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About Carl Phillips
Carl writes short books full of big ideas, covering simplicity, focus and living well.
He is also the proud owner of Frictionless Living (http://frictionlessliving.net/)
What is Frictionless Living all about?
We all encounter friction in our lives. Things that get in the way of what we’d really rather be doing with our time. Things we wish we could simplify, reduce or get rid of completely.
Frictionless Living is dedicated to helping readers find simplicity, clarity and focus in a distracted and busy world.
Find out more at http://frictionlessliving.net/.
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These visions of achievement can be tied to our work, personal lives, and often both.
The catch, oftentimes these goals can seem a long way from where we presently are. They can seem so far away that they appear to be totally out of reach.
Consequently, many of us give up even trying to make these things happen. That’s a real shame, because sometimes all that is required to make them so, is putting one foot in front of the other in their general direction.
What I’ve found, in making significant positive changes stick in my own life, is that often the small steps and habits that underpin change, do not get enough attention. In fact, I believe there is an untapped magic in these seemingly small steps. They can support even the largest of goals.
How this Book Will Help
That’s what this book is all about, how small steps and the right habits can support goals of all shapes and sizes. How they can underpin the wildest of dreams.
Before we begin, a friendly warning. Even for a writer that focuses on ‘short books full of big ideas’, this is an unapologeticaly concise read. The filler has been removed so you can get straight to the source. I’ve stripped things down to the core. The aim is to pack this with information that can help you move forwards, in your own journey. Simple prompts (and a checklist in the final chapter) that you can put into play, immediately.
Still with me? Good to hear.
Mostly my wish for this book is that it moves you to action and helps you avoid the overwhelm. I hope it inspires you to really embrace the small change approach. Giving it a proper go, in real world settings of your choosing. If you do, I truly believe you will never look back.
Modern life can be hectic. Filled with noise. Filled with things screaming for our attention. Filled with complexity. Filled with tasks that need to be done. Filled with stress.
This leads many of us to a state of cortisol overload. Jacked up on caffeine, we fight our way through To Do lists that never end. Trying in vain to ‘win the day’. Instead, the truth is closer to a feeling that we are struggling through many days.
We can walk another path.
Life can be calmer. It can be less noisy. It can be less stressful.
A powerful tool we can all learn to wield in our lives is simplicity. We can simplify our lives.
To do so, we must first go inside. We must simplify from inside out, to achieve a meaningful return.
That’s what this book is about.
What follows is a series of essays that prod at some big topics and challenges we all face. Where I can, I have shared some potential solutions that can support us living a simpler life. All are offered from the personal perspective of someone that believes in the power of simplicity. Someone that believes this journey to simpler, starts from inside out.
A sea of calm, happy faces perhaps. All focused on helping each other make the world a better place, in some small but meaningful way. Trying their best to leave positive footprints on the earth. Working hard but balancing that with ample time to rest. Making time for those that matter most. Being present and grateful for this moment. Totally in tune with life.
Or is the picture a little different?
Is everyone rushing around? Hustling and bustling. Running from commitment to commitment. Complaining they ‘don’t have time’. Not at all present, always thinking ahead, to whatever they are rushing to next.
I’m guessing the picture you see is closer to example two.
Everyone seems so busy.
Busy on the phone.
Busy juggling and multi-tasking.
Busy trying to keep up.
Busy trying not to drown under the mountain that is the latest ‘urgent’.
Mostly it seems, busy being busy.
How many of us find ourselves fighting this daily battle with busyness in our lives? Feeling like all our time is accounted for, before we really get started with our day. Busyness, it seems, has reached epidemic proportions.
We’re busy, but what is getting done?
So where is all this collective busyness getting us? Are we making the world a better place?
Is all this busy meaning we get to spend quality time with our friends and loved ones?
Is being busy meaning we get to make time for our hobbies and passion projects?
Is busy meaning we get more quality work done? Quality, not just sheer quantity.
Is busy leading us to less stress? Is it meaning we live healthy, balanced lives, full of adventures and positive challenges?
If the answer is yes, great — let’s celebrate and keep on with all this busyness. Let’s keep engaging with it. Let’s keep chasing it.
If the answer is no, perhaps we need to step back and ask a bigger question:
Why are we spending time invested in busy, if busy isn’t working for us?
That’s what this book is all about. Identifying the challenges we all face in our days that lead us to busy. It’s about how we can tap into another way of living our lives.
How we can achieve our goals, with less stress.
How we can strip back to the essential.
How we can keep the margins, and white space, in our lives whilst still getting plenty done.
How we can filter the signal from the noise.
How we can reconnect with our ability to block out distractions and live a focused life. Because a focused life is a good life.
How this book is broken down
This book has several main sections. The first of these concentrates on the challenges, why we are where we are. The second section deals with tools, habits and solutions to help us get to a less busy place in our lives.
We close by reflecting on one of our most important assets of all, time and its place in the busy conundrum.
Are you ready for a life less busy?
Many of us are in a near permanent state of busy. The white space in our days has been squeezed out and become a distant memory.
Messages to consume surround us. Selling us more. Telling us our lives will never be complete without it.
Our lives are full and getting fuller. But this type of full isn’t the good kind, it’s not enriching our souls. It’s not making life better. Instead, the type of full we are experiencing manifests in bloated needs and cluttered houses. Expanding debt. Overdue payments on things we can’t afford, and don’t really need.
Strange times to be sure.
The good news, we can take another path. We can take control back. We can use time honored tools and habits to make this life a simple life. We can reconnect with what it is to live a leaner, but emotionally richer, life.
What This Book Is About
For the last decade, I’ve been on my own simplicity journey.
At the start of this journey, I realised I was accumulating more in my life. More things that didn’t really matter to me deep down, or speak to me on a spiritual level. More commitments I wasn’t passionate about keeping. More stuff I received no clear value from. More clutter. More friction. This was all leaving me feeling flat and unfulfilled. Something felt like it was off, but I wasn’t entirely sure what that something was.
A period of reflection followed. Importantly, I then started to take some action based on what I uncovered. Part of that action involved finding a whole community of people who had very different back stories but who had all reached a similar crossroads in their lives. They had realized that more of everything wasn’t working for them. They were seeking something more meaningful. They were seeking something simpler.
What I found was that all around us, people are simplifying and minimisng to improve the quality of their lives, by reconnecting with the power of enough. While this may seem counter-intuitive in a mass-consuming culture, there’s also little doubt that, at a certain point, enough should be enough.
As I experimented further, an interesting thing started to happen. The more I seemed to give up, the more I got back. Clarity took the place of confusion. Focus replaced distraction. Busy was overcome by white space. Complexity gave way to simplicity.
My journey has led to much writing on the subject at my blog and through some of my other books. I’ve embraced and experimented further with aspects of minimalism, 80/20 and other simplicity tools along the way. Sharing my journey with others.
I believe we can all benefit from making life a little simpler. But we must find our own fit. This book contains a collection of some of my own reflections on simplicity and minimalism, and how both can help us live well.
In keeping with the theme, I’ve stripped things down to the core.
Like most of my books, this is a concise read. The filler has been removed so you can get straight to the source. Most of the essays can also be enjoyed independently of each other, so you can read the book in an order that suits you best. As much as possible, I have tried to ensure the content is evergreen and will not age with time.
My hope is you will come back to this book and the essays included will continue to provide some value and ideas for you.
Most importantly, I hope this book inspires you in some small way to live your own version of a simple life. A life full of the things and people that matter most, whatever that may mean for you.
Do days slip by in a blur of activity but you feel like you’re just running in circles?
It doesn't have to be this way. There are ways to simplify our lives so we are less stressed and happier. Less rushed but more productive. Consume less but enjoy more. Commit to less and achieve more.
22 Ways to Simpler Living presents ways for you to simplify your own life and living to ensure you are on a better path than one constantly spent on the conveyor belt of:
-more of more!
Each way also includes some simple action steps you can start to put into play in your own life to make simpler living a reality for you.
Heads buried in smartphones. Fighting ongoing battles with the increasing amount of inputs in our lives.
From an evolutionary perspective, we have had no time at all to really adapt our behaviour to all this technology. We’re still finding our way with it. Finding ways to use it effectively, so that it supports our lives in positive ways.
Unplug is a book about simplifying our relationship with technology, using it intentionally and mindfully so that it adds to our lives. So that we can leverage it in positive ways without it taking over. Ensuring we can focus on the important things. Supporting us to live our version of a life worth living.
However, simple doesn’t mean easy.
Filling the blank page remains as challenging as ever. The same goes for being able to communicate our ideas and then share them with others. Writing has never been easy but it is extremely fulfilling.
Writing doesn't have to be how you pay all (or any) of your bills for you to get all the enjoyment and enrichment from it. In fact, sometimes that may help you enjoy it all the more! We all have tales to be told and ideas to be shared. Writing can help us do that.
Write: Simple Ways to Uncover Your Best Work is a collection of observations, motivation and advice for those who wish to write creatively. Whether you are just about to start your journey, or are a more established writer, this concise guide will have something for you.
We want to do it all.
We want to achieve it all.
We want to taste all that life has to offer.
But too much packed into our lives leads us quickly to more stress. It leads to less quality time for the things and the people that are really most important to us. A balance has been tipped.
While moving at pace has its place, sometimes we need something else. Sometimes we just need time to be. We need time for others. We need time for slow.
That’s what this book is all about, making time in our lives for slowing down.
Reconnecting with our need to enjoy some downtime.
Rediscovering our ability to rest and recharge.
To unplug from our busy worlds occasionally and find the joy in slow.
But more isn’t working for many of us.
More commitments lead to more stress.
More material possessions just becomes more stuff to manage.
More appointments in our diary leads to less quality time spent with our families.
In a world where more is the answer so many of us think we should be reaching for, why are we still left unfulfilled?
In a world where more is all around us, sometimes we forget about the power of less.
Less isn’t as easy to sell. Less isn’t quite so sexy for the ad men to wrap a story behind. Less isn’t easy to profit from.
Nonetheless, as many are finding out, the right sort of less works. As we tire of the treadmill of more it’s obvious that less is in fact the answer we should be searching for.
That’s what this book is all about. Finding the right sort of less in a world of more. Finding a version of less that lets us live more but worry less. Experience more but accumulate less. Need less but live more.
We aren’t always good at just stopping and reflecting on where we are. Reflecting on why we are here and also where we want to get to. Reflecting on whether what we are doing is helping or hindering. Adding to our stress or increasing our feelings of happiness.
Reflecting on whether this life we are living is the best it can be.
To live well we absolutely need this time for reflection. We need to hit the pause button on life occasionally.
To live well we need to separate the important from the not so important. We need to focus on what matters most. We need to suck the juice out of life. Try, touch, taste and feel all the good it has to offer.
A Short Guide to Living Well will introduce, or remind, the reader of those things that can really add value to our lives. The important stuff.
Chapters are broken down into several broad themes (Happiness, Purpose, Health, Productivity, Simplicity, Minimalism, Self, Gratitude).
Life is meant to be lived well.
What is it and how do we define it?
Can we be happier just by thinking happy thoughts?
Can we teach ourselves to be happier more often than we are right now?
Can we teach ourselves to be happier most of the time?
Why do some people seem constantly happier than others?
Is happiness a habit?
Is happiness genetic?
Is there a secret to happiness?
I believe more happiness is in reach for us all and that there are ways that can enhance our chances of being or feeling happy. That’s what this book is all about.
22 Ways to Happier presents ways for you to ensure some happiness magic is injected into your own life on a regular basis.
Does your inbox keep expanding with more and more mails?
Do you feel like you’re running in email circles getting nothing of any significance done?
Does email feel more like a hindrance than help at times?
You are not alone.
But, it really shouldn’t be this way.
There are ways to simplify email so it serves us.
So it reduces our work stress not adds to it.
So it aids our productivity not just adds to what we have to do.
Frictionless Email is concentrated on helping you get more out of email and having a healthier relationship with your inbox.
Learn tactics to get you to inbox zero and reduce email stress.
Make email simple and then get on with the rest of your life.