Eliminating waste is the fundamental principle of being a productive person.
As defined by Womak/Jones in their book “Lean Thinking”:
Waste is any human activity which absorbs resources but creates no value.
There are three main areas where we tend to have mountains of waste:
Mental waste is the crappy part of our mindset. The thoughts we think that create no value.
Physical waste is anything internal or external that bogs down/mucks up our bodies.
Environmental waste is the clutter of your life; anything that’s a part of your living/work space that does not fully serve you, who you want to be, or where you want to go.
Where do you have waste in your life?
Waste slowly builds in our lives. We allow it in. And then when we decide to pay attention to where we have it, thoughts of surprise hit, like “WHOA. That’s a lot of crap.”
Once you uncover the waste that exists in your life, do NOT attempt to eliminate all areas simultaneously. That would be miserably INTENSE (and frankly, unrealistic). Instead, notice which category do you feel the greatest tug from within. What area is SO ready for some shedding?
Where are you looking for answers?
To get to the answers to those kinds questions, avoid answering from your head. Wrong place. Your brain is a big know-it-all, always working with an agenda. Following your brain’s lead will provide only temporary change using willpower. And as the willpower deflates (it always does after heading up a project), so will your sense of self. NOT OKAY.
Start at your heart/core level and listen there. It can often be harder to hear, but sitting in silence and being open to feel your answers will go a long way.
Play with the process
Once you have a sense for which category is most ready for waste elimination, sit down with a pen and a piece of paper to brainstorm ideas on how to make this happen.
Have fun with ridding the excess. Play with this process. After all, no one’s ever gotten happy by beating themselves into “good.”