“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”
– Henry David Thoreau
In author Tim Ferriss’ bestselling debut THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK, one of the pillars of his approach included the concept of “automation.” His basic premise was to put as much of ones work-life as possible on autopilot so as to have more Time and more Energy to focus on those things of greater importance and/or interest. This is a most beneficial approach that can be transferred into Life in general and to the area of personal refinement specifically. The confounding thing is that most people already automate a tremendous amount of activities and responsibilities in their day-to-day existence; the problem arises when, for most, those things automated are the wrong things.
Eating: automated. Exercise (if done at all): automated. Human interaction: automated. These are examples of automation done wrong. We must identify those activities and tasks in our Life that demand the least attention and find ways to automate them so as to have more mental and emotional bandwidth available to consciously engage in those activities that make Life worth living. Eating, exercising, and interacting with others are but a few of the activities which are deserving of our full and undivided attention.
Automation is not conducive to eating and enjoying a well-prepared meal. Put away the cell phone and taste your food! Stop repeating banalities to co-workers and other people you encounter. Have a real conversation! How to automate properly? Create systems and be disciplined in their execution so that you can focus on the good stuff! Simplify your Life so that you are not being pulled in so many different and conflicting directions. Simplification will give you a better perspective on what can and cannot be automated and how best to order your days for maximum enjoyment and delight.
Only you can determine what is worthy of your attention. Stop prioritizing the unimportant and give your awareness to those things that matter.