Start, Stop & Change: simplify

Our To Do lists are long, we’re in a perpetual state of overwhelm, and it feels like too many days are slipping away.

But when it comes to deciding what commitments to cut, what obligations to drop, what stuff to get rid of, and what routines to simplify, we get stuck.

We won’t even take a baby step toward less.

We hem and haw. We say, But THAT wouldn’t really make a difference.

My closet is so cluttered. Getting rid of one sweater won’t make a dent.
My calendar is so full. Getting out of one monthly obligation won’t make a difference.

We want change, but no single act seems enough to ease the overwhelm. So we keep the status quo.

And things stay the same. The closet is still overstuffed. The calendar is still overflowing. The To Do list is still completely undoable.

Zero = energizing possibility and liberating freedom.

Well, here’s what can help. I call it State of Zero.

It works by flipping your current state of affairs upside down and changing the starting point.

Rather than beginning with the way things are and trying to figure out what you can cut here or eliminate there, State of Zero begins with a clean slate.

And then asks: What will you consciously, carefully, deliberately, and intentionally choose to add back in?

It’s a radical shift.

  • So rather than stand in front of your overstuffed closet and try to pick out a few items to discard, you’ll empty your closet of everything and then deliberately decide what to put back in.
  • Instead of agonizing over your To Do list trying to figure out what you might be able to take off, you’ll start with a blank sheet of paper and only add back in what you consciously choose.
  • Instead of looking at your calendar and trying to figure out what appointment you might be able to wiggle out of, you’ll start at a State of Zero—meaning empty calendar—and intentionally decide what gets to fill your time.
  • Instead of reviewing your budget to figure out what expense you can eliminate, ask yourself: If I started with nothing in terms of overhead, what would I carefully add back in?

Let’s simplify with State of Zero.

Think of an area of your life causing you stress.

Maybe it’s your calendar or To Do list making you feel overwhelmed. Or maybe it’s your relationships. Or your business. Maybe it’s your cupboards and closets. Or your habits.

Now I want you to imagine your life is a clean slate. Your calendar and To Do list are blank. Nary an appointment, task, or commitment. You have no possessions. You are free of every obligation. You are at a State of Zero.

Now think again about that area of your life.

If you were starting from a State of Zero, what would you consciously, carefully, deliberately, and intentionally choose to add back in?