Pare It Down: Cut Away the Extraneous to Leave the Awesome

By Leo Babauta

Mark Twain once famously apologized for not having having time to write a shorter letter, “so I wrote a long one instead.”

Twain knew that it takes work to edit, to whittle a letter or a story down to its essentials.

And that applies to much more than just writing: take the time to pare whatever you do down to the essentials, and you’ll be left with something so much more amazing.

Designers know that you should remove extraneous elements to leave only those that are necessary. Steve Jobs knows this and has used it to sell a one-button iPod. The best bloggers focus on high-impact posts, rather than flooding readers with too much information.

How can you use the concept of “paring it down” to make yourself more effective?

A few things to consider when paring it down:

It’s possible to pare down too much — you might be left with too little — but I think in most cases this never happens. People usually pare down too little.

What are some ways that “paring it down” can be used in your life? Just some examples:

You get the idea. “Paring it down” can be applied to anything you do.