Why you need some ‘lagom’ in your life.

Lagom‘ is the Swedish concept of not too little, not too much. It’s the philosophy of finding the balance in life that’s just right.

I was inspired by this idea and wondered how I could apply that way of thinking in my life. Turns out, in many ways. With buzzing smart watches, phones, and general madness on a daily basis, today’s world can leave us hyper-stimulated, anxious, and overloaded with information.

To test if scaling back on flashy things made a positive impact in my life, I went to the store and picked up the most basic watch I could find for under $50. Why a watch? I realized that my beautiful Apple Watch left me worried about what I was missing out on in the world. While my new watch is “stupid” in comparison to Apple’s smart watch, the effect it’s had on me is really interesting. By scaling back on sophistication, I started to become more aware of a few things:

  1. I could pay attention to conversations. Talking is so old school, I know. However, without something buzzing on my wrist to inform me of the latest news, Slack alerts, or Facebook notifications, my attention was focused on the people I was with. This distraction-free update felt truly liberating.
  2. I still looked at my wrist. Ok, I knew my oh-so-fancy Timex wouldn’t magically start telling me when I got a new text message, but sometimes my brain forgot. I would catch myself looking at my wrist from time to time, habitually checking to see if there was anything new. This observation showed me that I developed the habit of constant information consumption. Information is good, but too much unnecessary information can easily overload and overly stress us out. That, and the digital age we live in us allows us to simultaneously consume information from numerous channels. Getting an important email while your boss needs something while you’re trying to shop online? Information. Overload.
  3. I stopped worrying about everything–and the world didn’t cease to exist. I love fitness and I admit that I like to see the numbers behind my own health. Until recently, I always used my Apple Watch for tracking my heart rate trends, steps, miles, and calories. However, when I cold turkey let all this data collection go to the wayside, my healthy habits didn’t disappear and the world didn’t stop rotating. All that happened was that I had less information that I had to cram into my head that day.
  4. I was more productive. I write for a living. Anyone who has ever written anything knows how frustrating it is to be distracted mid-thought. Well, my Apple Watch was the master of distraction. By removing that one variable, I was able to focus on whatever task was at hand to fire out more work in less time.

The point of this experiment–and the point of me sharing it with you–is that there’s something in each of our lives that adds unnecessary stress. Not only that, but chances are it’s an easy change to make. Not too little, not too much. Just right.

 

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