How I use "Less is better" principle when running my online art business in 2021
In the end of 2020, I decided to quit my interior design job to do digital art full time.
So before that I was a architecture graduate and interior designer for almost 9 years. Going in that career, I knew that it wasn't something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so I only did the bare minimum with my 9-5 job, very rarely took on any over time work. I never identify myself as an architect or an interior designer, it was just my job, not who I am. My work life balance was pretty good. I would finish work everyday on time and went on a run, or hangout with my friends. Weekends were always so much fun with trail races, meditation retreats and so on. I never allowed myself to get too attached to my job and it was easy to do.
But when I started my full time making and selling art online career, everything shifted 180 degree. I love drawing spiritual art & fantasy art so much that I could really do it 24/7, plus I felt the need to hustle to make income as I am self-employed now. Then on top of that, I got daily yoga practice and my training for my up coming 100 km race in 2020. Things started to be very overwhelm. I thought to myself I needed to perform my absolute best right now as I needed to work at least 10 hours per day, then training for my race and yoga for at least 2 hours. I also wanted to be on top of the game with housework and cooking. Oh boy... you can see the pattern here, I wanted to be perfect at everything, I wanted to do every thing. I thought life would never been this fun and exciting before. Every single day I wake up feeling so inspired with many different projects. But then.... there is something very odd about it, most night I go to bed feeling like I have so much more on my list. Most weekends I dedicated to working and training. And sometimes on Monday morning I already feel quite behind with my schedule. This is super odd, I have this thought to myself very frequently but I didn't realize why. The only thing I thought I needed to do is to work more, hustle more until one week I just broke down. I saw myself getting irritated at everything and I just couldn't see the bright side of anything. Going on long run doesn't really help. Meditate every single day doesn't help either. And I can't even meditate peacefully as before. I have been meditating for more than 7 years and this is the first time when my brain was over active most of the time. It drove me crazy. And I finally found out why.
We live in a world that celebrating hustling and getting more done. So, It is the hustling habit that I have adopted. It is the habit of a workaholic that I have adopted and the greediness of wanting everything. The thing is wanting to do everything in a small amount of time means that nothing really done probably.
And this is when I found this book "Essentialism" in my kindle. The book has been in my kindle for couples of years now and I haven't even read it. I didn't buy it but either my brother or my friend did as we have shared amazon account for kindle.
So essentialism is all about the focus. To find the right focus and direct our energy towards that direction.
I am very attracted to minimalism and always trying to be a minimalist meaning to eliminate things don't spark joy to me and just focus on things that are important. But I haven't thought about that way when it comes to do work and run a business.
So I started to read the whole book in a very short time and listen to everything I could find on youtube and skillshare about Essentialism as possible to come up to this 3 principles to do the essential things and make more impact for myself and my business. But I think that these principles anyone could apply as well and I d like to share them with you today:
1. Get clear on what is the most important. I do this every morning now. It takes 5-10 mins journalling with these questions: What matters most to me? What I want my life to be all about? What is a fulfilled life look like to me?
2. Eliminate everything that is not supporting my goal. This is actually a fun exercise to do everyday. It helps me saying no to things that I don't want to do so easily. And the interesting thing about it is people trust me and respect me a lot more. So sometimes it is not very obvious to know what is not essential. I have recognized my pattern and that my vision sometimes is clouded by these things.
- wanting to please others,
- trying to prove my worth to others,
- compering myself to others,
- trying to impress others,
- fear of failure, rejection, and so on...
I found this step is so important as quite often I caught myself identify myself with certain thing and doesnt want to let go. For example: I caught myself almost say yes to partner with my friend for an architecture project even I know that direction is no longer align with my goals. Just because part of me still doesnt want to let that identity go. So, checking in with these questions to eliminate what is not essential is to create space and energy for the most important tasks.
3. I call this step: The power of Now- as the famous book from Eckalt Totlle.
When do I want to feel fulfill and content? When do I want to feel happy and success? My answer is right now. It is in the Now, not the past, not the future. I wanted this life of an entreprener is to live my dream of creating meaningful art that resonates with people, and also to be able to do whatever I want within my day, to create more time for fun things like yoga, running, retreat, music... To constantly remind myself that these are the things that in my control and I can be happy, be content, be fulfill right now without any condition is so important.