It was around two years ago when I came across the idea of “Minimalism”. It instantly hit me as something I’ve been looking for so long and it has been one of the primary sources of my happiness and focus ever since. Let me explain how you too can declutter your life and make it more simple and organized for a better and less complex life. But first, let’s start with:
Why declutter your life?
Like everyone else, I used to think that possession of more stuff will ultimately make us happy. More gadgets, more clothes, more luxury lifestyle, more of everything. But on that path, I ended up feeling the hunger for more and more even while I had more stuff in possession now! Which made me think do I really need that DSLR that is going to sit in the closet forever since I rarely get out? Will adding the latest iPhone to my collection raise my happiness level in the longer term? The answer was no and no. The following quote sums up minimalism perfectly:
“Imagine your life with less—less stress, less debt, less discontent. What would it feel like? Now imagine your life with more—more time, more contribution, more elation.” – the minimalists
Following are the 5 key ways to declutter your life, though this article is longer than the optimal length I’d like it to be, but this stuff is really important. I’m constantly filtering a lot out and I feel like there needs to be a separate article on each of these points sometime later, but for now – here is a quick overview of how you can get started in the right direction.
1- Filter out the noise
We spend so much of our time on social networks and we don’t generally care whom we connect with and which page we are following updates from. The result of it, the news feed starts getting stuffed with useless updates and we end up staring at updates from people and brands we don’t even know about. I’ve seen just about everyone complaining about their experience with social networks or how their newsfeed is stuffed with useless content.
The solution is pretty simple, unfriend, unlike, unfollow everything irrelevant – immediately unfriend the ones you have no idea about how did they end up in your friend list. As soon as you see a weird brand/company/page on your newsfeed you have no interest in getting notified from ever again, open up their page and unlike it ASAP. This does take some time to improve your experience. But, believe me, it’s the only way you can maintain your sanity, heck even save a lot of time and get updates from the ones you do care about!
2- Organize Files on your Computer
This one is really easy to understand. We all end up putting everything on our desktops pretending this data can save our lives some day. Guess what, it never does – what really happens is we are never able to find the one file we really need when we need it and we end up looking for it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!
The solution takes a lot more time than to simply unfriend someone but once you have the data organized within folders that really make sense, you can then easily find the one project file you need to work on without shooting up your stress level.
3- Have a todo list
We all hate lists. But just wait a second and hear me out. Having a todo list does not necessarily mean becoming a list maniac. You can simply list everything on your mind in a todo list app like todoist and bam! You no more have to store all that stuff in your mind now and you can now focus on what needs to get done only when you feel like it. Not having your worries, goals, and chores listed down leaves a loop open in your head and that really takes a toll on your focus and you are in a constant state of chaos.
4- Organize your Bookmarks
This one is not for everyone. But those who do have the habit of bookmarking everything they find interesting but don’t have the time to consume right away (which is rather an attempt to procrastinate more than often), should form the habit to atleast create a category for each type of bookmark like some of my bookmark categories are Web Design, Web Dev, Fun, Freelance, Entrepreneurship, To Do, Talks.
Now the next time I’m bored and want to consume some content, I would have the luxury to see which category I’m more interested in and there I have – my own custom content that aligns with my immediate interests!
5- Clean up your workspace
Probably the easiest of tasks that we look away sometimes and then all of a sudden the whole desk is a disaster and we can’t find the one freaking gadget we need right now! Some examples to clean up your workspace would include:
- Don’t let the wires get tangled (Untangling them takes a heck lot more time and there is a huge change of a wire getting damaged)
- Have a hierarchy on your desk. That’d create a very optimized flow.
- Don’t ever throw everything in the drawer or in the box of stuff. Keep everything organized even there too. That would surely help you when you are in a hurry.
All in all, you just need to design a flow for you gadgets placement and then not overlook the importance of putting everything back into its spot!
Bonus Ted Talk:
That’s it! I leave you with the Ted Talk that inspired me to write the longest article yet! Hope it inspires you as much as it did inspire me!