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5 Ways of Using Limits to Get More Enjoyment Out of Your Life Today

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/insomnia90/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

Lately I’ve become a lot fonder of limits than I used to be. I used to see them as something negative. Because on one level it’s great to surpass you own limits. On another level it is pretty helpful to set some limits.

So here is how I use limits to make things easier for myself and to accomplish more.

1. Drop the irrelevant stuff.

What are the most important things in your life? What are the least important things in your life? Find ways to drop the things that are actually pretty irrelevant when you think about it. This may not be that easy though and you can encounter resistance from within.

Even if it’s a change for the better you are still upsetting the order you are used to and that is uncomfortable. But to make room for new stuff or more of the best stuff then something has to go. You can’t just work faster and faster.

2. Set limits for daily checking.

I check inboxes, Facebook, various statistics for my website early in the day. And just once a day. It is relief because your mind becomes less stuffed with thoughts that just run around in circles. You think more clearly and feel more relaxed. I would highly recommend adapting this in a way that suits you and to try it for just a week and see how it feels.

3. Set time limits for small decisions.

This is a new experiment I have been trying out for the last two months or so. I don’t sit around thinking about decisions like if I should exercise, make a phone call, try some new food or anything where I may feel a bit of resistance from within. Instead as soon as I think about it I make a decision to do it within seconds and start moving.

If you wait for just one or a few minutes then that can create unnecessary doubts and excuses in your head. The mental burden in your mind – which can become a pretty big energy sucker over days and weeks of time – is minimized by doing this.

4. Set time limits for tasks.

Last year I started using Twitter. It became pretty sporadic. So this year I decided to set a timebox for 15 minutes each day to use for Twitter. At first, I felt resistance but I had set the limit and so I was going to use Twitter for 15 minutes each day. After a couple of days the limit became useful in another way. Because now I had got into it and it had become more fun than it used to. So the 15 minute limit now helps me to use Twitter effectively and to not spend too much time there.

Try using a similar small limit to either get started with doing something each day or to cut down on something that you are spending more time on than you really want to.

5. Set a limit for commitments.

Say no. Stretching yourself a bit can be good. Overextending yourself is not.

Get to know your limits for getting things done and actually enjoying life instead of just trying to get yourself through each day with your head above the water. Think about it, use the other tips above and find a balance where you get the most important things done but also feel good about your life and not just deadly tired and with a lot of mediocre results.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hi Henrik.

    You are right about these limits. I think most successful people use them all the time, or in different ways. Self-discipline is the difference between a person who uses two free hours to further their desires, and a person who tosses away the two hours(followed by some regret).

    Some folks might save an hour of their day just by following your Twitter limit example.

    I will go on a limb and say use of limits is required for being remarkable.

  • Thanks for an insightful post. I’m a fan of setting limits for self-protection and self-nurturing. It’s not healthy to be accessible 24×7 and to have unlimited communication and responsibilities. Turn off your phone ringer and e-mail now and then, keep your to do lists as short and manageable and own less stuff – it makes a much more peaceful life.

  • Heinrik,

    This post is really timely (no pun intended). One of the things I decided to experiment with today was finding a stopwatch application for my Macbook and seeing if I could place time limits on the following:

    – commenting on blogs
    – writing blog posts
    – other social media efforts (twitter, fb, etc)

    I’ll write a post at the end of the week and be sure to link to your post here.

  • Henrik,

    Isn’t it interesting that we meet time limits set by others and yet have difficulty setting and keeping the ones we set for ourselves.

    Thanks for this reminder, especially #2 and #4. Social media has brought us a new level of building relationships and gathering information, but it also crept into our daily lives taking up more and more time.

  • When we begin to set limits for the ideas you mentioned above, I believe that our life will begin to improve, because these limits you mentioned do produce results for the individual. It’s interesting that I’m reading this at the moment, because I am currently setting limits on my blog commenting at the moment. 🙂 But seriously, great post these tips are highly productive.

  • It is wild how simple things like this can make a huge difference everyday! I think list is a great way to keep yourself in “check” and maintain a positive-stress free attitude. I started a similar routine myself:http://smileonceaday.blogspot.com. When you open your eyes to the beauty around you, you may be surprised at what you see.

  • I too like the time limit approach – especially for tasks that are less than productive in nature , i.e. – time spent on social networking sites.

  • This is an important point- limits are realistic and trying to do too much is actually a negative if it means constant frustration instead of some success.

    Time limits on tasks that can easily start to become obsessions (the internet in my case!) is a very healthy thing because it opens up time for more important things with real satisfaction as an end result.

  • Thank you all for adding your comments and insights and for making this article even more useful and valuable! 🙂

  • I have a great boundary to add:
    Limiting email messages to 5 lines or less!

    I’ve been doing this for a few months now, and my email time has dropped by quite a bit… this is especially helpful for those of us who can be quite wordy 🙂

    • Great pointer Dr. Samantha – if it can’t be said in 5 lines or less… pick up the phone or lose your word flab 🙂

  • I totally agree with this message. I’ve been discovering more and more every day that the more limits that I put on myself, the easier my day gets and the happier I am. I also am more focused and effective this way.

    Limits breed creativity. I wish I would have taken this advice when I was developing Flash games for my last business. I would have gotten so much more done!

    http://www.colbycheeze.com – Personal Development Kung Fu

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