Over the past year or so I’ve been on a bit of a minimalism kick. I started reading sites like:
– zenhabits.net (which is where I got my current theme)
At first I didn’t really get it. But as I read more, I really began to see the attractiveness of it.
The two main tenants of minimalism that have attracted me the most so far are reducing physical clutter and reducing activity clutter.
For the physical side, I started to declutter my desk, especially at work, and I saw huge gains in how much work I got done. And how much I enjoyed working at my desk. I started to almost get addicted to decluttering because it felt so good to get rid of junk that was a constant subconscious drag on my attention. I really like looking at simpledesks.net for ideas how to make my work area more pleasant, though it looks like they haven’t updated the site in a while.
For the activity side, the argument by minimalists is that you can accomplish many more important things if you stop doing so many unimportant things. This seems ridiculously obvious, but it’s amazing how many things can fill your day that have no long term importance. Like checking facebook, the news, email, TV, etc. Of course it’s almost impossible to totally cut these things out, but I found it amazing how much more time I spent on these things than I initially thought before I really started paying attention.
Now when I find myself about to go down distraction lane, I try to just step back and stare outside, or do some decluttering, instead of spending more time at the computer screen. I’m also going to try writing blog posts instead, so we’ll see how that goes. I’ve been using the pomodoro technique (where you work for 25 or 50 min, then break for 5 or 10 min, etc.) recently as well, which I really like. Especially when I’m studying for a test or something really mentally draining, I can keep going for much longer periods of time using pomodoro. But it only works if I really break and don’t do anything for those few minutes. If you’re a pomodoro fan and have an iOS device, try the free 30/30 app, it’s fantastic.
I’ve got a tremendously busy semester ahead in grad school, but I hope that some of my new minimalist ideas will make it a little more manageable. If this topic interests you, I highly recommend checking out the links above.