Streamline Your Life

Terri Lonier

This week's newsletter is inspired by the reality of stumbling over boxes as I prepare to move to Chicago. As soloists, we become masters at blending the public and private sides of our lives. When it's time to pack everything up, however, the two areas collide. You don't need a major move, however, to streamline your life so that new opportunity can enter. Here are three areas I've been thinking about this week as I became Master of the Tape Gun:

1. Streamline your stuff.
It's stunning how much we can accumulate when we're not paying attention. These days I more fully appreciate individuals who remove something from their living space every time a new item arrives. Even books, which are like dear friends to me, have lost some of their allure as I realize how "heavy" they are in my life -- in both a physical and psychological sense. What possessions are weighing you down? It may be time to toss, recycle, or pass them along to someone who will put them to better use.

2. Streamline your contacts.
As I move on from Working Solo, I know that I am leaving behind a community of which I have been a part for nearly 20 years. Yet I choose this intentionally, recognizing that in doing so I am making room for new people to enter my life. Some contacts and colleagues will follow me (here's
my new email list if you'd like to stay in touch), and I am eager to share my new adventures with them. I'm interested in quality over quantity -- and I welcome the chance to build new bonds of friendship. Ask yourself: Is it time for me to leave some folks behind and focus more on those who matter?

3. Streamline your habits.
Our habits define us in countless ways, yet often become invisible to recognize or assess. Discussing this topic, a close friend pointed me to the work of Judith Wright, who speaks and writes about
soft addictions. Unlike drugs or alcohol, Wright explains, soft addictions are perceived as "normal" or even desirable behavior -- yet they are habitual actions that can undermine our well-being in devastating ways.

Common soft addictions such as shopping, surfing the Net, watching hours of TV, mindless snacking, or indulging in self-pity can deplete us of energy, time, and money -- as well as mask our deeper desires for a more meaningful life. (I have a sense that a lot of soloists may harbor soft addictions to checking email or hiding away in one's office.)

Wright's insights about these socially sanctioned habits are powerful. We all succumb to these patterns as part of the routine of daily life. Wright shows that it's only when we step back and confront our lives that we're able to consciously change habits that may be robbing us of more than we realize.

As soloists, we have chosen to lead a life different from the mainstream. It helps sometimes to step back and get a clear picture of what's important, and what needs some streamlining.

Terri Lonier, Founder,
This article first appeared in the Working Solo newsletter:
Copyright 2010, author retains ownership. All Rights Reserved.

Print page