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?
Thank you for sharing. This reminds me of Julia Cameron’s advice to foster a creative spirit. One of her workshops challenges participants to cut out all distractions, including books, for a week. It makes for a tough seven days.
Oosh… that would be difficult, Darla. My books aren’t a distraction… well, maybe just a bit, sometimes… Perhaps awareness is the key. 🙂
I like the idea of decluttering as more than just our physical belongings. This fits in well with Sue’s clearing out the junk challenge for June. I recently unsubscribed from several emails that I never read. I’m also working on clearing my head–giving up obsessive thinking and quieting my mind with formal meditation and mini-mindfulness practices throughout the day. It’s a work in progress, but I do feel more tranquil lately.
It is amazing how many different facets of life exist for us, isn’t it, Christie. We’re all works in progress and each small success adds up to a better life.
#MLSTL Interesting and necessary de-cluttering advice. I do need to do an IT de-clutter! Photo’s, emails especially. It’s strange, but when I think about it, it’s emails which can stress me out as I glance at the large amount of them in my inbox. This has spurred me on the do something about it – thanks
Glad to spur action, Samantha! I wish they were all my ideas! My email inbox can be a bit daunting, too, and I must admit I get frustrated with those people who send you something you want, but when you want to unsubscribe, you’ll lose access to everything! I’ve learned to bulk delete each day… saves me some volume!
Interesting. I’ve always been a massive book buyer but it’s occurred to me of late that even though now I mostly buy digital versions to read if I’m travelling that I’m still cluttering – even if I can’t physically see them stacking up. It’s the same as body clutter (yep, needs lots of work) and ideas. I’m constantly chasing the next shiny bright idea but now write them down as they come to me in, wait for it, an ideas book… That leaves me able to focus on what I’m working on, but still gives me a reference for the… Read more »
Hmmm… we might be related, Joanne! 🙂 (Although I am buying my digital books, I refuse to downsize my real library) I work really hard at not responding to shiny objects anymore but those ideas! I have so many good ones!! We can be works in progress!
I could use some digital decluttering. My computer is a mess and I have thumb drives and even old CDs full of stuff. My photos are especially disorganized. One of these I am going to clean it all out!
Amazon AWS has become my friend, Michele, thanks to a tech friend who nags me (in a nice way). My next project there will be to upload the photos that I have already sorted as yet another (inexpensive) storage locker. I am not computer-organized as a habit, I choose a weekend to go in and sort and cull and then slide back in to my old habits until the next Spring-clean!
Visiting from #MLSTL. I like the different thinking approach to decluttering. I’ve never gotten into too much social media (I still cannot figure out how to effectively use Instagram or Twitter) so it’s not a big de-cluttering area to work on. This made me question even getting more engaged in them! My calendar in retirement also does not need de-cluttering… I do choose to engage in the things I really want to do and are important to me. I struggle with the idea of a “quest” and am still trying to make meditation a habit. But a very interesting spin… Read more »
I found it an interesting spin too, Pat. Especially when I found myself noticeably included or excluded in the context. Social media can be a slippery slope, that’s for sure!
I’m always grateful that my phone has never been something that I’m overly attached to. I never take it when I walk each day, I don’t use it for internet stuff – just the occasional call or text. It frees me up because I don’t have the web on hand 24/7. I’m not sure about the whole focus on one Passion thing though (as per my post I linked today) it’s something that I’d love to agree with, but haven’t found anything to direct all my energies into so far. My latest de-cluttering (I’m a minimalist at heart) is to… Read more »
I was interested reading your post, Leanne, as I think many of us take it for granted that finding one BIG thing is easy. Everything is easy when it kind of just happens but I agree that some people can struggle with the concept. It doesn’t help that so many ‘gurus’ make it sound like the Passion is the panacea to many of our issues.
There are some things here I can identify with. I know that if I spend too much time scrolling on instagram it actually affects my mood in a negative way. Fortunately I know when this is occurring, and can usually put the phone down and go do some art!
I think that recognition is also a product of age, Denyse. One of the presenters mentioned the panic many young people felt about disconnecting because they didn’t know a life without digital connection.