Declutter

As I have tiptoed into the world of minimalism, I found great encouragement that getting rid of "stuff" is, in fact, the way to go.   Have you given it thought?   Given it a try?  What are those things that you can not only live without but live better without?

I started the process of removal with my books and magazines.   I then moved on to getting rid of excess clothing.   I will write about those in a future post, but I wanted to share an awakening I had while thinking through the process.   Not only can "stuff" clog our home and living space....but "stuff" can clog our mind and thought process.   In a world of 24-hour news and entertainment, instantaneous information at our fingertips, a computer in our pocket, and bells and whistles, it can be difficult to focus on the things that bring us joy.   I am at a stage in life where I cannot allow that to continue.

Our happy place is different for each individual.  For me, that place is in relationships and social encounters.  I found myself missing out on those because of the amount of information and "stuff" bombarding me every day.   I'll share my first few steps toward fixing the problem.   I'll admit, these aren't earth shattering and they may well be what 85 percent of the population already does, but it has helped me immensely in a matter of days.

1.  In a move I learned from author and influencer Tim Ferris, and his book The Four Hour Work Week, I have stopped treating email like a text feature.    I had become chained to email, finding myself watching and waiting for some fire to come in so that I could pounce and put it out.   In looking at several interactions, I realized I was using it much like a texting feature.   Thus, I set reminders at 10am and 2pm, and I only open and check email at those times.   I have notified my co-workers that if they have a true emergency to call me and I will respond.  Otherwise, expect a reply sometime after 10 or 2.    The freedom this simple move has provided is profound.  I can dig into projects and give them the attention they deserve.  I challenge you to try this for one week and let me know if it made a difference.

2.  I turned notifications off on my phone, except for phone and text (since those may represent family trying to reach me).    I was getting dinged or buzzed very two minutes about each new Tweet or IG post, each Facebook notice, each news story, each email....information overload!!  Now I sit when I have some quiet time and see what my friends are posting.  I have the time to read and enjoy the posts that I didn't have before.

3.  I cleaned off my desk.  No more loose paper crowding my space and causing visual confusion.   No more wasted time sifting through loose piles of junk (until the next email came in LOL).  

4.  I turned off my TV in the morning and have a nice quiet breakfast, sometimes outdoors, while I contemplate the day ahead.   Cable news and sports have created a dangerous and endless cycle of feeling as though there has to be a bigger, better, meaner, scarier story every ten seconds.  It just isn't the case.  Once or twice a day, while on break, I will check a couple of news outputs that I trust and that is it.   No more getting angry over my coffee over the last stupid thing that someone said.

These four things seem simple.  In fact, they are very simple   But the payout has been superb.  I've found myself more relaxed and generally more content than I have been in some time.    I encourage you to give these a try if you find yourself feeling enslaved to "stuff."   See if it makes a difference.  Perhaps you have tried other techniques that were helpful.  Please share so that others can try to include them in their own fight against "stuff."

In a world of several things competing for your attention, I sincerely thank you for taking a moment to read my blog post!

Jonathan-

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