Over the last few weeks I continue to see signs in media I’m consuming that seem to be whispering in my ear the reminder of actions I should take towards making life simpler and increasing my happiness. I’m not a hard-core minimalist but love trying to simplify and optimize processes and time.
I listened to Joe Rogan interview Elon Musk (at 18:52)where he asked him about his recent announcement to sell most of his possessions. While I didn’t take a radical approach, I started a long process of shrinking the number of possessions I own almost 10 years ago. I got a few tips from Marie Kondo along the way as well.
What resonated with me about Musk’s reasoning when asked about the possessions was that he felt that the more he owns and the more time he devotes to those possessions the less time he has for the goals he’s more passionate and wants to achieve.
In my case this made me think about more than just about my reduction of possessions. Sure I dug a little deeper about justifying some of the things I’ve kept. But it opened up my thinking towards time I dedicate to possessions and projects and whether if I analyzed the time and commitment would I consider them still worth it.
This may be a little difficult to picture so I’ll provide two examples that may help you map this idea to your own situation. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent on my universal remote which is supposed to make my life simpler and save me time. Between the configuration time, changing said configuration, firmware updates, trying to debug why some sequences don’t work and fixing I’ve come to wonder was this ever worth it to begin with. Not to mention I now own another thing to manage.
Another example is using a Network Attached Storage (NAS) for backups. Managing this requires effort since it’s basically another computer that needs to be configured and setup. There are other methods and products that can be simpler to setup and manage for this. In my case I justified this but hopefully it provides an example of the concept of questioning and analyzing these types of decisions.
Then I listened to David Stein’s podcast on “Has the Pandemic Changed You?”. One of the topics he covered was “How removing things is more powerful than adding things”. He talks about how during our time on lock-down it’s given us time to think about many of the things we have, and do we really need them. He goes to give some examples and states that now that we are doing less and subtracting things from our lives (albeit not by choice) we are realizing that either we didn’t need those things or don’t miss them.
Once example he gives (and I’ve seen others write about this) is to examine all of your monthly memberships. Do you need them all? Are they adding value to your life? One of his examples that seems to be proliferating is cancelling a gym membership and investing in a home gym. This can do several things. Save money over the long run but also save time. You don’t have to leave your house, drive to the location, find parking etc.
He goes on to say that…
…most people are doing less. They are subtracting things from their lives and this can be powerful. It can give a sense of relieve when we remove something from our life.
He also discussed how we should be more purposeful now if we plan on adding things. And adding things isn’t limited to possessions. It can also mean actions that we devote time to. We should really put some more thought here as well.