One of the most useful ideas that I gleaned while reading The Power of Less by Leo Babauta (which I reviewed here), was the Short List.
What’s a Short List?
Leo talks about the short list here. Basically, it’s a list of the 3-5 most important things in your life. Things that you want to spend time with, time on, learning, or improving. Once you’ve defined them, you can then proceed to build your life around the items on this list, for now. Your list can change later if you want it to (it’s your list, after all.)
My Short List
Like most everyone, I have a long list of things that I want to accomplish in my life: things to try, to do, to see, etc. I took a few days to write down all of my interests and goals, then sat down and looked for patterns. Many things come up multiple times, in different forms. Or the same interest seems to repeat itself over time. These things are what made it to my current short list. And without further ado…
In no specific order, here is my short list:
- money (business)
- making things (art)
(Well, I say no specific order, but I mean after marriage. Marriage is first, the rest are listed randomly.)
After coming up with this list, I realized that these items are reflected in my life list, which just illustrates what I mentioned above. These are the interests that repeatedly appear. Marriage falls under family; money fits in both the financial and professional categories; motorcycle fits both under travel and hobbies; making things fit under hobbies, professional, and education.
Minimalism is what will enable me to focus on these other interests, which I wrote about here.
So now that my short list is made, what is the next step? Now it’s time to focus. I feel that I’ve been fairly successful in focusing on these five areas of my life for the past few months. However, I want to do so in a more conscious way. This means dropping other interests, at least for the time being. If they don’t pertain to an item on my short list, then it’ll have to wait until a later date. It also means not accepting new demands on my time.
I’ve already been focusing on minimalism in my life, which became apparent to me as I worked through the Minimalist Experiment and the 100 Thing Challenge. I will continue to explore this lifestyle in order to better focus on the other items on my short list.
As I’m earning my art degree, a great deal of my time is already spent on making things. Even though I have issues with school, I have another year until I will graduate. At that time, I will shift how I am focusing on making things.
I haven’t decided if I want to tie money/business together with making things or not. In some ways I think that would be ideal, and sometimes I think that they need to be separate. At this moment, the two definitely don’t coincide, though I will be experimenting to see if they work better together.
As a year-round motorcycle rider, I also already have a motorcycle focus. However, I want to expand that focus to include more traveling.
Marriage is my main focus, as it is one of the cores around which my life is built. This focus was one of my motivators to try minimalism. I had too many distractions that kept me from spending time with my wife. As I removed them, I found that our relationship improved, which only made me want to continue.
What about you?
Now you’ve seen my short list. Do you have one? I would love to see it. Post it in the comments, or link to it on your blog. What’s important to you?