You’ve heard it literally a million times: more is better. On the surface, it makes sense, I mean, given the option, who would turn down the option to have more ice cream (liars, that’s who)? I know if you offered me more concert tickets, I’d say yes before you finished your sentence. But is more really better? Can there ever be too much of something? Of a good thing? Of anything?
It may be hard to come to a consensus on this, but I can tell you that those who subscribe to the idea of minimalism will tell you that if more is indeed better, well, then less is most definitely more.
In a nutshell, the idea of minimalism is to remove the nonessential items from your life in order to make space for the things that matter: relationships, experiences, gratitude, etc.
At first glance this is a bit overwhelming and a little too “out there” for most of us (including me). But worry not, I’m not here to sell you on adopting the minimalist lifestyle. I’m here to tell you how adopting some aspects of it can improve your life at work, at home, and internally (up in that noggin of yours).
HOME SWEET (MINIMALIST) HOME
There are countless ways to begin the journey of minimalizing your home. Anything from purging your wardrobe of unnecessary clutter, to buying fresh produce and eliminating non-perishables – this will save you money AND keep your body clean and healthy. But why is it important to minimalize (still shocked that it’s a word) your home life?
A few things come to mind right off the bat: 1) It allows you to focus on quality, not quantity, and if there’s one thing that stuck with me from my elementary schooling, it’s that (Lord knows it wasn’t the three years of Texas History I took.). 2) The aesthetic that comes with a minimalist-ish home is a clean one. Tired of your house looking like an anthropomorphized clutter monster threw up everywhere? Exactly. 3) Last but certainly not least, ridding yourself of ultimately nonessential items in your home tests your comfort level, and if I love anything, it’s pushing the boundaries of comfort.
ALL WORK AND NO MINIMALISM MAKES JACK A DULL BOY
As was/is the case with adopting minimalist aspects to your home living, there are countless ways to do so in your work life, as well. For starters, let’s keep that desktop clean and tidy. Which one? Both (mind blown, right?)! The things on your desktop, both computer and physical, are there for a reason, but do they need to remain there? If the answer is yes, obviously keep them there, but if the answer is no, chuck ‘em.
I have a problem with throwing things away if I think they may be useful in the future, which is why my desk/top is always a disaster. Good news is, I’ve been let in on a little secret: filing. If you think you may need something in the future, put it in a file and get it out of your space.
It’s so hard to get work done under favorable conditions. Now add the element of clutter, and having to look for something in that mess, and constantly knocking into something when you move your mouse…looks like your productivity ran off a cliff.
And let's not forget about your email inbox. That little red number can sneak up on you and all of a sudden you have hundreds of unread emails. It's enough to drive you mad. But as an Unroll.Me user, you already know the virtues of keeping your inbox clean, don't you?
Clear your space at least once a week – last thing Friday afternoon or first thing Monday morning is my suggestion – and feel the productivity air beneath your wings.
KEEP YOUR (MINIMALIST) HEAD ABOVE WATER
Isn’t it interesting that a lot of people find themselves to be happiest when traveling, or on vacation, or when they can just remove themselves from their everyday lives, but yet somehow we always strive for more? The whole “keeping up with the Joneses” expression – comparing yourself to your neighbors and trying to keep up with their lavish lifestyle – is not only (potentially) devastating to your bank account, it can also have debilitating effects on your happiness.
The truth is, happiness isn’t bought, it’s cultivated. No matter how great you have it, someone will always have it better. It’s time for us to stop worrying about how we can have more, and start appreciating the greatness of what we currently have. Once we do that, what the Joneses have won’t seem all that appealing. I promise.
Until next time – keep it simple