Doing the Bare Minimum





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Doing the Bare Minimum
By Elizabeth Filips • Issue #11 • View online
Having always been a perfectionist, my natural state is that of relentless overworking. Reading 3 times the necessary amount. Doing work no-one will recognise, need or use. Constantly feeling let down (by myself and others) after what feels like throwing away days or weeks of painful dedication.
And why?
Sure, there’s areas of life where I just can’t get around sitting down and putting in the hours. But for most things (if not everything), there’s just something less and smarter I could probably do.
For example: I hate daily routines. I rarely do the same thing two days in a row. Not because I’m spontaneous and fun, but just because I easily get bored. And so, when it comes to daily habits I always wanted to do (journalling comes to mind), I always used to quit after 3 days, feel guilty for 3 months, and pick it up again after 3 years - just to repeat the process.
And so I’ve (way too late in life) come to discover the bare minimum.
What is the bare minimum I can do with something I don’t particularly enjoy, and still reap the rewards?
For me, that’s a once in 2 or 3 weeks journalling routine with pre-made questions. No more painful overworking and self hate.
If I have to be involved in a pointless project I don’t enjoy: what is the bare minimum I can do to get by and focus my energies on doing something I’m actually passionate in?
I know this might seem painfully obvious to the healthy people out there, but it’s been groundbreaking for me. I feel like the sooner I can let go of my ego, and accept that I’m actually not good at/don’t enjoy/do not have to force myself to be passionate about every task I’m given, suddenly, life gets more fun.
Wishing you a great week,
Elizabeth xx

Quote of the week
“What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate.“ 
— Casey Neistat
My Favourite Things This Week
Book - I’ve been reading “Time Enough for Love” by Robert Heinlein and it’s amazing. I haven’t read fiction in a few months, so apart from the joy of going back to it, this book is an absolute goldmine of life advice. It’s set in a futuristic world where humans live for millenia and are an intergalactic species, and they look back and dissect our behaviour in the present world. The third person view of our habits, culture and thoughts is so refreshing, ridiculous and fascinating, I would recommend this book to anyone. (It also has a bit of biology and genetics thrown in which particularly pique my attention).
Podcast - Tim Ferris’s podcast with Steven Pressfield is just beautiful. If you fancy listening to one of the most inspiring life trajectories and realistic, down-to-earth-yet ‘follow your dreams’ attitude, I would 10/10 give this a listen.
Kindle - I’ve finally joined the gameee. I don’t know what’s taken me so long, but I always convinced myself that Kindles were “too expensive”, perhaps because they were out of my price-range every time I looked into buying one for the last few years. BUT we’re here, this is where I’ve been reading for the last week and it feels like a dream. I can lie in bed, turn around, hold it while I’m cooking, in the bus, in the tube, train, anywhere.
Paracetamol - (sadly not sponsored) but my COVID-vaccine side effects have been followed by a potential true flu, which now means I’ve spent the last two weeks only surviving my headaches with the help of this baby. It means I cannot bear to hear the sound of my own voice, or have the energy to properly speak out loud, which has made filming painfully impossible. Here’s to hoping next week is better.
YouTube Videos this week
Full Day in the Life of a Medical Student in London
Full Day in the Life of a Medical Student in London
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Elizabeth Filips

Hiya, I'm Elizabeth, a medical student and artist in London. Every Sunday I write about exploring meaning, productivity, little pleasures and just navigating life. And some of my favourite things that week.

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