Pruning is the selective removal of certain parts of a plant. Reasons to prune can be for deadwood removal, for shaping, or for increasing the yield and quality of fruits or flowers. Pruning is a necessary part of gardening, and I believe that often it is also a necessary action in life. Today I want to look at the benefits of pruning in our lives. Pruning, or cutting away, some areas can be life-changing.

There are three reasons for pruning. Pruning is done for heath, for shape, and for focused productivity.

1. When you prune for health, you clear away the unnecessary and the detrimental so that what remains can flourish. You remove the activities and the people who are keeping you from growing.

Sometimes we get caught up in other people’s plans. When that happens, we find ourselves spending more time and resources on other people’s goals and dreams than we do our own. That’s when it becomes necessary to prune. Ask yourself, “Is this activity producing anything positive in my life? Is it moving me toward my own goals?”

Start today by making a list of all your activities. Make two columns. Title the first column, MY GOALS &RESPONSIBILITIES and the second column EVERYTHING ELSE. Now list your activities. If you really want to see a clear picture, write down how much time each week you spend doing each activity. Now, look over your list. Did you find that you are spending a lot of your time working on other people’s dreams or are you spending time in areas that don’t matter at all? Are these areas you can prune?

What about the people in your life? Ask yourself this question, “Does this person encourage and promote me? Does he add to my life? Does she make me better?”

Your relationships will make or break you. I know that right now some of you are thinking of family members you would like to prune! Before you are too hasty, make sure that your pruning plans line up with your core values and make sure that YOU are positioned correctly. Do you add to their lives? Do you make them better? It’s never a one-way street. Don’t get caught up in the self-centered vortex—it’s not all about you. But it is vitally important that you do have people standing beside you who are FOR you. If you are spending a lot of your time with people who bring you down, who create problems, and who are not encouraging you and promoting you, think about pruning. Cut back on the time you give to people who drain you.

Aside from personal relationships, what about the people in your organization or business? Are they producing? Are they beneficial? Or have they become deadwood that is taking up resources that would be better spent elsewhere?

2. When you prune for shape, you take away the areas that do not fit the picture of your vision for your life. You may be spending a lot of time on social media or playing video games. Perhaps you prefer talking on the phone or watching TV. These are not wrong, but some of this time may need to be pruned to create a life shape that matches your vision.

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you won’t reach your goals by gaming all night. If your vision is for a great relationship, you will need to let go of some TV time and spend that time in conversation and working together toward something you both want. You must prune and cut away the areas of your life that do not fit your picture, so you can create the life of your dreams.

3. When you prune for focused productivity, you are cutting away good things so that your resources can be spent on the best things. Good is the enemy of great. Decide what is great in your life, then prune your other activities and people, even though they may be good, so that your focus, your time, your money, and your energy is spent on the great. This is the key to a successful life.

Pruning is not easy, but it is necessary. Pruning lightens your load. It directs you. It makes you more focused, and it makes you much more effective, profitable, and valuable.

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