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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Minimalism - in your social life


This is my agenda!  Why do I have one?  Because I need to record my work hour somewhere and an odd appointment or "not to be missed" date...  I think I could do without.... my days are so not busy...  everything could actually fit in my head!  But I love agendas.... and writing and scribbling into them!

As a minimalist blogger, I often get ask:  "but where will I find the time to declutter? clean up? chill?"

And I understand...  in modern society, we have to keep busy... or so we think!  It gives us the feeling that we are important.... wanted... loved... needed... but that is just all an impression... sorry to burst your bubble!!!  If you don't keep busy at whatever you are busy doing, guess what?  someone else will get to do it! Or it won't get done and nothing will happen...

If you claim you do not have time to live a minimalist life, let me ask you a few questions to evaluate where we could "find" time!

How much time do you spend on social media?
How much time do you spend surfing the net just for fun?
How much time do you spend watching TV?
How much time do you spend on things you feel oblige do to but do not really feel like it?
How often do you go 5-7, parties, outing, events just because of "what will people say if I don't go"?
How much OT do you spend every week at work?
How much time do you spend on that second job?
How much time do you spend shopping?
How much time do you spend commuting to work?
How much time do you take to clean/upkeep your home?
How much time to you spend cooking fancy/complicated meals?

How does that adds up?
And I bet I could find more questions if I was given time and each of your personal situations...

The questions about work and overtime and the second job you may or may not have will be address in next week's post.. but the rest needs to be looked at now...

All these are what can be flexible in your schedule...  you can play around with the time you spend on social media, TV, Internet...  you can choose to go or not to 5-7, parties, events...  You can shop less...  Live in a smaller place that require less time to clean and less upkeep...  You can cook simpler meal and free up some time there...

I can't make that decision for you... it is yours to make... but if you want to live a life you love doing things you care for instead of things you feel oblige to do, you will have to change some things in your life... you will have to address priorities.

Let's take me as an example...

I love to write, read, do yoga, meditate, cook, bake, draw, walk, bike...  It took me a while to find and then accept what I really liked doing in life... accept that I may not be like everyone else (no one is anyway but I was suddenly not like the people surrounding me anymore)... accept that people around me may find that I have gone weird... but once I accepted that, it all got easier... and as I started doing things I loved, I had an easier time to find more time to do them anyway!

But where did all of this start?

In my case, I moved into a smaller place to live...  half the size... that freed up some cleaning and upkeep time.  We also moved from a house to an apartment so there were no need to take care of the outside anymore...  Now some may argue that this is not a financially smart move but I'll have to disagree...  and that would be an entire post in itself!

Freeing up about 1-2 hours per week just by moving to a smaller place gave me time to increase my yoga practice and found myself time to declutter.

The next thing to go was 5-7, parties and the like...  I do not like crowded place, or excessive noise...  I do not like the company of people when there is alcohol around... I do not like to be with many people at once... I much prefer one on one having tea... and cookies...  in a quiet environment. Now because I changed my diet, time spent in restaurant decreased and time cooking at home increased... and this is actually when I discover myself a passion for cooking...  only when I no longer ate meat!  Truth is, meat always discussed me when uncooked...  cooking with no meat is a charm!
And the more I cook, the more I like it... so I have to make time for it... even more!

Next, was time spent shopping... now you all know that I was a shopaholic... I could easily spend 8-10 hours per week at the mall!  And spend money most of the time...  decluttering my wardrobe to fill it back and declutter again... at one point I had enough of that stupid cycle... and started shopping less and less...  I did not go cold turkey... it was a long and slow process...  but in the end, I now go to the mall when I need something and I am in and out... no wandering around just for fun and see what is new or what is on sale...  So much time (and money) saved!

Next thing to go was television...  do you know that on average we spend 4h per day on television???  What could we do with all that free time?  I never spent that much time on TV, except for the few years where I was really sick and sitting in front of the TV was all I could manage energy wise (this in the end was really counter intuitive but that too could be subject of another post). At the time I decided to cut my television service, I was spending anywhere around 2h per day on television...  sometimes 3h... on "good" TV days! When I cut my service and took Netflix, it drop to about 90 minutes per day... and when I moved to Moncton and took the TV out of my living room, it dropped to 45 minutes time permitting...  for example, last night, it was 0!  I feel much more free not "having" to watch my show... but I also see a HUGE difference in my desire to "buy" or "get" things... as well as my desire to "have to go" to a restaurant or see a movie...  no advertisement on Netflix is AMAZING!

By decreasing time on television, I started reading again...  a lot more... and I started being more creative in my home and wardrobe! Not seeing trends for home decorating or fashion does make a huge difference and allows you to find your own style!

I then decided to address time spend on social media... because one down side of cutting television was that I spend more time on social media...  therefore still in front of a screen. I decided to fade those slowly when I decided to let go of my iPhone as part of my #108daystoanewlifeproject ...

It was really hard at first...  and I felt like I was missing out... not having my iPhone with me everywhere I felt like something important was left at home... for about 3 days or so... and then this feeling vanished... so did the feeling of missing out on something... and I found a new passion in carrying a book with me everywhere... and pen and paper... or just sit and watch people... a new freedom from not checking out for updates on status and new comments every hour or so... 

In short, I have cut down Linked In, Good Reads, Instagram, Twitter, my FB page and only kept my personal FB page, Google+ (because it is linked to this blog) and Pinterest...  and I have a new found ability to breathe and feel free that resulted in that choice...  Am I missing out on something?  Probably... I don't get to see each and everyone's status all the time... but you know what?  that's OK! On top of decreasing the number of social media that I was part of, I decreased the amount of time spent on them...  On the days I work, I check them quickly at night... on non-working days, morning and late afternoon for about 30-45 minutes total each time slot.

One thing I'd like to mention now, even though it will be part of my post on Minimalism and finances, making all those changes, cutting all those places where I use to spend money has in turn allow me to decrease my overall cost of living and as a result I can now afford to work partime which is also giving me more time to do things I love...  and is much better for my health! Less busy, less work...  less stress... less MS!!!

thanks for reading!
and please share if you like this blog!!!

love&peace,
nath
xox

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