I stumbled on to an interesting blog this morning by author Josh Becker. And although I am not 100% on board with everything in this post, I find that a lot of his advice really resonates with me. Not because I am living it out, but because it is advice that hits me square in the face. In my recent pursuit to simplify my life and possessions, I find that I am focusing primarily on material things. This is a great start, for sure, but Becker’s post opened my eyes to some other areas of my life that need to be examined. Here is his list of the 10 things to simplify in your life. To read more from Josh, check out: Becoming Minimalist
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these as well. I have interjected a few reactions to his ideas throughout:
1. Your Possessions – Too many material possessions complicate our lives to a greater degree than we ever give them credit. They drain our bank account, our energy, and our attention. They keep us from the ones we love and from living a life based on our values. If you will invest the time to remove nonessential possessions from your life, you will never regret it.
- I’ve just started doing this, and I already feel a physical weight being lifted. (AZ)
2. Your Time Commitments – Most of us have filled our days full from beginning to end with time commitments: work, home, kid’s activities, community events, religious endeavors, hobbies… the list goes on. When possible, release yourself from the time commitments that are not in line with your greatest values.
- Before I could do this well, I think I need to really sit down and answer the question “What are my greatest values?”
3. Your Goals – Reduce the number of goals you are intentionally striving for in your life to one or two. By reducing the number of goals that you are striving to accomplish, you will improve your focus and your success rate. Make a list of the things that you want to accomplish in your life and choose the two most important. When you finish one, add another from your list.
4. Your Negative Thoughts – Most negative emotions are completely useless. Resentment, bitterness, hate, and jealousy have never improved the quality of life for a single human being. Take responsibility for your mind. Forgive past hurts and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Do I have lingering bitterness that I am not aware of? Not sure.
5. Your Debt – If debt is holding you captive, reduce it. Start today. Do what you’ve got to do to get out from under its weight. Find the help that you need. Sacrifice luxury today to enjoy freedom tomorrow.
- My wife and I have been blessed to live relatively debt free. Medical bills seem to be the only “cloud” over our head.
6. Your Words – Use fewer words. Keep your speech plain and honest. Mean what you say. Avoid gossip.
- Facebook? I find myself offering my political and social insight, even when no one is asking for it.
7. Your Artificial Ingredients – Avoid trans fats, refined grain (white bread), high-fructose corn syrup, and too much sodium. Minimizing these ingredients will improve your energy level in the short-term and your health in the long-term. Also, as much as possible, reduce your consumption of over-the-counter medicine – allow your body to heal itself naturally as opposed to building a dependency on substances.
- This one is hard. I find that eating healthy is expensive. Perhaps this is a better place to put my money.
8. Your Screen Time – Focusing your attention on television, movies, video games, and technology affects your life more than you think. Media rearranges your values. It begins to dominate your life. And it has a profound impact on your attitude and outlook. Unfortunately, when you live in that world on a consistent basis, you don’t even notice how it is impacting you. The only way to fully appreciate its influence in your life is to turn them off.
- I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I go to bed and have the realization that we have not conversed the entire evening. Guilty, guilty, guilty.
9. Your Connections to the World – Relationships with others are good, but constant streams of distraction are bad. Learn when to power off the [phone], log off Facebook, or not read a text. Focus on the important, not the urgent. A steady flow of distractions from other people may make us feel important, needed, or wanted, but feeling important and accomplishing importance are completely different things.
- See #8. I have a hard time just being home, enjoying my wife and son. And when I am “present” with them, I feel this impulse to Instagram the great time I am having in the privacy of my home.
10. Your Multi-Tasking – Research indicates that multi-tasking increases stress and lowers productivity. while single-tasking is becoming a lost art, learn it. Handle one task at a time. Do it well. And when it is complete, move to the next.
- I am a terrible steward of my home. We have been blessed with such a beautiful place to raise our family. But I find that all of the little jobs are too much for me. I get overwhelmed, so I push them all away. One at at a time, Adam. One at a time.