which has already shot up the charts on Amazon.com..
My goal is pretty simple, actually: to help people learn some of the principles I’ve learned that have changed my life and my work. It’s been such an exciting time for me, learning to change my habits, become more effective while leading a simpler and happier life … I just want to help others learn the same things! And when people tell me that I’ve helped them make positive changes in their lives, I’m incredibly gratified.
It’s simple: I set limits, choose the essential, and do one thing at a time. I set limits by not allowing myself to work beyond a certain number of hours. Choosing the essential means making a list of the things that are most important to me — spending time with family, writing, reading and running — and eliminating the non-essential to make room for these important things. Doing one thing at a time is how I stay focused and use my time effectively — I can actually get more done and stay relatively unstressed this way.
You say about your personal journey “All I am is a regular guy, a father of six kids, a husband, a worker, and a free-lance writer. But I have accomplished a lot over the last year and change (and failed a lot) and along the way, I have learned a lot.” I wonder if you could share with us what you’ve tried to change, how you’ve failed, and what you’ve learned along the way?
I’ve tried to change a lot of things I wasn’t really happy with in my life: unhealthy habits and sedentary lifestyle, working too much and not spending time with my family, a complicated and stressful life, unproductive habits, getting into too much debt, and so on.
I failed on all of them … at least once. I had to attempt to quit smoking 7 times before I succeeded. I started and stopped running a few times due to illnesses and lack of motivation. I caved in and ate lots of junk food when I was trying to eat clean. I spent on impulse buys many times instead of being frugal. I watched TV instead of working.
But all of those failures taught me a lot — first of all, that no one is perfect and that we should accept that this is a journey. We’ll
fail lots of times along the way, but we should try to continuously learn, and most importantly have fun along the way! I’ve also learned some effective habit-change techniques that I share in the book — this has helped me tremendously.
Your new book The Power of Less is creating a buzz. Could you please tell how this book came about?
Well, as my blog Zen Habits started to gain an enthusiastic readership in the tens of thousands, it became apparent to me — and to some in the publishing world — that there was a real audience for the things I was sharing on the blog. As I contemplated writing a book, a literary agent and a couple of publishers contacted me about that very idea. So I wrote up a book proposal, signed up with an agent, and she shopped my book around. I’m happy to have signed with Hyperion, a great publisher that has been very supportive. I’ve learned a lot through this process and am excited to be a published author and reach
even more people.
What are the three most important messages in “The Power of Less”?
The three message I’d love for people to take away from the book:
- In simplicity is power — choose the essential and eliminate the rest.
- Start with small habit changes and take baby steps.
- Do one thing at a time to increase your effectiveness.
This has been a very busy year for you. But I’m sure an serial achiever like you isn’t just going to sit around twiddling your thumbs! What are your plans for the future?
I’m actually very happy to continue what I’ve been doing with Zen Habits, Write To Done, and the book, The Power of Less — which is tocontinue to help people as much as possible. But I’m also excited tobe coming out with “A-List Blogging Bootcamp”, an online course designed to help bloggers succeed and reach a larger audience. I will probably have a couple other things coming out, all centered around teaching and helping people as best I can.
Mary: I’m happy to see so many people registering their interest for our upcoming virtual Zen retreat! Participant numbers will be limited – so you might like to register interest soon. You can read more about virtual retreats here.