You’ll do more in 2017 with less of these…

We’ve all heard the expression “less is more,” but have you ever thought about how our lives might look if we lived by those words? How much could you and I accomplish if we simply started saying “no” to so many of the time-killers that we all continue saying “yes” to?

I’m sure you can come up with a bunch that I haven’t included here, but let me give you a quick list of 6 things that you can use less of in 2017 in order to find yourself more productive at this time next year.

Screens

When you factor in live television, streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, and time spent watching shows recorded with a DVR, the average American spend 5 hours a day just watching. That’s almost a 40 hour work week. Let that number sink in, and then ask yourself how much more you accomplish if you just watched half of that. Don’t feel like you can cut that number in half? What if you ONLY spent 4 hours a day watching shows and used that other hour each day reading? You’d read about a book a week. What could you learn by reading 50 books in 2017? No matter how many books you read, less screen time can mean more personal growth through reading. Need some book ideas? Here are some I’ve read.

Social media drama

Do a search for how much we’re on social media, and you’ll find all kinds of studies with all kinds of numbers, ranging from 1 hour and 40 minutes to 3 hours and 12 minutes and all the way up to 9 hours a day for some teens. Bottom line? We spend A LOT of time on social media, and my guess is that about 90% of that time is spent on social media drama.

Want to get more done in the new year? Be intentional about what you WON’T interact with on social media: the rants, the drive-by postings and the “he said that she said that you said” drama that does nothing more than suck the life right out of you. I’m on social media a lot, and made the decision a couple of years ago to use whatever influence I have to post things that encourage others. As a result, I’m constantly stopped around my town and told by others how much they appreciate the things I post. My guess is that the people posting about their latest meltdowns over a server who brought them food that wasn’t hot enough aren’t being thanked. By anybody. Anywhere. Ever.

Sports

I don’t mean playing sports. I mean watching them, and more specifically, allowing the outcomes of games to dictate your outlook on life. I still watch games (and I probably always will), but over the last few years, the result of my favorite team’s game has had less of an impact on my mood, and I can honestly say that I feel freer than I ever have before in this area of my life. Having weathered the ups and downs of recent Carolina Panthers seasons is all the proof I need to know that sports has less of a hold on me than it ever has before.

Clothes

I don’t really know how many clothes you or I need, but when end up cramming washed and folded clothes into drawer already full of clothes, it’s a sure sign that I could probably stand to get rid of some. You’re probably the same way. And no matter who does the laundry in your house (believe it or not, I actually help with it in mine), ask yourself if there’s something more productive than time spent washing, drying and folding clothes? I think we can all agree that the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Want to do less laundry in 2017? Here’s a good article on how to get started.

Alcohol

Full disclosure: I don’t drink. Never have, pretty sure I never will. I did struggle with an addiction to Mountain Dew (2 liters a day, easy!) that turned into an addiction with Diet Mountain Dew (lost 15 pounds when I made that switch), but I kicked that a number of years ago and haven’t had a soft drink since then.

Anyway, it’d be way too easy for me to say you can live a fuller life with less (or no) alcohol, but you’d discount it because I’d be writing about something I can’t relate to. So I’ll just let Allison take care of this point. She was legit even before Huffington Post picked up her blog, and she’s got the street cred needed for this point. Go read her thoughts on how pervasive alcohol is in our everyday lives and ask yourself if it’s time to say “Bye, Felicia” to the booze.

Resolutions

Before you go all crazy and start turning this post into a bunch of New Year’s resolutions, stop and consider this: only 8% of people who make resolutions are successful in keeping them.

Eight percent.

Maybe this year, instead of making a ton of resolutions that you won’t keep, spend time thinking about making one that you will. Maybe this list has inspired you to read more by watching less, or to make more positive posts by getting entangled in less negative ones, or to save more by deciding to buy less clothes.

Maybe you’ll make more of an impact by being less impacted your team’s record, or you’ll be more aware of the life you’re living because you choose to spend less time trying to escape it with alcohol.

Whatever it is, just pick one and do it. Your success in less will give you momentum for more.

Got another idea about what we could use less of in 2017? Leave it in the comments below, and have a Happy New Year! 2017 is gonna be great!!

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Paul Jenkins

Paul Jenkins is lead pastor of The Gathering, a community church located in beautiful downtown Albemarle, North Carolina. He's the author of God is My Air Traffic Controller and My Name's Not Lou. Paul is passionate about his wife, his 3 children, running, reading, coaching, leading people who are following Jesus, Swedish Fish and the Carolina Panthers.

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