“Editing” Your Life

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From the beginning of my career, editing has been a huge part of it. I was an English major, and started working in publishing after graduation. My first job was a dream: I edited radio programs, little mini-interviews with authors, and wrote scripts for the announcer. It was the precursor to what are now podcasts; this publisher was way ahead of the times!

(A side note of historical interest: Though the publisher was ahead of the times, the technology was not. We had the author interviews transcribed on paper, I would edit on paper, and the technician would actually splice the tape. I still chuckle when I think of how we used to do it.)

After the radio program was discontinued, I became a marketing writer, then a magazine editor, then I moved to editing books. My final formal book project was editing The Healing Code for Dr. Alex Loyd, which changed the course of my career. Yet because writing is still a big part of my life, I still find myself editing.

Which got me to thinking about how it’s a good idea to be editing our very lives, on an ongoing basis. To be most effective in our work, to be happy and fulfilled, to gain clarity on the meaning and direction of our life, we regularly need to do the same things I do to edit a book or article.

When editing a piece of writing, the goal is clarity. The goal of editing your life is the same: to get clarity on your direction and on the meaning of your life. To evaluate what is necessary, what is unnecessary or even joy-sucking. To communicate your unique “message” to the world in a way that can inspire, challenge, engage, or otherwise give perspective to others.

Isn’t that what we all want?

So how do you go about editing your life?

When I edit an article, I first look at the overall structure. Is there an overall theme? Where is this article going? What point is the author trying to make?

Similarly, it’s good to take stock of our lives every now and then. What do you want to have accomplished in your life, in various areas? Are your daily actions supporting that? Are the foundations of the different aspects of your life–relationships (God, self, other people), work, finances, health, physical environment–supporting your deepest values?

If not, it’s time to edit! Time to cut out. Time to tighten up. Time to rearrange. Time to clarify.

After looking at the overall structure of an article, adding or subtracting ideas and rearranging them, I then look at any obvious things that can be cut or need to be changed.

Sentences that say the same thing. Unnecessary words. Words that aren’t precise or powerful enough.

Similarly, the easiest way to start editing your life would be to cut out the obvious clutter. This clutter may be physical, mental, emotional, or even relational.

The key question to ask when decluttering your home, according to Marie Kondo, author of the famous The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is: “Does this bring me joy?” When editing your life, I suggest the simple question: “Is this [object/relationship/task/food/activity/thought pattern] life-giving, either to myself or others?”

When in doubt, cut it out! (Or modify it. Some relationships can’t be cut out completely, but they can be renegotiated in some way to be more life-giving.)

Once the obvious errors of punctuation are fixed, I look to the finer points of grammar, usage, punctuation, style, etc. As you clear the clutter in your life, look for the finer points, the details of your life. I suggest picking a particular area that seems the least life-giving.

Here’s where asking the question from The One Thing is helpful: “What’s the One Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

For instance, for me, I realized that getting to bed earlier would make me feel better, be more productive, and safeguard my health. So I am focusing on what I need to “edit out” of my life so that I can get a little more sleep. (In my case, it’s listening to online summits and podcasts at night. More information means more to process, which takes time and energy that needs to go toward rest.)

Use both the One Thing question and the “Is this life-giving?” question to shine light on what is most important, and edit your life down to the essentials that make for a life of productivity, purpose, joy and substance . . .  A life that matters. 

Heart issues–the (often unconscious) negative images, memories, and beliefs–are definitely things to be “edited out.” If you would like help with that process, feel free to check out my coaching at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Elise Kennedy
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I like what you say about ‘time and energy that needs to go toward rest’. It’s true, resting is doing something, and something important. Perhaps like the space on a page that allows one to see clearly what we are reading, the space between engaging in activities, learning new things and digesting issues that we have become aware of, is vital. Not resting would be like trying to read a page of writing with no breaks, spaces or punctuation. Thanks again for writing!

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