Updated: Mar 18
Do you want clutter to take over your life?
I am a fan of minimalism, even though I'm not a minimalist, which is probably a little hypocritical of me. I'd consider myself to be an aspiring Moderate Minimalist.
There are many different aspects of minimalism. There is minimalism in your home, with your devices/electronics, in your activities, and in your mind.
Minimalism in your home
Minimalism in your house is usually what people are thinking of when they hear the word minimalism. The idea is you reduce your belongings significantly to the bare necessities. I like the KonMarie method, where you only keep things in your house if they spark joy for you. This helps focus your attention towards the things that matter most and helps you weed out the distractions and things that limit your creativity in life.
Minimalism on your devices
Similarly, we can minimize our electronic devices. If we minimize the number of different applications we're using or the amount of random files we have archived on our computer, that saves memory space, and it also creates a less cluttered device, which is good for your machine and good for organization.
I know I will sometimes get caught up in a bunch of different things I want to do, I used to have about nine apps that I opened every single morning and did my morning routine with, which was a bit excessive.
Everything I was consuming on those apps was good and wholesome, and pretty edifying. However there was so much consumption, which created a fog from all of that clutter. It split my attention between too many different things.
The difficulty is, I don't always know what to cut out. It's difficult to go through your phone and delete apps, especially when you use all of them. You think, “This one helps me learn a language, this one is my journal, this one reminds me to do the tasks I need to do today, and this one is how I check my finances…” There are so many wonderful things, but there are good, better and best things.
Ask yourself, is this the most important thing? Is it the best thing you can be doing? Maybe everything we are doing is good, but is it the best?
Minimalism in our activities
Similarly, minimalism with our activities has to do with doing too many good things and not as many best things. I am a believer in doing many good things, but I think too often we wear ourselves down with it and miss what is most important.
We want to do everything. And we do this to our kids too. We want to learn piano, violin, three languages, math, science, the arts, elocution, and so many great and wonderful things.
But what is best for you to do? If you split yourself between too many things, you're going to get overwhelmed and you're going to burn out. Then soon enough, you're not doing anything. This goes back to efficiency versus effectiveness, like Stephen Covey talks about in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
When we try to be efficient, we're trying to get as much done in as little time as possible. But that's not what life is about. Life is about slowing down and focusing on what matters most.
Work on what is best. It’s nice to consume good things, but there are better and best things to consume. We should focus the majority of our time on those best things, so that we're making the most effective use of our time and our lives.
Minimalism in your mind
I tend to get really excited about a bunch of different things and obsess so over multiple things at once. Then I get stressed out because I'm not staying on top of all those things. Again, these are all good things, but there's too much for me to actually do an effective job of what I want to do.
We're only designed to handle so much. Human minds come with limited RAM, processing power, and will power. So we have to be patient with ourselves for that.
In our minds, we should focus on what matters most. We should first think about what we can create and keep the number of things to a minimum. Then after we create, we should consume the best things we can.
My challenge for you is to think of two or three things that you want to focus on creating and two or three things that you want to focus on consuming. I want you to put effective effort into those four to six things. You don't have to be perfect.
For instance, something I'm focusing my creative thoughts on is writing this website. Another creative focus of mine right now is creating better health with the right nutrition and exercise. My highest creative priority is continuing to develop my wonderful relationship with my husband.