Prune your life?


Prune (verb): to trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth. to cut away (a branch or stem). to reduce the extent of (something) by removing superfluous or unwanted parts.

Pruning a tree or plant is necessary if you want to harvest anything from it.

Around when I was 13, we moved to a new house that had an old, unused, and barren orchard. If I remember correctly, there was a cherry tree, a few apple trees, and a plum tree on the property. By the time we had purchased the house and moved, my family realized that the trees were desperately neglected. The whole property was overgrown, the grass was about 5 feet high, and the trees barely produced any fruit. (And if they did, they weren’t edible anyway.)

We wanted to make use of this amazing part of the property, so we learned what was needed to bring a dying orchard back to life. We had to learn the technique of “pruning” and where and when to do it.

Pruning is the act of trimming parts of a plant to improve its overall health or food production. Wineries prune every 3rd new bud off their vines to ensure the grapes that are growing get all the nutrients they need to make the best wine. We had to cut entire branches off our apple trees to get the tree back into shape where it would produce fruit instead of trying to grow into a more massive tree. You can re-direct the plant’s increasing priorities by trimming and controlling new growth.

Do you see where I am going with this overly detailed pruning story? It’s not like I am trying to educate you on proper gardening techniques…


If a tree needs trimming, clipping and nourishment to produce delicious apples, is it too far of a stretch to think that WE might function similarly? Think about it. If your life is overgrown with time-sucks, stress, continually missed deadlines or useless “branches” to other distractions – wouldn’t you FEEL more productive and happier with a cleaner and clearer life?

Now we can’t “prune” our friends and family very easily, so we need to take a more humane approach when trying to clean up some of the time-sucking distractions in our lives. How that translates is to set defined boundaries with the people or situations that take up time that you would rather use elsewhere. I really want to emphasize that “pruning” people out of your life or into a different capacity of your life ISN’T mean or selfish. If you are making decisions to set those boundaries, then chances are you are doing it for positive reasons.

The way to go about “pruning” one’s life can be easy – albeit a little uncomfortable.

What seems to continuously cause friction in your life? What conversations do you seem to have over and over – and cause stress?

Start with that. What REPEAT frustrations do you experience? How can you “prune” or shape that experience to be something that you need to do only once, or set boundaries around how you are going to continue that situation? Looking at how you can change your mindset or set a boundary is an excellent exercise for prioritizing yourself. To be able to show up for your partner, family, job, anything – you need to be the primary priority.

Are You a Tree_ How To Prune Your Life INLINE 2018

“You are not a tree. Move.”

This is one of Rachel’s favorite sayings, and it is totally applicable to setting boundaries around how you interact with others. If there is an UNAVOIDABLE event or meeting you have to attend – then make sure you have boundaries set up to put you in the most comfortable position. Example: You have to attend a work meeting on the weekend, but you make sure to leave as soon the meeting is over even if you boss asks people to stick around for a few minutes. If the meeting is scheduled from 8-9am, be gone no later than 9:05!

The point is to do your best to set yourself up for success by trimming down the issues or events that distract you on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. The more streamlined and organized your life is, the easier it will be to get past larger problems or challenges when they come up.

Prune the overgrowth in your life and focus on making some really tasty fruit. Click To Tweet

It’s not a perfect metaphor…but you get it.

So, where will you start pruning? If you feel mind-spinningly unsure of where to start, feel free to reach out for some help, ideas, or support in our Online Therapeutic Community on Facebook.