Pruning a plant is an important part of helping it to be healthy and to grow in strong and sustained ways.
By pruning we cut away the dead wood and the extra shoots that drain energy from the plant that don’t support healthy growth. Overlapping branches need to be trimmed so that each branch will strengthen and not interfere with the growth of other branches. By doing this we allow the plant to put that energy into creating flowers, fruit, and stronger branches.
Just like with plants, we need to create balance in our lives to encourage growth. Take a look at how we spend our energy and ask ourselves what activities support the life we want to lead, which activities are of value to the direction we want to grow; which activities are draining; and which are strengthening.
Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple , was great at pruning. One of his greatest abilities was to keep focused on 2-3 new products and prune the other distracting things away. In doing so he built a company that has permanently affected the way we communicate.
What are the activities you need to prune to energize and support the life that is meaningful to you?
To help you get started, think about your usual day – what do you do first when you walk into your office or workshop or store? What do you do next? Log your activities for a whole day (or a week if each day is so different); then give each activity a rating number or letter: 1/2/3 or a/b/c.
1 or A is for those activities that contribute to your bottom line; those tasks that are productive and/or support your main goals for your business or career.
2 or B is for those activities that help support your productivity but aren’t the main or key tasks that need to be done.
3 or C is for those activities that take up time and do little to support your goals – they may in fact drain energy and productivity.
Which of these can you off-load to someone else? Which of these tasks can be eliminated entirely or done once a week or once a month?
When we try to do everything that comes our way, it often leads to overwhelm and stress and what feels like failure. The good news is that by pruning away some of the “extra shoots” that drain energy or letting go of the “dead wood” we are better able to focus on what is meaningful and create success and growth.