Rid Yourself of Excess

It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.
— Bruce Lee

Every morning I wake up and try to plan my day’s enjoyment: gym, work, run, personal projects, education, read, and write are the major essentials. Food is a major decision but I rarely think about food as a plan — it's more of a delightful experience for me. Everything else in-between is mixed with responsibilities, important decisions, research, personal development, and finally a whole lot of excess. The excess used to take up more of my time than everything else combined.

The thing about excess is it comes in doses — small doses that drag out and pull time away from your life experience. When time gets pulled away from you, opportunity also gets pulled away: the opportunity to be better, do better, and create more for yourself and others.

Excess is everything that doesn't benefit you in any way. It's difficult to gauge excess but you know it after the fact. The things you eat, drink, read, and do daily are full of excess.

Waste The Time Away

Think about how much you do any of the following:

  • Minutes you spend on social media that turn into hours.

  • Time you spend talking about people you don't know.

  • Time you spend talking about people you do know, but the topic nothing to do with you.

  • Time you spend gossiping.

  • Time you spend thinking negatively.

  • Time you spend worrying.

  • Drinking soda, sports drinks, and fruit juices that are high in sugar

  • Eating fast food, canned goods, and preservative based foods everyday.

All of these things turn into a waste of your day, body, and mind. And as time goes on you lose the ability to do what matters in life. It doesn’t show immediately, but:

  • How often do you try to lift something and feel weak and think you should exercise more?

  • How often do you eat food that makes you feel heavy and bloated?

  • How often do you have conversations with people you don't really care for?

  • How often do you sit on the couch or lie in bed thinking you should be doing something more productive with your time?

  • How often do you tell yourself you're going to take a hobby class, learn a new language, or develop a skill you care about?

The thoughts are there but the actions are missing because you’ve drowned your mind and body with excess that tells you it’s easier to just go along with current habits.


Less is more.
— Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

I'm a minimalist in most aspects of my life. I constantly look at the things I do daily to figure out ways to make them more simple, efficient, beneficial, and healthier for me. 

Instead of juice, I drink water with honey and a half lemon. Instead of fast food, I cook fresh meals at home. Instead of spending hours on social media, I spend about 20 minutes of personal time and one hour of professional time daily. Instead of focusing on other people's business, I focus on my life and ways I can make it better for myself and the people I care about. I feel fulfilled most days, but some days I do get stuck in the social media trap. It's realistic, but I catch my mistake and overcompensate the next day.

The goal is to chip away little by little until you no longer waste your time on unnecessary and harmful things. Juices are loaded with sugar and food coloring. Fast food is loaded with things that will bring on various chronic illnesses and limit your life. And the internet is loaded with nonsense that you don't really care about. You enjoy it in the moment because it allows you to escape whatever’s bothering you and you can talk about it with your friends for a laugh, but do you really care about most of the stuff you see online? Probably not.

All of the things you consume in excess are convenient, so you tend to go with what's easier. Your life is busy, bills never end, work is long, everyone’s always crying on your shoulder, and commuting is stressful, so naturally fast food seems likes a great option. But you can also cook a healthy meal in under 15 minutes that will last two days. Not only that, but the same meal can leave you feeling more energized and focused compared to $10 fast food meal that will increase your risk for disease.

Excess becomes a habit, and anything that deviates from the norm seems like a burden. But, the less you take in — be it unhealthy food and drinks, negative energy, or complacency — the more you can give out to people that matter: yourself, your family, and your friends. How can you support anyone if you're full of negative energy, can barely walk up a flight of steps without needing a break, or are suffering from one of the many chronic diseases? How can you help yourself?

Chip Away

What's excessive in your life? How can you get rid of it? Once you get rid of it, what beneficial task will you swap in?

Consider your time first. Most things in life we can get back in some form, but time never returns. Decide what experiences are truly worth your time. Things that leave you with different layers of guilt should be reconsidered. Think about your future and setting up strong foundations now that will give you all the time you need tomorrow.

Focus on those three basic questions and slowly start to swap out practices that aren't beneficial to you.