Let simple be the mantra:
- Make your contracts brief, small, and simple.
- Make your projects short, finite, and clear.
- Make your deliverables obvious, simple, and measurable.
- Make quality a higher priority than quantity (if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it)
I believe that living simply – the art of minimalism – is a basic human need.
Less is really so much more. Every item you own steals time from you. It takes time to own it, time to move it, time to store it. Eliminate it and find a lot more time in life.
Things are like water; too much in, and you’ll get flooded. But also, if you don’t let enough of it out regularly, you’ll be slowly drowned. The answer is to slow down the inflow and let it out regularly. All spaces should, at the most, reach 75% full i.e. 3/4; they are much easier to handle that way. Anytime it gets more than that, it’s time to start “letting out”.
Here are some ideas on how I, as a budding minimalist, simplify things and create space for myself at home:
My desk – clutter free
Flat surfaces should always be clutter-free. Therefore my desk has nothing on it, apart from the computer.
And the computer, I try to keep it clean, efficient and secure in a minimalist way:
- Use a minimum amount of installed software; everything else should be uninstalled to speed things up.
- Have a clear desktop.
- Have a program or reminder set up to clear out your bin, cache & browser history daily or weekly. Use a program like CCleaner to make sure that when you switch off every day, your recycle bin, cache, and browser history is deleted.
- Have an anti-virus program like AVG to ensure that your computer is regularly scanned for harmful viruses and “prey” for locking it and finding it when it goes missing.
- Use a password manager program like Protonpass to store all your passwords in one place. Never store passwords in your browser or computer. This way they are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, password protected from thieves, and safe if your computer is lost.
- Use a secure online file management system like protondrive to store all your files online. This way, they are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, password protected from thieves, and safe if your computer is lost.
My office – paperless
* Here are some ideas for sorting out your paperwork. Save the environment and buy a digital scanner and scan everything useful into a program like Notion, or simply into a file on your protondrive that’s called “everything that used to clutter up my office”. (I’d use a personal assistant or a child to assist you in doing this one morning or afternoon). Then divide an area into 4 parts (a table or floor space will do).
- An area with a big disposable bag or cardboard box in it for throwing the scanned things away.
- An area for forwarding or passing on. Deliver these things to the people that should have them, and the rest pay an assistant or child to do for you.
- An area for Important papers – file them.
- An area for Immediate action – spend the rest of the day sorting this out. Anything that can be done in less than 15 minutes should be in this pile, and get your assistant to help you.
* Rules: Don’t make more piles than 4, and don’t pick up a piece of paper more than once. Get used to making solid decisions, fast.
My media – digitalized
- All DVD’s, CDs, children’s drawings & Photos copied to digital format and stored on the cloud so that they are accessible from any device.
- All my books were donated a few years back and I’m slowly re-reading the best of them as eBooks on my tablet or listening to them as AudioBooks.
My home – Tidy
Here are some ideas on how to get your home in minimalistic shape
- Methodically go through every storage space a day at a time
- Ask: “have I used it in the past year?” “If it was stolen would I replace it?”
- If you have two of the same things, keep the better one and give away the other.
- As above, beware of flat surfaces, everything should be stored, and all surfaces including the floor as clear as possible.
- I have a personal rule that each time I bring something new into the house, 2 things have to go out.
- Everything has it’s own designated place, one place. and if it is moved out of place, then it must be returned to it’s designated place – yes, everything.
The wardrobe – organised
- Ask: “have I worn it in the past year?” “if it was lost, would I replace it?”
- When you’ve washed an item and put it back into the wardrobe, put it to the left hand side. After a year, anything you don’t wear will be at the right hand side. Another idea it to turn all your clothes inside out. All clothes that haven’t been reverted by the end of the year get thrown away.
Memorabilia – Gone
That cheap medal you got for completing the half marathon two years ago, the Eiffel Tower shot glass someone brought you from Paris, that copy of your college graduation announcement you’ve saved. You don’t need any of these things. Because guess what? Without them, you’ll still remember what it felt like to train for that half marathon or to have graduated from college. None of those memories are going anywhere. Donate or recycle this stuff — you won’t miss it.
This also includes t-shirts. I’m not talking about those soft, perfectly fitted T-shirts you love and wear all the time. I’m talking about what’s down there in the bottom third of your dresser drawer. Those logo-boasting shirts from events or places were likely all given to you for free. You don’t need a T-shirt in order to prove you went to that conference, worked at that tech company, or volunteered at said event. Donate these or turn them into a craft project. Your dresser drawer is happiest when it contains only the clothes you wear on at least a monthly basis. The rest is clutter (or memorabilia, see above).