The life-changing magic of not giving a f*ck.

“How to stop spending time you don’t have, with people you don’t like, doing things you don’t want to do.”

It’s now been ten days since I’ve given a fuck. Well that’s not strictly true, I’ve given a fuck about many things that are important to me. But not one single unnecessary fuck have I given.

And I have Sarah Knight to thank for this liberation.

Former corporate gal now full-time writer Sarah is what some might consider a potty-mouthed, but I consider straight-talking, self-help guru (my words, not hers) who I love with all my heart.

She has written a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck and pretty much every woman and many men I know should immediately buy a copy and put it into play. Because it is indeed life-changing.

Sarah Knight's 'Practical Parody.' from Little, Brown and Company.

If the title seems familiar, it’s probably because you’ve heard of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Knight’s book isn’t a parody of that, indeed the two philosophies can work hand in hand. It’s about keeping what makes our lives better and dispensing with the rest. It’s like tidying up your time and energy.

When did you stop giving a fuck? MM Confessions- They moment I knew it was over.

Especially important at this time of year when work and school are returning and there seem to be so many things we are expected to give a fuck about. Things that threaten to take our time away from doing things we actually enjoy, like spending time with family, or reading, or running, or whatever you like.

The Home Economics teachers at my high-school would have been very impressed with Sarah, she works strictly to a budget. It isn’t a financial budget, it’s a fuck budget. Sarah’s theory is that we all have a finite amount of fucks we can give about anything and we need to be careful how and where we use them.

Watch Sarah Knight talk about all the things you don't need to give a f**k about today. Post continues below.


Use your limited fucks on the things that are important to you.

Like just now, for me. Just as I was contemplating an example of how you can put this into play, my doorbell rang. I answered the door, listened briefly to the nice lady who was there to talk about religion and very politely thanked her and said I was not interested and wished her a nice day.

30 seconds. Not even a nibble out of my fuck budget. Also I get this great anecdote to illustrate my point.

I’m very clear on my religious views. So as nice and sincere as this lady was, her views on this are not in my fuck budget.

No need for me to be rude to her, but equally no need for me to give a fuck about something just because a complete stranger was standing at the door wanting to talk about something she gives a fuck about.

And most importantly, no need for me to feel bad about it. For starters, I’m not wasting her time. There may well be someone right next door who does want to talk to her about this (I know for certain there isn’t, but that’s not the point), and she is now free to go and spend her time there.

Some of the things Carolyn now has time for...getting through her book collection. Image: Supplied.

Everybody wins.

The key to my guru Sarah’s method is actually having a think about what’s important to you and prioritising that AND NOT FEELING BAD ABOUT IT.

If the school wants some for a stall and you like making cakes, make cakes for the school. But if you don’t like making cakes, find a way to contribute that’s meaningful to you.

Let’s face it, if you don’t like baking, they’re probably going to be fairly crappy cakes anyway.

And work. Yes, work is important and sometimes we all have to do things we’re not that jazzed about, but I bet with a little thought you’d identify that there’s a lot in your working week that you don’t give a fuck about and don’t need to give a fuck about in order to still do your job well. And yet you are letting it suck your fuck budget dry.

Clearly if you don’t like the F-bomb, this book may not be for you. But remember, you don’t have to say the word “fuck” if you don’t want to, but nor do you have to give a fuck if anyone else wants to say it. Simple.

Change your life, give a fuck about the things that matter to you.

Carolyn Swindell is a novelist and freelance journalist from Sydney. She used to work in high heels in politics, big corporations, universities, and sport before becoming a full-time writer. She likes travelling and cocktails and blogs about both at