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What's on your more and less list?
A really easy way to get clarity in your business and life
From time to time I like to make a less and more list. I usually do this when I feel muddled, when I don’t know what to focus on or when I feel dissatisfied with something in my life. I’ve learned that this is a super easy exercise that has great power.
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The first step for doing a less and more list for me is to write intuitively. I create two columns on a piece of paper, and then start adding things to the columns as they pop into my head. I usually don’t distinguish between the various areas of my life at this stage, though you might want to of course.
Some things that have recently landed in the “more” column:
walks with J
space (always, always)
explicit daily rest (like sitting in the garden with a book)
following what works for me and less what I think others might think or feel
experimenting and giving myself time
Some of the things that have recently landed in the “less” column:
time with certain negative people + negative conversation
thinking of mental health as a linear or dualistic thing
to-do items for the weekend
In adding things to the “more” column I notice that I usually go for feelings: I’d also like, for instance, to work with more 1:1 clients, but this is something I only have limited control over, so I tend not to add it. I might sometimes add, “more sharing about my business in a way that feels good to me” instead, though.
Check in with your list
If you find this hard, or it’s the first time you’re making a more and less list, try having it out on a desk, table or counter top for a day. Whenever you’re doing things throughout the day that you notice either fill you up or drain you, consider adding them to your list.
Just writing the list is cathartic for me. Something about putting these things down on paper helps me to get them out of my system.
The less-list especially is a useful reminder of the things I don’t want in my life. I’ve been very consciously working not to fall into the trap of engaging with the negative conversations I mention above—primarily by keeping myself out of situations in which they appear, but also in not giving the people involved more fuel.
But I also take more practical steps based on my more and less list.
Some things you could try:
if your “more”-column has practical things and actions on it (like in my case, more walks with J), schedule it. Make time for it in your days and weeks.
dig a little deeper for the non-practical things, in my case for instance “space”. What does space feel and look like? For me it’s often more time around appointments and putting fewer expectations on myself.
if your “less”-column has practical things on it, how can you take those out of your days? I’ve begun to even more consciously look at the things I set myself to do over the weekend. Do I need to do this? Do I want to? Can I ask for help? Can I delegate? One of the things that used to be on the “less”-list was housework and thinking about it. J and I solved that by looking at our finances and hiring a cleaner.
This week, I’d invite you to make a cup of tea and settle down with a piece of paper to make your own more and less list.
No judgement allowed—and you needn’t share it with anyone, so the big and scary things can certainly be added. While there can be power in acting on things that are on your list, there’s no need to immediately do this. Some things just stay on there for a while, but it helps to have given them a place.
I’d love to support you in adding more things to your days and your business that fill you up. A more and less list is a great first step in thinking about the direction of your business. In a 1:1 mentoring call we always start from where you want to go with your business, how you want to feel and what works for you. I’ll be by your side as you take steps to create that slow, gentle and profitable business that you crave.
a newsletter | As usual, Anne Helen Petersen and the wider Culture Study community bring loads of wisdom, humour and recognisability to their discussions about calendars, and how and why we use them.
seasonal gems | On a recent walk through the woods I couldn’t resist collecting conkers—much like I can never resist collecting shells on the beach. I’ve put them on a little plate with a candle on the living room table and look forward to adding more seasonal treasures.
What are your favourites this week?
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How did you get on with your more and less list? What do you want to do more of, and what less? I’d love to know to cheer you on and add some accountability. Share in the comments to join the community.