Simplify

Do you ever feel like you are going nowhere fast, and that there’s always so much to be done, or learn?

In the technology age, information is always available at the swipe of a finger, or the tap of a button. But there is just so much information, you can end up with brain fog trying to work out what’s fact and what’s fake. If you’re someone like me who loves to learn, there becomes a limit to what the brain can find useful, if you don’t take time to absorb between learnings.

woman in white v neck t shirt smiling
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Stuff

But it’s not just information overload that causes us ultimately to become less productive, it’s also being surrounded by too much ‘stuff’. Clutter is a distraction and can be a driver for procrastination, or at least in my experience.

  • How many of our possessions do we really need?
  • How many of our possessions spark joy?
  • How many of our possessions do we actually use?

Oh my, I sound like Marie Kondo!

But this isn’t a post about decluttering, as there are thousands of experts out there that all have their own ideas, including the afore mentioned Marie Kondo. This is however a post on how the clutter in my brain, and the clutter in my home is affecting my life. I suspect there are many of you reading this that have a similar situation.

I work full time, I am in the early stages of establishing a business, and I love to ride my bike. My kids left home years ago, and my pets are old, so don’t require much attention either. There should be no real reason why I can’t find the time to do most of what I WANT to do, and have plenty of happiness in my life.

I stopped buying unnecessary things a few years back, adopting a ‘do I need it or is it useful’ approach before spending money. This has stopped me increasing my possessions tally too much. Gifts tend to be something I need, or an experience of some description….ticking the spark joy box nicely. But instead, I find myself consumed with manoeuvring around a plethora of things that are no longer useful and haven’t yet been moved on.

pile of covered books
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Information

In addition to any physical clutter, there is the information clutter too. Like most of you I have a smart phone, tablet, kindle, laptop, tv…the list goes on. With all of these devices comes access to information. I remember in my youth, if I wanted to know about something I would go to the library, or look it up in the family encyclopaedia. Yes I am that old! Information wasn’t instantly available, and I was fine with that. But now, when a conversation sparks a question, we can now just look it up in just a few seconds, and another fact gets filed deep in our brains. But then a Facebook post might catch your eye, or a twitter comment, and then before you know it, a hour has gone by. Reading blogs or watching You Tube has overtaken reading books, and whilst there is nothing wrong with these activities, once again the urge to continue scrolling and finding new content continues, again sucking away at the hours in your day. I’m not saying that having access to instant information is a bad thing, but when it consumes your waking hours, you have you ask yourself how much value it really provides.

close up photography of smartphone icons
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During last years lockdowns, even more digital information sources became available, to help us to feel connected to the outside world. Exercise apps were added into the mix, and now, a bit like unused gym memberships of the past, I’m sure that you’ve been a member of multiple fitness apps at once, and probably barely used most of them. If this is not you, then I’m impressed, and you must be really fit by now.

Simplify

And so, it’s time for me to start my physical and mental declutter. I have a half written book to finish, a course to deliver, and several cycling events to market. I have my own health to kick into touch, and some big bike rides in 2022 to train for. Ultimately I also want to take a year out and ride from Argentina to Alaska, my No 1 bucket list trip. And if I don’t simplify my life then many of these things will still be on my list in 5 years time.

But what do I mean by ‘simplify’?

I mean that to simplify my information sources. I do not need to be a member of so many groups, and I will leave those that don’t serve any useful purpose for me, or provide joy. I will turn off notifications from my media accounts….and this is a big one as it means that I don’t need to ignore social media, but just use it on my own terms, and when I choose. I can turn OFF the internet when I’m creating, thus avoiding distraction. Instead of searching out information from hundreds of sources, I will chose channels that I trust, and stick with those. Maybe then I can finally get my book & course finished and delivered.

I mean to simplify my home. The long Christmas break for me means plenty of time to cull & organise my possessions. I am starting to believe that minimalists have it right. With less possessions there are less distractions, and less decisions to be made. It helps creativity to flow and avoids decision fatigue. Maybe this is why some of the best designers are also minimalist. I won’t be going down the minimalist route though, as I do find a lot of value in many of the things I own. But anything that has served it’s time will be gone.

And I mean to simplify my routine. Habits form best without distractions. If routines are unencumbered by other clutter based distractions, then my habits should form fairly easily and decision fatigue can be reduced. Habits around food prep, exercise, work and relaxation are what I need right now. Habits form best if you make small changes and then build on them. So as I begin my journey to simplify my world, I will also start to add in positive new habits.

Challenge

It all sounds so straightforward written down, but of course things are rarely black and white. Well that is until they are simplified. In what has been a challenging few years, I am ready to make a change in my life that will see me embrace the things I want to be doing in my life.

What do you want to simplify in your life?

What has your clutter been preventing you from doing?

What could you change today, that will create joy for you tomorrow?


bouquet with flowers on white surface in light room
Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

“In order to seek one’s direction, one must simplify the mechanics of ordinary, everyday life.”

— Plato

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