I listened to a podcast recently wherein several minimalists were interviewed. These, however, were not your usual minimalists. Usually minimalists recommend decluttering, owning less, downsizing. I suppose the podcast contributors did that, but not in the usual way.
For example, one interviewee recommended a digital declutter. Turn off social media, stay off email unless it’s work necessary, spend time with your own thoughts. If you’re constantly paying attention to others thoughts and words, your brain doesn’t have time to consider or absorb them, and it doesn’t have time to process your own thoughts and words. It can’t do input and output at the same time. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing – step away from your gadgets for an hour and go out for a walk by yourself. Then disassociate for longer times, find real time activities and try this for a month. Once you’ve experienced, become more comfortable with, a gadget- and social media-free life, then you can start to reintroduce only that which brings you joy or fills a purpose.
The next person focussed on decluttering the calendar. He did it in a really drastic way, but the premise is that so many things we do are time fillers, often on auto-pilot, and they aren’t purposeful. He found that that the things he didn’t miss during his drastic retreat were those things that tended to fill his calendar but didn’t matter to his life’s purpose. On his return to his real life, he made it a point to put things on the calendar that really mattered to him, and he decided that if those things were that important he would prioritize them, not leave them for some future time because none of us are guaranteed that future time.
Next came the electronic declutter. Do you have TVs and smart phones with too many apps and who knows what else because it’s what everyone else has? He calls them our pacifiers because they soothe us and keep us from having to create our time-fillers. This one hit home for me because I haven’t had TV for several years and I’ve removed all social media from my phone. I read books, do puzzles, visit with friends and use my phone for phone calls and Facetime with my granddaughter.
Have you ever considered decluttering your body? We all know that activity and movement are important, that good food is necessary and that meditation really focusses and calms us. Too often, however, we adopt some or one aspect of body health but when we encounter difficulty, or perhaps ‘fall off the wagon’ we return to the clutter that keeps us from optimal health. The three aspects are quite inter-related so to be “intentional” about one area does tend to make the progression to other good habits easier. Again, proceed slowly and gradually and success will be much more likely.
The last guest on the podcast discussed the decluttering of ideas. He talked about “Quests” as opposed to “Hobbies”. This is not to say we can’t have hobbies but to find something you’re really passionate about and embrace it. I listened to this part twice as I have a ton of good ideas and I can often get distracted pursuing the possibilities. He spoke about restricting the ideas, restricting the creativity even, and really put your time and attention to fewer “quests” and make them happen. I think this is possibly a good example of Focus.
Not the usual decluttering
I really enjoyed this podcast segment as it was not the usual decluttering I’ve tried to implement. It all did make sense, and I felt some satisfaction realizing I have decluttered in some areas of my non-physical life. It was interesting realizing that some of this decluttering is easier with age as we come from a time hard-wired phones, and real books, and real-time conversations with real people. IM and email and Siri are very recent for us “boomers” and for that I’m grateful.
It’s your turn. Have you decluttered in any of the ways mentioned above? Is there one that you would find a real challenge? Have you tried and fallen off the proverbial wagon?