Many of you have been following me in my journey to The Tiny Life for a while now. While I tend to focus on the building and design of tiny houses, what I have come to realize is that even though its fun to talk about the houses and how to build them, it really isn’t about the houses, it’s about the life you lead in them. In an odd way, its not the house that is so great, its the life that is amazing.
Recently I was thinking about this fact as I was re-reading my book that just released (find it here) and I realized that in many ways you can still live tiny, without a tiny house at all. So here are some ways you can live The Tiny Life right now.
Learn To Say No
In this world saying no is almost unheard of. We often either get pulled into things we really don’t want to do or we say non-committal things like “Let me get back to you” when you hope they never follow up. One thing I’ve learned is important is when there is something that I am not interested in participating in or doing, I just clearly decline and make no apologies for it. Be willing to say no, you don’t have to be rude, but be clear, “Honestly, I’m just not interested in it” or “I don’t have the time to do a good job with this, so I’ll have to pass, thanks.”
Proactively Remove Negative Influences And Sources Of Stress
I have had two people that really shaped this rule for me in my life: I once worked with a person who always had some sort of drama in their life, no matter how good things were, there was always some catastrophe happening. The second one was when I found myself in a situation where I had to regularly interact with someone who frankly was just a really terrible human being; they were manipulative, easily moved to violence, and had a lot of self destructive behaviors that they inflicted on others.
It taught me a valuable lesson, there are people or situations that you must actively work to remove yourself from. If they cause stress, unhappiness, or cause drama in your life, you need to get them out of your life. This goes for friends too. I will only put in effort into relationships that I feel the other person equally values me. There have been times where I have had friends who were flaky, always late, or didn’t ever develop into a deeper platonic relationship that I just let go and let them peter out.
Thin Your Email In Box
One thing I have learned with running this website is how to handle a lot of email effectively. I have developed a few rules that I abide by to make it easier. I realized that I don’t want to be efficient with email, but instead I have worked hard to reduce the email volume, which I must be efficient in handling. Spending an hour to help setup a system where people can find their answer on their own, has come back 100 fold. Think of how you could do the same in your life or situation, just adapt it.
- Realize your email inbox is a convenient way for other people to organize their agenda.
- Always think about how you can reduce the volume of emails you get.
- Always to clearly define the next needed action, otherwise close the loop on that email.
- If they don’t ask a question, it isn’t actionable or are not clear in message, don’t respond.
- Set up email filters for things that you get often or as a way to segment different areas of your life.
- If its a newsletter that I find myself not reading regularly, I unsubscribe right away. I can always add myself back.
- If they ask for something I often follow up with a request to do a small task (want to talk? I ask for an agenda) this weeds out people
Define You Career By The Life You Want To Lead, Not The Other Way Around
Your job/career should support and accommodate the life you want to lead, not the other way around. To do this you must first know what life you want. It is easy to fall in the trap of letting your career dictate the life you lead (work schedules, vacations, soul crushing activities),
I’ve been there myself and there are times where you just need a job to pay the bills. So if you are in a tight spot, get a income source, but once you have gained that stabilizing income, you must then quickly move to a more proactive place where you either morph your job to be what you need or start looking for / building your perfect job that accommodates your life.
I once took a job that I knew I would hate, but I realized that it would buy me just enough time (3-6 months) of income to allow me to find the job that I really wanted. It meant that I could walk away from offers that weren’t great and hold out for a better one, at that point I really didn’t have anything to lose.
The Pareto Principle
This is more commonly known as the 80/20 rule which states that 80% of the outcome or effect comes from 20% of the cause. For example, 80% of the happiness comes from 20% of the people in your life, because they are the most important people to you. On the flip side, 20% of your time spent at work actually yields 80% of your income.
The trick with this rule is to identify that 20% that causes the 80% and if its good, focus on it; if it is bad, eliminate it. So in the instance of something good, say relationships, spend 80% of your time on the top 20% of your relationships. Conversely, if 80% of customers complaints at work come from 20% of your customers, break it off with them.
Learn To Slow Down, But Be Intentional
I’ve learned over the past two years that I can be far more productive if I am intentional. I have had so many people in my professional life say to me that I always seem laid back, but get a ton done. The truth is I do a lot less work then them, but when I do work, it is calculated. I actively work to minimize what is on my plate instead of working longer hours to get an overloaded to do list done. I think about what I can do that is most effective and then how I can achieve it most efficiently. Finally anything I do more than a few times, I look for ways to automate.
So when it comes time for me to do something, I have the time to do it correctly, I have worked out the best way to do it, and then in many cases I have automated it so I don’t have to worry about it at all.
So these are just some of the ways you can start living The Tiny Life now, even if you don’t live in a tiny house just yet.
- What things have you done or do to live The Tiny Life?