How Letting Go Made Me Productive

More tasks, more problems

Words by Andrew Rocha

Before being a minimalist, I was a productivity-ist. I was always wondering how I could do more, be more, and accomplish more.

Want to read twenty-five pages every day? Yes, please! 
Can you wake up early every morning? I’m on it! 
Interested in walking 10,000 steps every day? Sign me up!

My list was unrealistic, and yet I thought I was the problem. As a result, I read every productivity book I could and tried all the apps. By doing the right thing, I thought I could fix this problem. On the rare instance I finished everything or had extra time, I’d look for another thing to do. I was running to a finish line that didn’t exist. I was pursuing an everlasting chase for more.

Productivity is great, and there is nothing inherently wrong with walking, reading, or waking up early. The problem is I thought adding more was always better, without even questioning what or why I was adding.

Minimalism helps us question the desire for more.

Why do we want that new phone?
Will that new shirt make people like us?
How is that new watch going to make us complete? (Spoiler alert: It won’t.)

We can buy all the organizing tools in the world, but the best way to organize is to get rid of things first. We don’t have to organize, maintain, or clean the things we don’t have. It’s a simple truth, but it can free us from hundreds of items if we understand this message.

Similarly, the best approach with a to-do list is to let go. Life gets less busy when there are fewer to-do’s, commitments, appointments, and demands on our schedules. When we have the time to do what matters, we don’t make our priorities compete with trivial tasks.


Better yet, letting go allows us to breathe freely, live vibrantly, and laugh loudly. Living a life of less allows us to let go of the pressure and the self-imposed expectations that make life miserable.

We can jettison the possessions, but if we’re overwhelmed with calendar clutter, we won’t be able to appreciate our simplified space.

Letting go allows me to find joy in reading, waking up early, and walking, without a checklist by my side.

Andrew Rocha

Andrew runs the Successful Steps Blog, where he writes about achieving success one step at a time. When he isn’t writing, he can often be found walking, reading, or being in nature.

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