Forget Fantasy. Follow Your Dreams.

I sold my Kindle this part weekend — and I loved my Kindle.

But did I NEED my Kindle? No, not really. I have the Kindle reader on my iPad. And my Droid phone. And Lauren has it on her iPoad Touch. And I have it on the computer, although I hardly ever use it there.

Again — I really love the Kindle. But I didn’t need that extra device. I could tell I didn’t need it since I rarely used it.

But in my head, I could PICTURE myself using it. I could imagine cirucumstances where having the long batter life would be handy. I like how light the Kindle is and I could imagine things I was doing where that would come in handy.

But that’s all fantasy. It was my mind playing tricks on me and justifying the purchase. It was my heart holding onto objects and clutter because of some abstract symbol they meant to me.

But the way I’m feeling now is that many of the objects I own are owning me. They are distractions from what I really should be doing.

Getting rid of the stuff you hate — that’s easy. Getting rid of your fantasies so you can get the clarity to pursure your real dreams is much trickier.

What You Can Learn From Trader Joe

Lauren and I LOVE Trader Joe’s — a chain of small grocery stores that are in 25 states plus D.C. If you’ve shopped at TJ’s, chances are good you love themm too.

So I found this article from the Fortune really interesting. Some of it relates to my Essentials Project, too.

One example — Trader Joe is twice as profitable as Whole Foods Market per square foot and their secret isn’t more but less selection.

With the greater turnover on a smaller number of items, Trader Joe’s can buy large quantities and secure deep discounts. And it makes the whole business — from stocking shelves to checking out customers — much simpler.

Swapping selection for value turns out not to be much of a tradeoff. Customers may think they want variety, but in reality too many options can lead to shopping paralysis. “People are worried they’ll regret the choice they made,” says Barry Schwartz, a Swarthmore professor and author of TheParadox of Choice. “People don’t want to feel they made a mistake.” Studies have found that buyers enjoy purchases more if they know the pool of options isn’t quite so large. Trader Joe’s organic creamy unsalted peanut butter will be more satisfying if there are only nine other peanut butters a shopper might have purchased instead of 39. Having a wide selection may help get customers in the store, but it won’t increase the chances they’ll buy.

Essentials Project : Project Clutter

When I introduced my Essentials Project, I mentioned that I want to start cutting down my possessions to get to what is really important to me. Well, there’s another any of my life that I’ve realized is totally out of control — my projects.

Take a look at that picture. Those pieces of paper list the current projects that are on my plate. I started making a list of what I’m working on last night, typing each one in big letters so I can read them easily on my wall (and using different fonts for each one for clarity and because I love fonts.) Each line is a project that is supposed to be bringing in money.

And yet — I’m not bringing in very much money at all right now.

Once I typed out all the projects, my problem because totally obvious to me; I have way, way too much on my plate. Very very few of my projects are automated. My assistant Crystal is only working on a couple of them and the work she’s doing doesn’t directly relate to brining in income. Almost all of those 21 projects require my work and attention to nearly every details.

I’d saying I’m drowning in projects but let me put it another way — my projects are drowning because of ME and it’s not fair to either the projects or the people who could benefit from them.

So this becomes one area that I really need to cut down to eseentials. I need eliminate, delegate, automate and otherwise do things to let these projects to live and breathe.

Anyone else have the same problem? Do you have too many projects or too few?