I have been prone to a sort of minimalism for a long time. Ask my wife. I always have this urge to get rid of anything that is knick-knacky. But recently, thanks to my buddies, The Minimalists, the likes of Steven Pressfield and his book the War of Art, Seth Godin, and now Tim Ferris I am taking this thing to new heights.
It started simply enough. In the back of my mind, I have hated clutter for a long time. Things that take up space just to take up space. No real value, just, well, stuff. It's long been the American Dream to have lots of stuff and I have been caught up in that dream, only to awaken and realize it's actually a nightmare.
So as I go through this with you, I am just going to share the things that automatically surface for me as STUFF I need to get out of my life.
1. iPhone - yeah I know, it hurts to talk about. But I am constantly reminded of how much life this thing sucks out of me and how little it actually gives. There is always something notifying me (not anymore), an email, a text, a facebook message, an instagram notification, a venmo that came through, a retweet notification, a slack message, on and on and on. When do these notifications love to flood in at an unbearable rate? Dinner time. When I am deep in a conversation, or a coffee or drink date with my wife or a dear friend, or worse, when I am hanging out with my kids and teaching them. With every buzz, I feel this tension in my body as I lose hold of what is right in front of me. This one has got to go. So here are the things that I am doing to manage it.
•Turn off ALL notifications. - I can check my communication channels when I need to instead of being a slave to it all the time.
•Delete all apps that I never touch. This one was tough. It took me a while. Why was it so painful to delete that photo editing app I used one time? I don't know. But I did it.
•Delete life sucking apps. I'm looking at you facebook and snapchat. Endless scrolling of endless bullshit that does nothing for anyone. Really. You might say, but I see good stuff on there! In fact, that's how I am reading this right now! Yeah? What's the percentage of great stuff you consume via facebook? As a test, I just scrolled through 50 posts and not a single one was actually valuable. 50 more and I might find something. So let's be generous and call mine 1%. 1%?!?!?!?! so if I have scrolled for 30 minutes a day since I joined facebook mid 2009, which is probably low honestly, that is over 1400 hours of scrolling of which only 14 of those hours were likely to be valuable to me. That means I wasted 1386 hours of my life looking at drivel when I could have made a movie, or learned a language, or any number of very enriching things! Ugh, now I feel as thought I just crawled out of a sewer. And for snapchat, yeah, I could follow just a few people that really kickass, but I would rather read the refined thought out posts they put on their blogs than watch little improvised blips.
THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO CONSUME GREAT CONTENT! Use an RSS reader like feedly to subscribe to blogs that talk about things that make you better, and write a blog yourself dammit! You have awesome stuff to share with the world.
2. Stuff I never use. - It's the RV, the extra vehicle, the 75 tshirts I never wear, the extra shoes I never wear, The books I never read, The DVD's I never watch (Don't even have a DVD player, why do I have DVD's?) The tools I never use, The audio gear I never use, on and on and on and on. I pay for storage of these things, I throw away money to have a room full of shit that I look at a couple times a year. Time to go.
3. Automate food shopping. The truth is, I don't eat much variety, so walking around a grocery store with my eyes wandering all over all the packaged crap and then buying and eating said crap, is, well, crap. Tim Ferriss mentioned in his book The 4 Hour Work Week that there are studies that say that the leanest, healthiest people in the world eat the same things everyday. I have not verified this fact other than with my own eating habits and it just makes sense. I have been eating the same simple foods everyday (I am on a ketogenic diet,) and I lost thirty pounds in three months. I feel better, my candida is not ruling my body anymore, and on it goes. So the point is, I don't need to go shopping. I just need a box of the same foods delivered to me when I need it. I have not solved this problem yet, but I will, and then I will never make a trip to the grocery store again, and neither will my wife. It feels good just talking about.
These are just three things that I am trying to tackle now to declutter my mind, my body and my spirit and be a better person so I can be more valuable to my family, friends, coworkers, community and the world. I definitely don't intend for you to feel like you aren't good enough because you aren't doing these things, and there is no universal law for being free. But if you look at these things and see the underlying principle, you will get it. The question is, is it actually valuable to me? Does it bring daily joy and make me better everyday? Then keep it! If you find that most of your facebook feed is immensely satisfying and you garner deeper relationships with people because of it, then keep it! If you feel the same way about your phone, keep it! For me however, these are roadblocks to me being the best I can be and I have to stop pretending otherwise.
Thanks for reading, I hope you got something out of it, and I love you.