Whether you call it minimalism, Kondo-ing, or simple living, there are certainly benefits to this type of lifestyle. Mainly, saving time and money. But, it’s also good for your health and productivity. Here are the benefits of simplicity.
To be honest, this has been something that I’ve been working towards in the last couple of years. I just felt that I had too much stuff. I’m talking about a closet jam-packed with clothes, kitchen drawers stuffed with junk, and a calendar bursting with meaningless entries.
So, I decided to scale back. It’s still a work in progress. So fat, however, I have enjoyed the following perks.
Allows you to self-reflect.
Some people swear by a zero-based calendar. Even if you aren’t familiar with the term, you may be living this lifestyle.
Essentially, you’re accounting for every hour of the day — from the moment your alarm goes to when you fall asleep. The reason? When you don’t have any blank spaces in your calendar, you aren’t wasting any of your valuable time.
I get the appeal. I mean if something isn’t scheduled then you may be more likely to put it off. Or, you could let something that’s less important get in the way.
Eventually, you have a cluttered calendar. You overcommit yourself. And, because you must have your time accounted for, you don’t have room to slow down and self-reflect.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to cherish these moments when I’m alone. It gives me the chance to clear my head and realign my focus on what truly matters. In fact, research shows that solitude has a number of benefits including freedom, creativity, intimacy, and spirituality.
Howie Jones in a previous Calendar suggests that when you clean up your online calendar, you should schedule some “me” time. As a result, you’ll be able to “cut down on the load of responsibilities you cram into a day and help you get some needed rest.”
“A strong work ethic is a valuable skill,” adds Howie. “But, not allowing yourself to take breaks can lead to mental illness and burnout.”
Reduces decision fatigue.
35,000. That’s one estimate on how many decisions we make each day. And, if true, that would come out to around 2,000 decisions per hour or one decision every two seconds.
Even if you don’t believe those exact numbers, the truth is that we do make a lot of decisions on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many of them are meaningless.
For example, you want to kick back and relax after a hard week at work. You decide to treat yourself to a movie on Netflix. Next thing you know, you’ve just spent 30-minutes trying to fund something to watch.
In the scheme of things that may not be a biggie. However, just imagine how much time you spend deciding on what to wear, eat, or work on? Over time, you’re going to run into decision fatigue which causes procrastination, avoidance, indecision, or impulsivity.
Simplifying your life can help assist you in this year’s productivity. For example, on Sundays prep your meals for the week. Go through your closet and donate the clothes that you no longer wear. And, remove unnecessary events and tasks from your calendar.
Gives you a chance to engage in self-care.
When your calendar contains fewer commitments and obligations that means you have more availability to attend your own self-care. Even if you have an hour to yourself, you can spend that time meditating or taking your dog for a long walk. You can read, journal, or take a nap if you please.
As Jackie Viramontez once said, “Self-care is not a waste of time; self-care makes your use of time more sustainable.”
Fewer misplaced items.
Research conducted from Pixie, a location app for iPhones, found that on average it takes roughly five minutes and twenty seconds of our time to locate misplaced items. When added up, that comes out to 2.5 days annually. What’s more, collectively we spend $2.7 billion dollars every year replacing these items.
With that in mind, when you simplify your life you have less stuff to lose. Obviously, that means you’re going to save time and money. And, from my experience, you’ll have fewer headaches as well since you no longer have to embark on a frantic scavenger hunt.
Removes friction from your life.
Have you ever had one of those days when you’re exhausted? Even though it wasn’t’ an exceptionally difficult day, you’re spent. But, why?
For most of us, it’s because we’re constantly being pulled into a million different directions. You wake-up and go to work. After that, you have to go to the grocery store so you can cook dinner. And, somewhere in between all this, you have to send out emails, do laundry, and schedule a meeting with your team.
As previously mentioned, there are some ways around this, such as meal prepping. Another option, however, would be to delegate and automate whatever you can, such as hiring a cleaning service or signing up for automatic bill pay.
And, one of my favorite techniques is batching. Instead of jumping back-and-forth between tasks, I group similar activities together. For example, I run all of my errands at once. It may take a couple of hours. But, it’s pretty then doing this daily.
Another example is how I schedule work. I only check my inbox and notifications 3-times a day — before work, after lunch, and at the end of the workday. I also have theme days. For instance, I schedule all of my meetings on Thursdays.
Between having more availability and removing toxic individuals from my life means that I can spend quality time with the people who really matter. Some of you may scoff at this. But, I think it’s more beneficial to have a closer-knit group of people. In my opinion, it’s better than exhausting yourself with faiweather individuals.
But, don’t take me word on this. Studies show that developing strong relationships can “fight illness and depression, speed recovery, slow aging, and prolong life.” And, as we get older, friendships are good for our brain’s health.
I think this one is a give-in. When you embrace simplicity you don’t squander your time and energy on unnecessary thoughts and actions. Instead, you put a laser on the vital few. As a consequence, you’ll produce more quality work in less time.
Encourages a clean and organized workspace.
Apparently, a little bit of clutter on your workspace isn’t the end of the world. One study even found that a messy desk can encourage a creative mind. But, I strongly disagree.
Dirty and disorganized desks are a recipe for disaster. For starters, the typical office desk hosts more than 10 million bacteria – which is 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat. When not properly cleaned, you’re just asking to get sick and miss work.
Secondly, it saves you time since you aren’t looking for items when you need them. And, according to a Princeton study, clutter makes it difficult to concentrate.
In short, simplicity motivates you to keep your workspace clean and organized. It’s beneficial to your health and output. And, it gives you a sense of order and freedom of space.
Makes you more effective.
“There are people who sacrifice quality in exchange for quantity,” notes Lou Macabasco for Lifehack. “In order to accommodate and accomplish more tasks, they tend to overlook some important process which leads to poor quality and error.”
And, that’s yet another reason you should embrace simplicity, it will make you more effective. “When you are clear and focus on what you want to achieve, you can concentrate on producing quality work,” adds Macabasco. “Your attention and effort is centralized; you are able to produce quality and efficient output.”
Grants you massive freedom.
Finally, you’ll have the freedom to do whatever you please. Isn’t it refreshing to look at your calendar this weekend and see that it’s not packed to the brim? How do you feel about having fewer obligations and conflicts?
Personally, when I choose a simple life, I felt less stressed, anxious, and rushed. Instead of feeling like I always have to do something for others, I have the flexibility to live the life that I want. And, that has given me more meaning and fulfillment.
John Hall is the co-founder of Calendar a scheduling and time management app. He’s also a keynote speaker that you can book at http://www.johnhallspeaking.com.