Zen Habits Handbook for Life

habits leo babauta minimalism organization productivity simplify work Zen zen habits

The Easy Way and the Hard Way

In college, we are told that we need to do everything, be everywhere, and know as many people as possible. There is no room to breathe, because if you're breathing then your obviously not making the most of your time and god forbid a grad school hears about all that breathing and you jeopardize your professional future never mind all the money your parents are paying so take extra classes and join six different clubs and network every night....

That is how I felt: overwhelmed. It seemed to me that this was the only way to be successful in college, and between my sleep deprivation and my immense workload, I despaired that I'd ever manage to finish school. I hoped that I would eventually get used to this lifestyle, because it only seemed to intesify in the 'real world,' at least for successful, happy people. But it didn't seem like much fun.

The author of Zen Habits, Leo Babauta, assured me that there is an easier way. Instead of finding some way to manage more commitments, he said just eliminate commitments. Instead of trying to get more work done, do less and do it better. Instead of taking on every responsibility thrown at you, learn to say no. At first, I didn't believe that his way could work, but I soon learned that by doing less, I got more done, was happier, and able to give more of myself to those few things that really made a big difference.

About Zen Habits

Zen Habits is mainly a productivity blog. Leo writes about ways of simplifying your life and developing habits that promote productivity and peace of mind. He is all about seeking inner happiness by cultivating a minimalist and peaceful environment. Just when I was finding myself frantic to the point of mental instability, here was a guy telling me how to slow down and breathe in the midst of college. Leo's blog became a stable point of reference for me in college. When things would start to fall apart, I'd go back to his archives, and I spent many hours perusing his articles. For a while, I insisted on reading every post every day. His writing style helped calm me as well as inspire me to believe I'd be able to handle all the assignments coming my way.

He also writes about the psychology of habit formation and certain, non-productivity related topics, such as nutrition, finances, and getting up early. He is a really amazing blogger who was able to provide so much value to his readership that many of them donate money to his blog so that he could quit his day job. He has basically managed to life his dream life.

Part of Leo's path of independence was his e-book, Zen Habits: A Handbook for Life. Really, it is just a collection of the best articles on productivity and simplifying from his blog. He partly put it together merely as a way for his readers to help him out, since they could always get the articles online. Nevertheless, I found that having all the articles in one, easy to reference location was well worth the $10 asking price, especially since they are arranged in a way that makes implementing his ideas much more manageable.

The other thing Leo inspired me to attempt was blogging regularly, so those of you who enjoy my posts can thank him for that. I still utilize many of his principles of minimizing and simplifying in order to keep my life streamlined and happiness-inducing, and you'll notice that many of my recommendations on productivity come from his blog (with some adjustments and additions of my own).

Giving Back

Now that I finally have a blog of my own, I wanted to do what I could to help spread his ideas and writings, a sort of silent thank you. The links on the right side of my blog will take you to the download page for his e-books. I obviously wouldn't put them up if I didn't sincerely believe that they would be of value to you, and I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that I make some money off each sale made through my blog. Of course, you're under no obligation to buy them, but if you're interested, here's some of what they contain:

At least check out his blog. After all, it made a huge difference in my life, and I know that there is something for everyone over there.

I'd love to hear what you think of Zen Habits or Leo's other blog, mnmlism. Post to comments.

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