Thoughts on Stopping

Pause subscribers share their stoppers – what they’ve already stopped doing and what they plan to stop doing in the months ahead – all in the name of making time for what matters most.

BH writes:
“I have resolved to stop excessive volunteering for long term projects or roles that require a lot of meetings. I have even made a pact with a friend who has a similar weakness to check with each other before we say yes. Not to say I won’t say yes on occasion – just not to something that takes 6 months or a year to complete. This next year is focused on revising and expanding the business.”

NN writes:
“My passion is sewing, particularly quilting, so I buy all sorts of fabric, which fills my sewing room to overflowing. While this should give me great pleasure I now realize it gives me more stress than pleasure. I now have to decide how to put these fabrics together because none of it matches. Projects I once thought were great are now outdated. My resolve is to firstly, give all my fabric to a charity. The clean sweep will make me feel good knowing it will be transformed into living loving quilts. It will also release all the guilt I have looking at the unfinished, not started projects. Secondly, my go forward promise is to limit my projects to three: the one I am presently working on, the second in the planning stage, and the third incubating in my head. I feel so much lighter already.”

JF writes:
“The thing that I am giving up immediately is the compulsion to correct things especially things that I receive on my email! Whenever I receive a message forwarded by a friend, and I know (or suspect) that it contains incorrect information, my Perfectionist Nature compels me to search out the correct information and forward it back to the person who sent the incorrect stuff to me! I realize that I am wasting precious minutes and hours feeding my Perfection Plague!! (I am also going to try to stop editing errors in the Leader Post and sending them back to the editor, though that will be somewhat harder to do!)

I have always told others that trying to start a new (good) habit is pretty well impossible until you let go of an old (usually not so good) one. It’s like a trapeze artist who can’t catch the new bar in front of her unless she lets go of the one she’s already holding on to. But it took today’s Pause to remind me of what I already gave lip service to! Thanks again!”

MF writes:
“In 2004, I stopped doing the books for two charitable organizations. I hate bookkeeping, even though I am an accountant!! I would rather spend time with people than numbers after spending a day with numbers. It really made a difference in my life. I learned that just because I have a unique skill, I am not obliged to give it away. I can choose to do something I like. Then both parties win.

What did I start? Gardening on weekends in the summer. Sewing and playing chess on weekends in the winter. Vacationing in Fairmont! I am much happier now.”

HB writes:
“Something I limited in 2004 was doing housework. I made time for doing things with my son and for doing things that please me such as knitting, rubber-stamping and scrap booking. My house is a mess, but I am more relaxed and pleasant to be around.”

RC writes:
“My resolve is to stop the clutter I seem to find myself in no matter where I am – at home, office, and cabin. I seem to have this innate ability to create clutter. It drives my husband crazy! Yes, rather than resolving to do a ton of cleaning (which I hate & which I likely won’t do anyway) I am as of now resolving to stop adding to the clutter I’ve created.”

LS writes:
“What I have stopped doing is answering each and every e-mail, unless a response is required. Also I’ve stopped the obsession to forward clever things and jokes received if I don’t have the time. It gets easier and easier to even let some really good ones get hit with the ‘delete’ rather than the ‘forward’ key!”

SF writes:
“Magazines!! We have had so many magazines accumulating in our hallway. The other day we threw out about 15 MacLean’s. And it is a great magazine! I am cutting back on subscriptions and I am allowing myself only one gardening magazine this year. So as we cut back on the number of magazines, we hope to read what we receive.”

LE writes:
“One thing that I definitely plan to stop is the “woe is me” attitude. When someone asks, “How are you doing?” they are usually just making conversation and not really caring about the response. I respond, “I’m just so busy. I have this and this and this to do and no time in which to do it.” That response is self-defeating. From now on, my response will be, “I have a full life, and I’m moving forward”. ”

TJS writes:
“I decided to give up volunteering. It sounds terrible but I am 34 years old, work part time and have two sons aged 7 and 10. My husband is a very busy executive who does like to volunteer with our son’s hockey organizations. My children are very busy with music and sports and with my husband working long hours and coaching it leaves me to run all aspects of our home. I felt pressure to volunteer – that if I didn’t I wasn’t doing my part. But I found that when I did I didn’t enjoy it and as a result really didn’t put a proper effort or attitude towards that organization. So, I decided that my job right now is very important – raising my 2 sons to be happy, well rounded young men, who shared time with their mother, who was there when they needed her, not off at some meeting every week. There is lots of time to volunteer when my sons are grown! As a result I am feeling very positive that I have set a boundary!”

LB writes:
“I will do one thing for myself for every two things that I do totally for someone else’s benefit.”

SS writes:
“This year it’s all about Focus, saying No, making time for me.”

TD writes:
“About a year ago, we got free magazine subscriptions for unused frequent flyer miles. This year I told my husband to stop signing up for them due to the piles they’ve created. Neither of us have had time to read even half of them. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean I need to take advantage of it.”

LKL writes:
“In order to maintain a balance in my business life (being an entrepreneur) I try and live by the three R’s: Reflect, Reinvent and Rejuvenate. By constantly shifting detail from one place to another or eliminating and reinventing a new idea to allow more breathing space, I can move forward with a new start that is more time efficient and productive with a higher quality product.

In my personal life, I have reflected on the following stops and reinvented a few new starts:

  • To bed earlier-spend more time with my husband and less time with my monitors.
  • Out with the stack of newspapers piled in the basement. Develop an exercise room!
  • Delete a few friends on my phone list that want a relationship without applying time and effort. Spend more time with the friends that make that time and effort.
  • Find a spot in each day to go for a walk. Start looking for some new clothes.
  • Supplement diet with vitamins, minerals and herbs when needed. Take that newfound energy and ‘reward’ with a massage, pedicure, etc.”

AW writes:
“One thing we have stopped doing is trying to get our Christmas letters out by the 25th of December. (My husband) bless his soul has written our Christmas letter for many years and it his thing. So whenever he gets it done works for me. I really think you could send it in June and everyone would like just as much. My one friend told she just read all her Christmas letters after Christmas because she doesn’t have the time to do it at Christmas.”

Feel free to share your thoughts on taking back time.

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