One of my best recommendations for anyone who’s perpetually busy is to practice minimalism. No, that doesn’t require anyone to give up all their possessions or sleep on a straw-mat!
Minimalism is a mindset. The core thesis isn’t that less is more, but less is enough. The best leaders, athletes, and craftspeople are known for those one or two things they do the best. And that’s it! They don’t want to do it all; instead, they keen honing the craft they are already masters at. That what practitioners do — they keep at it because they realize that all progress depends on how far and how often they push the envelope. The failures and setbacks they experience are just the tuitions they pay for their continual education.
Now, if you were to compare that mindset with the typical average busy chap, who’s busy with a hundred things, in addition to a full-time job and a side-hustle, you will realize that the main challenge is with focus. The people are spread way too thin. There’s always too much to do, but is everything necessary? Debatable!
Yes, I’m aware of the newest argument (misconception rather, thanks to Dave Epstein for fucking it up!) that being able to focus on several different things gives you “range.” It’s what generalists do. That’s a big load of BS. The key idea is to carry over the skills from the area of focus to another. So, if you’ve been a tennis player, carrying over the tennis court skills to your current sport, let’s say Jiu-Jitsu (I know weird, but it’s true!) is what having range is about.
Being a generalist isn’t about doing a hundred things all at once. Sure, there’s a lot of dabbling, but there’s only so much you can do before people start ignoring you, or punching you in the face, if you aren’t that lucky.
If you are a multipotentialite, however, things are a tad different. I know that’s self-serving, but hear me out — we do not focus on more than 3-5 skills or aspects at a time. We respect the need to be focused on what we’re pursuing. We’re not dabbling but exploring a new thing out of sheer curiosity or passions. That’s a significant difference.
For example, I have a full-time job (that I love!), an organizational psychology practice, and often write B2B copy on request. That, right there, is my life’s focus. It’s the absolute minimum I want to do to live a fulfilled life. Does it leave me winded, tired, and exhausted? Yes, but I love every moment of it!
Also, note that the skills above are highly specialized. I’m not working on a start-up for my side-hustle or flipping stuff for profits. There’s no scaling, funding, or swag — it’s going out in the trenches and helping my clients out. Period. Pure gusto! (For me, at least.)
That’s the beauty of embracing minimalism; it helps us narrow down on the absolute musts. That could be just one area you would like to dedicate your life on or perhaps, a handful, but you’re never all over the place, even if everyone else feels like. The only thing you should be feeling is the sense of satisfaction than overwhelm. If it’s the latter, it is time to reevaluate your priorities and focus on eliminating the unnecessary.