Design Mind magazine’s latest issue is dedicated to work-life balance. I haven’t read all the articles yet, but so far my favorite is Matthew May’s “Elegance and the Art of Less.” Besides espousing my own theory that working more does not necessarily make one more productive (backed up by research in this article), it appeals to the artsy side of me by suggesting that paintings, novels, etc. are all better because of what those artists left out. In fact, when I teach writing, the hardest thing to get students to do is to cut things. I encourage them to cut entire paragraphs. They shudder at the thought. But I know it’s often for the best. In my own writing, I’m a pretty ruthless cutter, even though I could always cut more.
So back to May’s less is more work-life balance theory. He illustrates this idea with an assignment given by a professor to an overworked and stressed student:
Imagine that you’ve just inherited $20 million free and clear, but you only have 10 years to live. What would you do differently? Specifically, what would you stop doing?
So what would you stop doing? I think I’ve already stopped most things, though I would add some minor volunteer things to the list that have added to my stress rather than being fulfilling. One thing I’d definitely add: stop feeling guilty!