Today’s the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. We’re about to hit the road. We kicked off the season a little early with an outdoor adventure and a mammoth rock concert too.
It was my first incomplete. The Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus, Ohio would be my 11th half, my second this year. But the clock stopped at 12.6 miles and would not resume. Biggest shocker? This was also one of my best races.
What if not every moment in life had a purpose? In fact, what if we set aside moments whose purpose was no purpose at all? In short, what if we created more white space around ourselves?
I took a sabbatical for the past few weeks. Not just from this blog, but from social media too. I’ve returned to tell the tale.
We’re back from the last part of our trip, and we finally figured out how to make the return journey part of the destination. Greetings from home at last!
To wait… seems like wasted time. Haste can be a life-saver, from our ancestors who fled from predators to today’s trauma surgeons who bring patients back from the brink. We can track the wait time to renew a driver’s license without leaving the house. And I’ve written before about how we fill those extra spaces in our lives.
Is there ever a benefit of acting without a sense of urgency? Where you wait first, and act later? You bet there is. Especially when you’re consuming media.
I said no to being awake earlier this week. I simply went to put my head down for a bit after doing the dinner dishes, and I woke up 11 hours later. It got me thinking about how minimalism applies to time.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: you can’t read these words without an electronic device connected to the Internet. So there’s a point at which “Chasing Minimalism” (the blog) and “chasing minimalism” (the lifestyle) diverge. In the past few weeks, I’ve been exploring the intentional unplug. I’ve found that just a few minutes a day has made me a more mindful dad, husband and yes, employee.
No doubt about it: technology is a boon for leaving a lighter footprint and spending less time and energy on the administrivia of life. You can carry your entire book collection in the palm of your hand, or visit your credit card provider’s website from any device anywhere in the world instead of stuffing a file cabinet with paper statements.
But as I discussed in last week’s post about email, the online world can also function like a closet. You can stuff things in there with no rhyme or reason, making the entire endeavor useless and frustrating until you hide it behind a door (or an off switch). It doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve developed a stable of digital tricks that help keep me productive and organized, and help keep my family charging forward through life. None of them costs any money, by the way.
Lindy and I have been working our way through Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. We’re not nearly to the point of saying everything we own sparks joy, and I don’t know if our socks are feeling their life force because of the way they’re folded and stored. But I’ve written much and plan to write plenty more in this space about minimalism: not owning more than you need, enjoying what you have and focusing on what’s most important in life.
As an early pioneer of online technologies, I realized pretty quickly that digital clutter is a pervasive threat to a minimalist lifestyle. It’s just like stuffing everything behind a closet door: you can’t always see it, but it’s still there.
Here’s the first thing I do to keep my online life tidy: Inbox Zero.