The travesty of our digital age is that the very things that are meant to be making our lives easier (smartphones and online shopping, we’re looking at you) are in fact doing just the opposite, and cluttering our homes and heads with all manner of figurative and literal junk. So with ‘less is more’ as our new mantra, we are stripping back to a simpler life. Here are five ways that we’re doing it:
HAVE LESS. French author Dominique Loreau, of the international bestseller L’art de la Simplicité, takes a fiercely minimalist approach to life – and has no time or tolerance for dust-trapping knick-knacks, ornamental items or a wardrobe of which you only wear 20 per cent (most of us are guilty of this, according to the chief design officer for California Closets). Think you can’t live without your bits and bobs? Do what Dominique suggests and for just one week, put them out of sight. Now see just how much you don’t miss it.
BUY BETTER. Learn to spend your hard-earned dollars on things that are timeless and transcend fads and fashion. Go for natural over synthetic materials (that pleather skirt won’t see another season) and when it comes to what you use on the daily, go for products that are practical, and actually do you good. Buy products that are well-made and helpful so you don’t have to buy twice like the BRITA fill&enjoy Fun water filter jug that reduces impurities in your water and it’s compact, so won’t screw with this new minimalism thing you’ve got going on.
SWITCH OFF. How long do you spend on your social media feeds? We’re guessing almost two hours a day (with a little help from this recent Global Web Index survey), which is a hearty chunk of time spent staring, for the most part aimlessly, at a screen. Pay attention to when you’re whipping out your phone unnecessarily and turn off your devices before you hit the sack (that sneaky midnight scroll is not serving you).
DON’T MULTITASK. You might think you’re good at it, but science has outed multitasking as nothing more than ‘task-switching’ – a total timewaster requiring bucket loads of energy that is, somewhat alarmingly, actually bad for your brain (a study out of the University Of London found that participants who multitasked while performing cognitive tasks experienced substantial IQ drops. Yikes). So in the spirit of a simpler, more efficient way of being, tackle one thing at a time.
SHRINK YOUR SCHEDULE. Oliver Burkeman outlined a failsafe strategy for making your diary a whole lot less daunting in an article for The Guardian entitled ‘This column will change your life: stop being busy’. It reads, “Step one: identify what seem to be, right now, the most meaningful ways to spend your life. Step two: schedule time for those things. There is no step three. Everything else just has to fit around them – or not.” Can you do without that coffee date with whatsername? Set boundaries and stick to them so you can spend your time on what makes you happy. Simple, right?