Before I begin working on a project be it at my day job or my blog, the first step I take is clearing out my work space. The more clutter I have before me, the more distractions I face. This preliminary step I take also happens before I cook, when I get ready for the Sabbath, and prior to saving several files onto my desktop.
When we clear out our workspaces and homes we are essentially being minimalists. As the saying goes – less is more. Less stuff equals more productivity. Less stuff equals less mental blockage.
The benefits of minimalism are apparent – anxiety decreases, a better sense of clarity, clearer focus, and inevitably more money in your pocket.
By applying this standard of removing unnecessary elements out of our daily lives, we can drastically improve the quality of our daily grind.
I sat down and examined the best ways to find a less-is-more approach and came up with a set of principles that I think can help many.
Here are 8 ways to live a minimalist life
Minimizing Social Media Use
It’s been stated that the average social media user is on a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for two hours and sixteen minutes per day.
Imagine you sat down and read a book for 135 minutes each day uninterrupted. How many books would you eventually finish per year? What if you blogged for your business’s website over two hours a day? How much new business would you attract?
Social media for many of us is nothing more than mental junk food. The amount of time we spend on these platforms is absurd. The opportunity cost is increasingly worrisome considering the fact that 14 waking hours per week are being wasted on seeing what others gossip about.
Another negative impact when it comes to social media usage is the level of anxiety we develop. I joined Facebook and Instagram fairly late in the game. Before signing up to these platforms, I lived in placid ignorance. Now that I am on these sites regularly, I have never been more jealous before. I am certain my blood pressure is hitting a new peak everyday because of my exposure to the constant inflow of faux political turmoil that’s peddled by these tech companies.
Do I need to know what other people own and how they show it off? No. Do I need to be aware of our political landscape? Not really. Unless you are advertising or trying to gain new business, casual social media use is one of the biggest obstacles we face today that stops us from living better lives.
To truly be a minimalist, you have to go cold-turkey on social media. Use that new found freedom and time to work on yourself, work on a new hobby, focus on your family, or invest more time in your business.
Using our phones only when necessary
Internet browsing, apps, games – these are all distractions found conveniently in our pockets. There is an entire world out there that is outside the boundaries of the small screens attached to these mini-computers that are advertised to us ad nasuem. The average smart phone user spends three hours per day on their devices.
We live in an age where information is so easily attainable that we don’t know what to do with all of this accessibility. We are getting to a point where we fill our minds up with unnecessary information.
Picture consuming a smoothie with all of the required nutrients and calories you need for the day. But after taking down that smoothie, you continue to eat with no pause. Those excess calories will make you fat, tired, lazy, and eventually sick.
Our excess mental calories are decreasing our attention spans, making us less creative, less ambitious, and dependent on our smart phones for information as opposed to figuring things out independently.
Simplifying our eating habits by going vegan
When I went vegan, everything became easier and more simplified. For example, when I would prepare chicken for dinner prior to going plant-based, I would need to wash my hands several times, make sure I didn’t contaminate any of the clean utensils, clean the counter thoroughly incase there was raw chicken juice on the surface, and then verify if the chicken was fully cooked during the cooking process.
As a vegan, there is no such thing as bacterial contamination when preparing cauliflower or kale. They simply need to be rinsed and you’re done.
You drastically decrease your risk to various curable diseases when going vegan. There is nothing more minimalist than minimizing the amount of doctor visits and medications you need to take. On a global scale, by simply avoiding even 1 pound of meat per week, on average, you help conserve over 2,000 gallons of water. That’s right, to produce 16 ounces of steak, 32,000 ounces of water is required. That’s equivalent to 946 1 liter bottles of Smart Water.
Check out my Guide on How To Go Vegan for more information on how to live a plant-based lifestyle.
Buying pragmatic clothing
When we think of the term “classic”, what comes to mind? I picture a classic album such as Abbey Road or a watch like the Rolex Submariner. What makes something a classic? It’s ability to never go out of style and be an item that has withstood the test of time, fads, and life cycles of consumerism.
When we purchase clothing, minimalism demands we keep it classic. Plain jeans. T shirts. Button down shirts that aren’t loud. Chucks and vans. Denim jackets. These articles of clothing looked great when worn in the 80s, 90s, and yes even 2019.
How does this make you a minimalist? There is a certain aesthetic standard which still exists even if you are trying to live a bare-bones life. You should still aim to be presentable. By wearing fitted jeans, with vans sneakers, and a plain t-shirt with a bomber jacket, you won’t be on the receiving end of any side-eye.
Wearing one watch
I am a big advocate for men wearing watches. I wrote an article on the topic on the importance of having a solid timepiece on your wrist which can be found here.
A watch plays an important role in a man’s life. It tells them the time, it lets your audience know who you are, and it is typically a purchase that is made because of a milestone you have reached in your life. It’s good to own a watch. But keep your watch collection to one perfect timepiece. You don’t need a dress watch, a beater watch, and an everyday watch. This creates a clutter. Stick to one perfect watch that fits all occasions.
Utilizing symmetry in our home décor
When you walk into a perfectly symmetrical home, there is a sense of calm that takes over your body automatically. If your home furnishings are misplaced and all out of wack, you will be hit with a wave of unfamiliar discomfort.
When your home decor is lined up allowing proper space to move with appropriate and perfect proportions from your walls, the home is spacier and your mind mimics this openness.
Even ugly furniture when positioned properly in one’s home creates a better looking home. The aesthetic in your life matters. When things look and feel ugly, you absorb that negativity.
Selecting a simple hobby
If your hobby requires a lot of equipment, a specifically structured field, or a large sum of money, you are not living a minimalist life.
I recommend making it a hobby to jog every day which requires sneakers and land only. Any stress that you felt during work will melt right out of your minds-eye the moment your feet start hitting the pavement.
Blogging is another therapeutical pastime that clears your mind and may help you make side income. The cost of entry is low and learning to start a blog is free because of all of the online resources available.
I am a big proponent of building. As a religious person, I feel there is natural need within women and men to build. This desire for creation stems from the opening events that occurred in The Book of Genesis. This isn’t a religious rant. The point I am making is we have a desire to create and see our creations materialize. Certain hobbies check that box. Find a leisurely activity that’s cost of entry is minimal and whose benefits can continuously expand and grow over time.
Doing one thing a day
This is the most valuable advice I have ever received – do one important thing a day. Many of our daily tasks are unnecessary or simply aren’t game changers. But there is always that one task hovering over us like a dark cloud. Minimalism is a concept that clears our heads and lives of unnecessary noise. That one task we all have to do each day that drags us down must be completed in order to a live a better life.
The best time to do that one thing a day is right when we wake up or get to the office. Our heads are most clear before we eat a heavy lunch or start going through the motions of that mid-morning buzz where work just starts piling up.
To summarize, the 8 ways to live a minimalist life entail minimizing our social media use, using our phones only when necessary, simplifying our eating habits by going vegan, purchasing classic and pragmatic clothing, having just one perfect timepiece, making sure our home setup is symmetrical and spacey, have one simple hobby, and completing one important task per day.