Blue Ocean Creation Step Two: Reduce

Let’s take a personal look at the second step of the Four Actions Framework for creating a Blue Ocean: reduce. You might wonder why I’m not starting with step one, but it seems easier to start with reducing than full-out elimination. Decluttering is scary, whether it be stuff or activities!

Is there an element of family life that you try to uphold because the people around you deem it to be important but deep down, you don’t really care about, or you wish you did care about but you can’t make yourself? What if someone gave you permission to quit, or dial back, would you jump at the chance? Don’t feel guilty; this could be your golden opportunity to start carving out your Blue Ocean!

Ask yourself, “Is this really necessary, or is it an area where I can cut back in order to carve out space for more important things?”

What would happen if you chose to perform well below “industry standard”? I’m not talking about low performance by default and feeling guilty about it. I’m proposing you intentionally, and without guilt, choose to focus on things that deliver greater value to you.

Such an area for me is hygiene. I wish I cared more about it, but I just can’t be bothered to make my kids wash their hands before meals and even after they use the bathroom. I dislike bathing them, so it only happens once a week, if that, and even then I delegate it to my (thankfully willing) husband. I could go on, but you get the point. It’s nothing to be proud of. Hygiene is a good thing and there’s nothing noble about being dirtier than others. I could feel guilty about it, or I could decide to focus my energy on building the things I do very much care about, and be at peace with being below industry standard in the hygiene department, at least for now.

What about you? What would you reduce if you had permission?

5 thoughts on “Blue Ocean Creation Step Two: Reduce”

  1. I agree with you on the kids hygiene. I figure a little dirt builds your immune system. I had a friend who bathed her kids every. single. night. Ugh! In the summer, I washed them more than the winter, but only if they were completely filthy. And if we managed to go to the stream to get out of the heat, it took care of it for me! Teeth brushing is another story altogether, though.

    I’m trying to think of things I could quit or dial back on, but I’m not really coming up with anything. Probably because I’ve already dialed back!


  2. Table manners. My kids are well below industry standard. Lol! I just don’t want to spend my meals being referee.

    What about space? We are deliberately choosing to remain in tight quarters because it’s easier to maintain and we can put the saved money into other areas. I know a number of families who see kids sharing rooms as just short of child abuse…

    1. Monica, thank you for your examples! Living smaller than average is a great example of a Blue Ocean choice, and the flack you get is a sign that you’ve stepped out of the Red Ocean and are making people uncomfortable. Whenever we choose to be different there will be people who disagree and respond negatively. The main question I see here is not if small living is an acceptable choice, but if you need to do more than politely listen to the concerns of others and go on your merry way. That would be the easy solution, but sometimes people intimately involved in our lives are the ones who disapprove and things become much more complicated. That’s one of many issues I’m trying to figure out and want to explore with this blog. Thanks for joining the conversation!

  3. I know what you mean about the prejudice against kids sharing rooms — but that’s absolutely a modern phenomenon and I’m not sure it’s a good one. You want to know what is child abuse? Colleges forcing freshmen who have never shared a room with a sibling to adjust to the radical changes and stresses of college while cohabiting with a total stranger, a stranger who may have vastly different habits and values.

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