My Favorite 'Advanced' Minimalism Strategies

I've talked about minimalism on this blog for years. But mostly in relation to decluttering - I love a simple space (unless it's spooky season like right now, of course, my house looks like the inside of a Spirit Halloween store. Tour coming soon), a simple closet, a simple makeup and skincare routine. But minimalism applies to so much more, and it can truly permeate your entire life and make everything more calm. It can also mean minimizing your to do list, distractions, and conflicts and today, I'm sharing a few of my more 'advanced' strategies for applying minimalism to my life.

1. Make a list of priorities and then limit yourself to 5. There’s not time in the day for more than 5. Sometimes less. Would it be nice to get the laundry done, scrub the toilets, clean the oven, mow the grass, all in one day? Sure. But are they all priorities when you have an already full day of work or childcare? Nope. Maybe the only priority is laundry so your family has clothes tomorrow. Get the priorities done first, then see if there’s room for anything else.

2. Reconsider what's an option and what's an obligation. There’s a lot of stuff on all our to do lists that we’ve been considering obligations, but if we took a few minutes to really examine our commitments, it’s clear that there are tons of items that are actually just options. And options shouldn’t be overwhelming. Focus on what’s actually an obligation for you and keep that on your list. Options can happen if you have time and if you don’t, they’re not that important.

3. Make no your default response. Most people are programmed to please. So when an invite arrives in the mail or a co-worker or parent asks you to chair the new committee or school bake sale, you say yes without a second thought because yes is your default response. You only opt out if you have a previous engagement. Time to flip that on its head - the new default response is no. Don’t accept invites to anything until you’ve not only checked your calendar but also checked in with yourself and your current capacity for additional work. You don’t have to have a conflict to say no. You can simply decline the baby shower invite when you’re not feeling up for it, send a gift in the mail, and sit home and watch Gilmore Girls again. You are the manager of your time, no one else.

4. Ask for help. We all love to take everything on ourselves but it doesn’t do anyone any good. So ask for help. Delegate. Free up your time and brain space by giving tasks back to their original owners, where they should be. And it can even free up mental clutter if someone is just emotionally supporting you or acting as an accountability partner, but they won’t know to do so if you don’t ask for it.

5. Resist the urge for perfection. This is a tough one because we all want to feel like we ‘have it all together’ and that tends to mean perfection in every aspect. But that’s unattainable and exhausting. Scale back. Good enough is good enough, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Chasing perfection is exhausting on all levels.

6. Don't attend every fight you're invited to. This goes along with making no your default response. Along with declining invites to actual events, decline the invites to arguments too. Not every one is worth your time and effort. Or emotional bandwidth.

7. Invest in what you love. Knowing what you love is so important for your mental health. Invest your time and money into doing those things you absolutely love. Because it also serves to weed out the things that don’t make you feel good, since you no longer have the time to bother with those.

Have you added any advanced minimalist strategies to your routine? What would you add to this list?

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