A Minimalist Insider – A Month in Pictures

I love to write. I find it cathartic. It is a way I can unwind, express my thoughts and spend time sharing my passions.

However I also love to take photos. I am that person on holiday snapping every candid moment. I am the friend you don’t want at your birthday as I am there, documenting every (perhaps drunken) moment.

Now I am no photography expert. I will leave that to my incredibly talented brother-in-law who is currently documenting his world and travels in Vietnam using his refined photography degree skills. Personally, I just love to snap and share.

Therefore when I was asked to do a post documenting my life on a daily basis, for a two week period, I was initially keen. However a niggling part of me thought there must be a better way to capture what goes on in my life. Then it came to me, instead of using adjectives, words and anecdotes, I could use photos.

I thought back to a project in 2015 which I followed on Instagram. It was a month long series by The Minimalists, where their daily images and tips inspired me to continue with my journey to live a more meaningful life.

Currently, I post almost daily on Instagram, so I thought why not use this platform to:

  • Give insight into my minimalist way of life
  • Share top tips and advice to help you live with less
  • Document my month and use it as an opportunity to see how I can make changes myself going forward

This way, I have a collection of images and memories to look back on and learn from. I also hope they will inspire and help others to let go of the clutter and embrace a life open to so much more.

So here it goes. From September 1st I will be capturing and sharing my daily life in photos. You can use these to begin your own minimalist journey, to see how I live with less, or to just follow along and get an insider view on my daily habits and living space.

Follow me and experience the Minimalist Insider Month today.

 

Removing The Word ‘Busy’ From My Vocabulary

For the next two weeks, I will be removing the word ‘busy’ from my vocabulary and looking to instead really optimise how I spend my time, and what tasks I am prioritisings.

Being busy, and leading a hectic life that is filled to the brim, has become the new normal. Our society seems to measure people more and more on their productivity and output. We are expected to manage hundreds of emails, whilst making time to exercise, pampering and pruning ourselves and yet still preparing for several meetings a day, and then be sociable in the evenings, oh and don’t forget you need to tweet all about this throughout the day so everyone is aware of how much you are really doing. Even typing all of that was exhausting.

The below are small extracts from a post I wrote almost seven months ago, and in it I made some commitments.

That I would review my priorities

In the post, I looked at what mattered most to me in life. For me, this was first and foremost spending quality time with my husband, family and friends. It also included:

  • Buying less, experiencing more.
  • Putting my health first.
  • Seeing more of the world.
  • Helping and supporting people who may not have a voice or chance to help themselves.

I now only take on tasks and projects that I personally feel invested in and that I can give 100% to. I might be doing less overall, but what I am producing is of a much higher quality and I feel excited to be working on it, rather than dreading the tasks and hours ahead.

I know that within the workplace it is hard to often choose what you want to focus your attention on, but you can prioritise what is important to you and your role.

I would live with less

Do you ever find yourself wondering why you are so busy and how all the hours in a day just seem to disappear? I used to be exactly the same, and then I actually started to document what I did on a daily basis and the time it took.

I used to waste so much time sorting out ‘stuff’ like old towels and bedding. I used to spend at least two to three hours an evening watching television that I wasn’t even that interested in, and that meant at least twenty minutes aimlessly scrolling through Netflix first to find something. Even worse, I had a lot more stuff, so that meant a lot more cleaning.

I would focus on less but produce ‘more’

It is a very simple concept. I would only do things each day that matter, and I gave them my full and undivided attention.

This means I produce things with more.

More meaning, more impact and more important to me.

Ticking off the bucket list, today

I don’t want to have spent my life wishing I had done more that mattered to me, so I stopped spending money and time (I was always too busy to be doing these dream things) on materialistic gains (bigger house, newer car, designer dresses) and started to spend it on experiences I would remember and cherish.

I have ticked more off my bucket list in the last twelve months than I did in four years. And it feels great.

Write down 10 things you want to achieve, and start doing them. Today.

Taking time for myself

I used to feel bad if I declined an invitation because I actually wanted some ‘me’ time. It was hard for me to just take five hours out of a day to do something totally selfish which would let me relax and retreat from the hectic lifestyle that is so normal these days.

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These days I listen a lot more to my body and my mind. If I am feeling tired or a little overwhelmed I dedicate some time to do something I know will relax me. Whether this is reading, lighting a candle and listening to music, going on a long walk or taking a weekend away and turning off my phone.

Find time for you today, and embrace a calmer and less busy life. It is your choice. Say goodbye to the busy lifestyle today, and say hello to lovely selfish you time.

Realising that overall, being busy is a choice, not a requirement

That last sentence really leads me on to my final step for simplifying your life. You can choose whether you want a busy life or not, and you know what, it is totally okay to not want to be busy.

Tomorrow – Yoga or meditating

30 days minimalism

Minimise Your Goals. Achieve More By Measuring Yourself Less.

In January I set myself a few New Years’ Resolutions. A handful of goals and aspirations for the year, but I promised myself I wouldn’t be measuring myself or my success against completing them.

I find that too often we measure our success against achievements that actually don’t contribute to our main priorities or overall happiness.

In life, I now use my goals as guidelines to help me make decisions, rather than tick boxes to say yes I have achieved my aims, or no I haven’t.

Goals shouldn’t restrict you, they should encourage you, inspire you and actually proactively lead you to towards an end result. By having fewer, less concrete goals, you have fewer restrictions on where you are going to go, and what you are going to experience in your life.

Then

In the past I used to set strict goals, such as:

  • I will walk 10,000 steps a day for the next month
  • I will visit 4 countries this year
  • I will save up and buy a new car by the end of the year (even though mine works fine, it was purely a material thing)
  • I will write 10 blog posts a month

And so on…

My old goals used to be quantified by stuff, strict targets or by things. Even if I managed to walk 9,000 steps a day, visit 3 countries and write 9 blog posts a month, I still would have felt like I had failed. This wasn’t a good outlook and it certainly wasn’t inspiring me to do better and enjoy life.

In reality I would have worked out well each day, seen some incredible places and written lots of well-thought out posts for my blog. However the fact that I had failed to meet my self-imposed goals would have certainly tarnished the memory of it a little.

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Now

Going forward, I will know I have achieved my new goals by feelings or values. I won’t use goals as gateways to being happy.

I can be happy as long as I am working towards achieving the right things, not if I can cross something off a list at the end of the year.

So, what are my goals (or guidelines) for the year, with all the above in mind?

  • I want to travel as much as I can with my loved ones and friends to experience new places and make lots of memories.
  • Spend more time writing, reading and taking photos. Three things I love to do.
  • Give something back. I want to give a little more time to a cause that needs it.
  • Eat better, all year.
  • Get fitter.

So far, I have been achieving more this year than ever before because I am no longer trying to meet targets, aims and tick off boring tasks which take me closer to my end goal (such as going to walk another 2,000 steps for the sake of it today when I really just want to read).

I am doing things purely for enjoyment, and therefore I am achieving way more. My goals above are just sentences to guide me towards the right path. But I am slowly working towards them in my own way and in my own time.

I have travelled to the USA (amazing), Venice and I am off to Dubrovnik in 10 days. I have certainly devoted a lot more time to my blog, read over 35 books (an expensive hobby at this frequency) and filled my Instagram with so many pictures. My diet is better than ever, and I am actually doing HIIT training 4-5 days a week. All without concrete targets. Bring on the rest of the year!

I will review these goals at the end of the year, and hopefully they will have provided enough guidance without causing stress or detracting from the most important thing – experiencing life to the fullest.

Tomorrow: Don’t say you’re busy for two weeks

30 days minimalism