Fifty-nine percent of Americans are complaining about being too busy, according to a national poll conducted by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News last year. Welcome to the rat race. The one that has you on a treadmill, running and not thinking about the fact that you’re not going anywhere, but running all the same.
I read about Diane and Ken Rosener who exemplify where all of this running can lead. They started out with nothing when they got married, but with an eagerness for more they soon became the classic American family.
With new vehicles, a bigger house, three VCRs, four various-sized and shaped TVs, new furniture, and bigger power tools the Rosners worked more hours and found themselves stressed trying to meet all of their financial, professional and emotional commitments. They had a lot of things, but no time to enjoy them . . . or each other.
What Matters Most?
That’s when Diane made some changes. She quit her job selling real estate and supervising a 600-member community association. Now she publishes A Penny Saved, a newsletter devoted to simplifying life. Diane’s new philosophy? Less is more.
And Diane is not the only one who thinks so. It’s a whole new trend called the Simplicity Movement, known also as down-scaling or downshifting. It’s so widespread that forecasters are calling it the trend of the 90’s. Gone are the status symbols of the 80’s, according to Elaine St. James, an author and a pioneer of the simplicity movement. Good-bye Corporate America and hello Colorado ranches and four-day work weeks.
Does simplifying life mean selling everything you own, going back to nature, eating off the land and living in a tepee? No, not unless you really want to.
St. James says, “Simplifying is about making wise choices and recognizing that trying to have it all has gotten in the way of enjoying the things that add to our happiness and well-being.” The difference is not worrying about having things but worrying about having each other.
Linda Manessee Buell, 42, quit her career with American Express and started a full-time coaching practice from her home. Like anyone who makes such a move, Linda had to make some adjustments. She and her husband no longer took twice-a-year vacations and she had to forego the frequent manicures, pedicures and waxings that were once part of her routine. But the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices. She’s kicked off her high heels and isn’t commuting to endless meetings, cautiously working her way through company politics. Instead of getting up at 5:30 she sleeps in until 7 a.m. and has lunch with her husband on the back patio. “I knew I would get rid of a lot of stress when I left Corporate America,” says Linda, “but I never realized how much.”
Roger Herman, a business futurist says,”People are no longer interested in working for money. They’re looking for more meaning in their lives.” Well, I think he’s only partially correct.
Simplifying life is about relationships, self-improvement, hobbies, quiet time, being a conscious consumer, a good steward, a responsible human being, and a grateful person. Hmmm, that sounds a lot like what The Busy Woman’s Daily Planner is all about: Making time for what matters most.
Sooner or later we all come to realize that a frantic life-style is a choice. The key to simplicity: Balancing and choosing, deciding what you want out of life, then being willing to gracefully let other things go. Once you simplify your life you begin to do your best work.
Funny how we actually go somewhere when we get off the treadmill and stop running. It’s nice to have a planner and be a part of a business that supports what matters most.
We knew we were on to something with our definition of time management, but we had no idea that we were part of a “movement.” I guess that means sharing our business just got easier.
“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.”
– Will Rogers in a letter to the New York Times, April 29, 1930
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