|Image from Apatrment Therapy here|
Many people today are time-poor: rushing along, keeping-up, catching-up and feeling guilty if they take their eye off the clock for even a short while. We all want to be in better control of our time, no matter how much or little time we've got. Yet we find it so difficult. Life can feel like a race - can't it?
Well, minimalism can give you more time. But it does require ACTION. If you want to create more time you will have to reduce your commitments, your possessions and maybe even your standards and expectations. The process won't be easy but the outcomes will be worth it. By eliminating just a few things from your life you can give yourself more time. Here are my suggestions:
Edit your wardrobe.
By reducing the amount of clothes you own you'll have less laundry, more space and will save time making decisions about what to wear.
Start decluttering on a small scale.
You won't declutter your house in one day or even a weekend, but regular decluttering sessions will give you a more ordered home and less stuff to maintain. Dealing with a lifetime's acquisitions might also make you question how much time and money you have wasted in the past and stop you from mindless shopping in the future.
Think low maintenance.
How much time do you spend on the upkeep of your home/garden? Spending money on having your lawn paved, conifers trimmed/removed or carpet replaced with hard flooring could be money well spent if it results in less maintenance.
Don't just see it as something for your retirement years. Could you live in a smaller house? Could you move to a cheaper area? This might take off some of the financial pressure you are currently under and enable you to lead a less pressurised life. Start making plans for the life you want to lead now.
Re-think how much time you spend working.
If you can't reduce your hours, could you leave work early occasionally? Many of us practise 'face time' and feel under pressure to stay on at work beyond our contracted hours.
Watch less tv.
Try a tv-free night occasionally. Be selective about your viewing. Instead: phone a friend; go for a walk; listen to some music; talk to your loved ones; try a new hobby.
Say no sometimes to social invitations.
You know when you haven't been out for months and then get multiple invitations for the same weekend? Say no or suggest a date that suits you better.
Don't be a slave to fashion or trends.
Fashion is fun but it can take up time and money. Why not cultivate your own signature style instead?
Stop trying to over-achieve.
Not every waking moment needs to be accounted for. Taking breaks or doing something you find relaxing is a valuable use of time. This also applies to children - try not to over schedule their free time.
Curb your perfectionist tendencies.
Maybe you're spending too much time just trying to be perfect. Could the cleaning wait? Does the car really need cleaning again? Could someone else do it? Don't buy into the celebrity appearance trap either- try a no make up day, wash your hair slightly less, forget the glamorous nails. Who wants to be valued for their falseness?
Have a pyjama day: watch a favourite film; read the papers in full; finish a book; have a long bath.
Put yourself first.
Never get time to do the things you want to do because you put everyone else first? Decide to do one thing you never seem to find time for: join an exercise class, start running or enrol on an evening class.
I have made many adjustments to my life in the last two years, inspired by other minimalists. As a result I am happier with my work/life balance and with the way I use my time. Read my story here and find how I made time to play here.
And if you'd like to read more about time management and slowing down, two books I would recommend are:
The Mind Gym: Give me Time (author Mind Gym)
In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honoré
Hey - maybe you're already doing some of these things. Great, your minimalist journey has begun!
Have you tried to rebalance your time commitments? Do you have any tips or views?
Please feel free to comment and have a great week.