Do less, do more, do different

What I saw in a leafy English suburb this week, and wrote about yesterday is still unsettling me. I’ve always associated gated communities with the USA, but we are clearly good learners – we’ve taken the idea, put it in a Savile Row suit, and normalised it. 

It led me to a thought experiment. What have I learned to do with less of during these last fifteen months that I can continue to do without; what have I done more of that I want to retain, and what else can I do to be happy with less? It’s an ongoing experiment, but here’s my own list so far:

Do less of:

  • As a household, we have driven only a third of our usual mileage. That’s a saving of over twenty thousand miles and over £3000 of fuel and associated emissions. I don’t miss any of those miles.
  • Doing less mileage means we don’t have to change our cars so often, or have such expensive ones.
  • I haven’t been on a train at all. In “normal”, I would have done at least 30 trips to London. I now ask myself why – all the things that would have been the reason for going have still got done, and London I can do without.
  • Unproductive meetings – at least if they have to be done, they can be done on Zoom and avoid the travel.

Do more of:

  • The excellent conversations I have had of that question what is going on, what it means, and what opportunities are on offer.
  • Conversations with people I would otherwise have been unlikely to meet have given me new perspectives, new relationships and new ideas.
  • I am spending more time with people I love because I have been travelling less.
  • Working with people I want to, doing important things.

What else?

  • Spend more time working with individuals who want to change what they do and less time working with organisations just going through the motions.
  • Put a limit on what I earn. Over time making more becomes a habit, but a habit that can be broken. I can make better use of time.
  • Put more day to day emphasis on not supporting an economy that relies on mindless consumption. 

Whilst we do not know in detail what we will face, we can be pretty confident it will involve consuming less of that we cannot replace. The pandemic has helped us practice. For my own part, that’s something I will continue.

What about you?

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