The Pursuit of Less: How to Find More Time In Your Day

About two years ago, I stumbled upon this article by Mark Mason titled “Fuck Yes or No.” In it, a simple, yet powerful concept is explained (apologies in advance for the profanity). Basically, if you want to get romantically involved with someone new, they must inspire you to say “Fuck Yes!” And, if it’s not a “Fuck Yes,” that decision should be, in essence, a “Fuck No.”

I was so inspired by this post (and recommend the full read to see why), that I vowed to incorporate The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” into my life. At first, I applied it to my dating life, using the concept as my second date benchmark. It was a refreshingly straightforward (especially as a person who tends to overanalyze) way to determine whether I wanted to move forward with a relationship or not.

Now that I’m happily in a relationship that I wholeheartedly say “Fuck Yes!” to, I’ve realized that applying this concept to my social life as a whole does similar wonders.

I began looking at invitations outside of work through more of a critical lens. Did I really want to spend my Tuesday night getting hammered and eating Nick’s Crispy Tacos until I could eat no more? Sometimes. Ain’t gon’ lie. But other times, what I really wanted (and really needed) was a quiet, luxurious night in with a hot bath and a good book as my only forms of indulgence.

By saying “no” to some things, I’m saying “yes” to the things that I actually want. I have more time to take care of myself, to create art, to be grounded in the present moment. I’m doing less, but I’m doing everything fully — and with far much joy. It’s the pursuit of quality over quantity.

Doing less also allows me to give myself to others more fully. I have more space to be present for the people in my life, to follow through with commitments, and to make a greater impact.

So, how can you incorporate the pursuit of less into your own life?

  1. Honestly (and without judgement) look at what you’re already committed to. Does your schedule line up with your values and goals? If not, consider nixing those unfulfilling engagements, or at least committing less time to them.
  2. Identify three things you’d like to accomplish each day. (Or each week, month, or year — whichever works best for you). Then, build everything else around those three things. Choosing just three guarantees you’re ruthlessly clear in what matters most. Plus, it’s a good way to measure when you’ve done enough.
  3. Lastly, practice saying “No.” This can be tough and sometimes even awkward, but the ability to craft elegant boundaries is a precious skill that will benefit you for the rest of your life. And, if others hear you saying no, they’ll learn to respect it — and hopefully do the same in their own lives.

And to close, I’ll leave you with this quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of Le Petit Prince:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Thanks for reading.

I’m Katerina, and I write about culture, life, and happiness. For more posts like this, join my free newsletter.

Originally published at on April 5, 2016.