The Incredible Exponential Power Of Doing Everything By Halves

Being completely overwhelmed – by trying to create too many projects, please too many people, follow too many websites, read too many books, choose from too many materials, and a dozen other things – always results in a slowing down, if not a complete shut down in our ability to be creative.

There ends up being so much noise in our heads, that it’s virtually impossible to find the space – mentally, emotionally, and even physically – to create the projects that matter most to us, those that are burning inside is desperate to be given life.

So what’s the answer?

The obvious solution is to eliminate these distractions. But that’s easier said than done.

So here’s an approach that makes it far more manageable:

Do everything by halves.

halved strawberry
image: Caro Wallis

The first step is to take an honest look at all the things you do that take up your time, when you’d rather be creating. All the different ways you overwhelm yourself.

For example, how many books are you reading at the moment? I have a real weakness for this, and have probably ten or more books with a little bookmark in part way through.

When I see these books stacked up, the bookmarks seem to taunt and call “Me me me, I’m still here why are you ignoring me! You’re so heartless, you began this relationship with such enthusiasm and commitment and we were having a wonderful time, then some other loose paperback flashed her inside cover and freshly printed pages at you and you were gone, abandoning me in an instant.”

Maybe it’s just my books that seem to say that, but I’m sure you get the idea.

Look at the number of books you’re reading, and halve it. Take the other half, and either put them away on your shelves somewhere out of view, or give them away.

Instantly you have halved the pressure and overwhelm from this source.

Then pick something else. Say, the number of pens you have. Halve it. Put them out of sight or give them away.

Or the number of times you check your email each day. Halve it. Or the time you spend watching TV. Halve it. Or the number of projects you have on the go and on display somewhere, also taunting you. Halve them, put the rest out of sight.

You can cut your feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to create by half overnight by just looking at a few of the biggest culprits and sources.

Just doing this once can be very beneifcial. But what makes this technique so powerful is when you start to use it cumulatively.

Back to the books example. Say you started with 20 books on the go. You halved it to 10. Now halve it again to 5. Put the rest away, out of sight, or give them away. If you’re feeling really brave, halve it again, put another 2 or 3 away so now you have just 2 or 3 books you’re reading. So much more manageable.

Psychologically this technique gives you back so much freedom.

We don’t realise that by having all this stuff around us, all these reminders of how creative we’re not being, and how many demands we’ve made for ourselves, just how much pressure and burden that creates!

Try this yourself. Halve all the major things that drain your time and energy and stop you being creative. Then halve them again.

Most importantly, use the time and space you make for yourself on creative projects, the ones that really matter to you, the ones you really enjoy and can’t wait to work on.

Discover for yourself, today, the incredible exponential power of doing everything by halves.

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3 thoughts on “The Incredible Exponential Power Of Doing Everything By Halves”

  1. Dan,

    Many thanks for including the link to “101 Ways to Escape the TV Trap and Enjoy Life More”. I’m so glad people are able to take something away from it.

    I love your concept of halves. Very powerful — and so apropos for the instant gratification culture we’re living in. Based on my own experience I would apply this technique to the kids’ toy room. While not done intentionally, sometimes, the toys tend to add up. This would be a great way to clear the clutter — fast.

    Be well!


    1. No problem Bill, your article was packed with inspiring great ideas. 🙂

      I think the halves technique is so powerful because it’s easy to imagine, and instantly it gives us that goal or vision. Look at all the clothes in your wardrobe – imagine having half. Count up the time you spend watching mindless TV – imagine cutting it in half. Look at all the engagements in your diary that you don’t really want to do but found it hard to say no – imagine having it only half full instead. And so on.

      A natural extension of this is to halve the speed we operate at with the things we enjoy. For example, many of us eat in more of a hurry than we could do, because we’re eating just to get something inside us before we rush off to the next demand on our attention. When we start cutting out the dead time we waste on fairly meaningless activities, we can then prepare and eat our meals at half the speed, for example, right down to chewing every mouthful at half the speed, savouring the textures and flavours. Much more enjoyable, as well as being more healthy.

      Thanks for your comments Bill.


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