Breathing Room

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

Steve Jobs

Clutter is a very visible thing. You can see it stuffed on bookshelves and overflowing on dressers. You can see it pilled in closets, hanging off unused at-home exercise machines, and clustered in junk drawers. You can even see it in our digital lives: overflowing emails, apps, friends, tabs, Desktop screens, notes, and files.

But what makes clutter feel like clutter?

Is it because things are unorganized and ‘out of place’ compared to where you would expect them? Or maybe it’s because things are too many things compared to the space available?

My vote is on clutter feels like clutter because it doesn’t have the space it (whatever it is) needs to be useful and comfortable (for lack of a better word).

Think about it—

A desk isn’t very useful if you’re stuff is everywhere and so overpowering and distracting that you can’t actually sit down (or stand up) and work unless you wade through all the clutter first.

A bookshelf isn’t very enlightening if you can’t find the book you are looking for, or worse—you see the book but its under a hundred things and can’t be removed unless you want to be squashed like a bug as books and piles of crap fall on you to your doom.

Our possessions need breathing room—otherwise, they lose their usefulness.

The same is true for most (if not all) things in our lives too.

It’s hard to be a good freelancer if you juggling a dozen clients while also working on two side hustles.

It’s difficult to create anything if you spend all your time doing everything but working on your art.

It’s impossible to get work done if you spend all your time jumping from meeting after meeting or spending half the day sporadically responding to email.

And most importantly, it’s tough being a good friend, or skilled professional, or partner, or sibling, or father, if you spread yourself too thin.

Everything needs a little breathing room to work properly. Without it, we’re also gonna be running late, busy, overworked, and unfulfilled.

Q: How can you add more breathing room into your life? Alt: What can you remove to give yourself more breathing room?

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

Albert Einstein

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1020

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Busy Work

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”

Henry David Thoreau

There’s a fine line between busyness and effectiveness.

Busyness is doing tasks that look like work. 

Effectiveness is working with progress and an end result in mind.

One keeps you where you are and the other gets you where you want to be. The problem is busyness is a trickster and often disguises itself as effectiveness.

“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”

This classic quote (now Parkinson’s Law) by C. Northcote Parkinson is a great example of how busyness creeps into our days.

Does checking and answer emails ten times a day actually helping us or distracting us from the deep work we need to do?

Well.. not really, most of the emails we get are spam or other people trying to sell us things.

Busyness makes sense to me. It takes hard work and focus to make high-quality things. Busy work is a welcomed distraction for our subconscious (or consciousness) to delay—even just ever so slightly—the work we need/want/expect to do.

Often busyness is a sign that we need to take a break. Not a scroll-on-Reddit, watch 3 YouTube videos, pound some coffee kind of break. I mean something nourishing that wakes us up and gets us in the right mind space.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #989

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