person your with physically and emotionally intent and fulfilled?
When you exercise, does your body give you signals it is becoming healthier overall?
When you sleep, does your body let you know you’ve allowed it to restore itself?
When you interact with other things, are more benefits created than detriments?
If “You” + “Something Else” doesn’t lead to profitable outcomes more often than not, then consider stopping that course of action. Relax. Do less. Focus first, and maybe almost exclusively, on the activities where your contributions lead to pleasant and profitable effects for yourself and others.
Don’t busy up your life with all the work and social activities that don’t lead to profitable and pleasant returns. Don’t become unnecessarily anxious in inactive time slots. Rest.
Don’t just be busy because you feel guilty about being idle.
If you can’t do something profitable or pleasant, it may be better to do little or nothing at all.
Instead of busying your body and mind, consider using that time to evaluate the results of the few profitable and pleasant activities you are doing and look for other profitable and pleasant activities you’re not yet doing.
My father said to me yesterday: It’s not how long you do things that matters as much as the quality of what you do.
In life, as in business, there are very few things to do that prove to be significantly profitable in the long term. Most things that most people do are not significantly profitable in the long term. Yet, for reasons I can’t fully explain, we continue to busy up our time with benign, unprofitable, and unpleasant activities.
The answer is not simply to “do less.” Often, less is not more. However, prioritizing doing the fewer profitable and pleasant things may be a more profitable and pleasant path. Continue to try new things. Seek the good of others. And continue to regularly measure the effects of your actions.