Simplifying Is Painful

By Leo Babauta

Creating simplicity and focus is anything but easy.

It requires saying no, and in doing so you make others feel rejected. It requires giving up things you love, so you can truly say yes to the most essential.

In the past two weeks, I’ve simplified my work projects, drastically and heart-wrenchingly. To give myself a laser focus.

Last week, I canceled or put on hold four dear projects. It meant having some painful conversations with business partners who were psyched about those projects. Those were some of the hardest conversations I’ve had in recent years.

Today, I further simplified:

Almost none of these projects are dead. They’re just lovingly folded up, to be tucked away in a digital archive for a later revival. It’s not easy, though, putting them in cold storage.

Why am I putting myself (and others) through this kind of pain?

For intense focus.

I’m going to focus on one thing: the creation of my new book, Zen Habits.

If I have 10 different ventures and learning projects, this book won’t have my full focus. It will not be done well. And that will be a disservice to the book, to anyone who might benefit from it, and to myself.

(Note: Zen Habits and Sea Change will still be going strong, because they have always been a testing ground for my best ideas, the ones that are going in the book.)

And so I’m going through pain, and letting go of many things I love, to make one awesome thing. To give myself the opportunity for reinvention.

To put my entire being into one creation, to aim myself unreservedly and with abandon into one spot in the universe.

It’s game time.