The 20% theory to overcome stress

Kathy Krugerbalance, find your flow, happiness, work-life balance7 Comments

I have a new theory to overcoming stress. I say theory because I’m still trying to practise it, and I use ‘overcome’ when really I mean ‘cope with’ or ‘reduce’, because I don’t think we can ever get rid of stress completely. But hey its a theory so I’ve got to aim high right!

Short and sweet – do 20% less and 20% more. I’m not crazy – the two sides of the equation don’t cancel each other out, but balance things out.

See my theory is that we mostly experience stress (mostly manufactured in our minds rather than because a lion is chasing us down the street), because of the combination of things we want to do/feel we must do/really have to do in our lives.

When we feel out of balance, which for most of us is a lot of the time, it’s mostly because we have too much of one thing going on and not enough of another.

The solution – do 20% less of the things you don’t like doing, that don’t bring you joy but that you still have to do (housework I’m looking at you)!

And do 20% more of the things you love doing, that bring you joy, and that you put off because of the other things you have to do.

20% is not a total lifestyle change, but it is more than a tweak. It’s a doable change that can make all the difference. Because really you are making a 40% change in your life, adding in the things that you love and reducing the things you don’t.

We’d all love to spend all our time doing what we love, and maybe that is almost achievable…one day.

But in the meantime I’d love you try the 20% theory out.

I have an extra theory too – just to get all scientific on you.

Do some things 20% more slowly and others 20% more quickly (if possible). So you linger doing the things you love, and be really present in the moment so that time stretches out (because it has a habit of flying when you’re immersed in something that sets your soul on fire). And instead of procrastinating about and resisting the things you don’t like doing, but that still have to be done, go for short, sharp bursts of energy and mindful action and you’ll almost make a game of the housework, bill-paying or whatever it is you’re not fussed on doing.

So that’s it – 20% – a good solid number to start with and enough from me today.

(PS – after teaching 10 yoga classes in 6 days due to covering several classes, I think 20% less even works with the things you love doing sometimes – you know ‘too much of a good thing’)

(PPS – we’re off to Brunswick Heads at the weekend, so sometimes doing a lot less is just perfect).

(PPPS – Supermoon crushing. Not the best photo but what a wonderful moon. Big moon. Big Changes.)


Linking up for IBOT with Kylie and the gang.

Namaste sign off_edited-1


Kathy X



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Kathy KrugerThe 20% theory to overcome stress

7 Comments on “The 20% theory to overcome stress”

  1. Jodi Gibson

    I love this theory Kathy, and I think I’ve been doing something very much along these lines for about a year now. And yes, it has made such a remarkable improvement to my life and wellbeing for sure.

  2. Deborah

    I like the idea of this Katy. It’d be irresponsible to completely quit the things we hate doing (like housework) but… the idea of reducing the stuff we hate (and increasing the stuff we love) is a more doable approach.

    I started Italian lessons a few weeks ago and am really not enjoying them. I’m halfway through the course and very very tempted to just stop going but feel a bit irresponsible / slack and am undecided if I’m just being lazy. Having said that, dropping them would give me a huge sense of relief and I’d much prefer to use that time for other stuff.

  3. Bel

    I like it! Today I choose to do 20% less housework and 20% more time on the couch reading a book! It is true though that if you sit back and work out what you are missing out on and what you don’t really need to be doing, you can find the time! I recently gave up ALL social media and it was amazing how much I fit in, like reading a book each night instead of scrolling or going for a bike ride with the kids. Enjoy your weekend away

  4. writeofthemiddle

    I must try this theory of yours! I’m finding myself getting rather stressed lately because I have my twins birthday on 19 November (yet to buy gifts), I leave on a cruise on 5 December and I need to get all my Xmas shopping done before I leave (yet to even start or even make a list) and I have blogging commitments and doc appts and exercise appts (EVERY DAY) and a house to run, shopping to do, washing, housework etc + more! I need to take some of my own advice too! Ahhhh breathe Min! 😉 xo

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