Few and consistent approach

This is an approach you can use to get what you want out of an area of life, if what you want is

a) to go deeper and be more focused in a particular area, or
b) to spend fewer resources maintaining a particular area.

If what you want is exploration, new connections, a widened network, increased and broader possibilities, access to a wide variety of elements/experiences, interaction with a big range of influences, the few and consistent approach is not the right approach.

Let’s abbreviate, because I’m already tired of typing out “few and consistent approach.” From now on it’s FACA.

I use FACA for some parts of my life:

  • friendships,
  • wardrobe,
  • environment, and
  • writing topics.

FACA helps me to go deep in these areas, if that’s what I want.

In friendship and writing topics, that’s exactly what I want.

In wardrobe? That’s not what I want. I don’t want to go deep into my wardrobe. I’m not even sure what that means.

FACA lets me put very little time and effort into an area, if that’s what I want.

In clothing and in my environment, that’s exactly what I want. I want to look decent and I want my environment to be orderly and pleasant, but I do not want to spend much time on either area.

FACA is good for areas of life in which you want to put more focus or fewer resources.

Simplifying and limiting the elements of any given area make it easier to maintain that area.

When we moved to Puerto Rico, I downsized my wardrobe. I gave away about four big bags full of clothes. I stored one box of winter clothes in my in-laws’ basement. I brought what I had left, about 30% of my original wardrobe (which wasn’t that big to begin with).

Two weeks ago, I went through my closet and filled up three big bags full of clothes I no longer wear.

I have a simple lifestyle, so I don’t need a wide variety. The truth is, though, that you don’t need a wide variety, really, no matter what your lifestyle. (I’m sure there are some exceptions.) You need the right variety.

Here’s how you use FACA for the “use fewer resources” goal:

  • You figure out the right variety.
  • You sort through your stuff.
  • You get rid of anything that isn’t the right variety.
  • You organize the stuff you’re keeping in a logical, simple way.
  • You add more of the right variety only if you need more.
  • You keep it organized.

You do this for one area at a time.

I’m trying to figure out how to do this in the bigger area of “our environment,” a.k.a our house. It’s a little tougher, because a) it’s a bigger physical area with b) many more elements involved in it and c) many more goals/purposes and d) it involves five other people so I can’t just do things my way.

Well, I could, but I try not to be a jerk.

I think the key for applying FACA in the household is going to be dividing it into simpler/smaller areas. “House” or “household” is too big to conquer this way.

Here’s how you use FACA for the “be more focused” goal:

  • You figure out the most important elements.
  • You can’t have more than 5.
  • You decide how much time to spend on each one.
  • You schedule the time.
  • You spend the time on those top 5.
  • You don’t worry about the rest. After you spend time on your top 5, the rest fit in or they don’t.

If you remember that I said I use FACA to go deeper in my friendships, you’ll read that list again and think I’m kind of a jerk.

I am, kind of. I know who the really important people in my life are. I deliberately make time for those people.

Well, I’m learning to. Sometimes I am terrible about it and I get wrapped up in work and I don’t make time for the important people. I always regret it when I do that.

That’s why I’m being deliberate.

I don’t worry about spending time with all the other people. Ones I know and ones I don’t know. If it happens, great. I’m open! But I’m not prioritizing everyone, because that means prioritizing no one.

This is just the Pareto principle stated another way.