By Vanessa Salas of Shed, Mom
As the resident self-professed minimalist around these parts, my answer is an unequivocal YES!
We don’t need to eschew all of our worldly possessions or trim them down to 100 objects or less to be minimalists. We don’t have to hie off to the mountains and live off the land and never eat another bag of Cheetos, ever. There’s no need to leave everything behind and fly off to Bali to “find yourself” under the tutelage of Ketut Liyer.
When we have kids, a mortgage, and a job that pays the bills, all that sounds impractical, unrealistic and frankly, more like an excuse to escape responsibility. For a type A workaholic who thrives on deadlines and the “highs” of a productive work week, going minimalist might sound plodding, dull, a waste of time.
But anyone can benefit from a bit of minimalism in their lives, right here, right now. I dare say the busier we are, the more we need to incorporate it into the daily grind.
I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” Mahatma Gandhi
Consider these simple suggestions:
1. Mono task. Productivity junkies pride themselves on their ability to do multiple things at once. I agree that the “killing two birds” bit does work for mundane tasks or chores: folding the laundry while catching up on the latest soaps, dancing while mopping the floor, or listening to your favorite podcast while ironing clothes.
But for others, multi-tasking can backfire. We end up being less efficient or productive. Putting all of our energy in one activity allows us to focus, achieve clarity, accomplish our work faster, and eliminate mistakes. There’s less chance of having to make a “do-over” because we were single minded in our purpose.
2. De-clutter. Devoting just a few minutes to clearing unneeded things in our surroundings will make us feel motivated and – wait for it bottom-line business people – productive! Another bonus I found from frequent decluttering is that having fewer stuff necessitates less need to organize. That means less boxes, files, folders, or containers to put more (needless) stuff in.
3. Consume less. And I mean not just things like clothes and gadgets, but “distractions” that constantly bombard our aural and visual senses on a daily basis. In our hyper connected, instant gratification world, let’s take some time to second guess our purchases and think about the cost of convenience. We might find that we already have everything we need, and that everything else is really just extra stuff.
4. Spend time in nature. And when you do, let your five senses go on hyperdrive and take everything in: feel how the breeze touches the beads of perspiration forming on your arms, the sound of birds chirping over your head, the intricate colors of the gumamela plant you usually ignore on your neighbor’s backyard, the powdery soft sand tickling your toes at the beach. I find this to be a wonderful way to unplug and reconnect with the ebb and flow of life, sans gadgets.
How do you incorporate a bit of minimalism into your busy lives?