Learn how to say “no” and stick to your decision. Sometimes it’s difficult to say no to seemingly small tasks, even if we are the ones doing the asking, until all of a sudden you find yourself with about 5 free minutes per day! That is a stressful way to live. By saying “no” you are basically prioritizing and eliminating tasks that are either not essential to you or which can be accomplished by others more effectively. The whole idea here is that you purposely take on only those tasks which matter and decline those which don’t. How will you know which is which? Well, I can’t tell you that, only you will know. That said, here’s my general thought process. Is it critical that the task be done immediately? If not, can the task be delayed or delegated? If so, can the task be eliminated, in other words, is it really necessary or am I just making extra work for myself or someone else? You would be surprised how much unnecessary work I eliminate with this process.
One goal of decrappification is the reduction of stress in my life. Some things are well outside my control, and if I dwell upon them without a resolution in sight, of course they will stress me out. The thing is, I can’t always move these stress inducing things out of my mind and move on to things I can control. So what do I do instead? Well, some folks are into mediation and inner reflection. I’m all for that in concept but in practice it does not work so well for me. I prefer to reduce my stress with a much more proactive approach: exercise. If I have a bad day at work, I just pop a workout DVD into the player when I get home, and for the next hour I just burn out all those stress hormones in my system. My mind seems to back off and take things in stride when my body is at or near exhaustion. There’s probably a compelling medical or scientific explanation. If there is, I don’t know what it is. I look at it a bit more pragmatically. I just give my mind something to worry about which I can control.
Wow, it’s been a while since I updated. I guess I got a little busy.
TV stinks. OK, I realize that’s nothing new. I’m just getting fed up with all the crap on TV. The smallest package I can get here with Time Warner has over 70 channels, of which I regularly watch maybe 6 or 7. (In the old days they used to offer an “antenna package” of the lower 15 or so channels, which I wouldn’t mind seeing make a comeback.) Anyway, once in a while I watch something on Hulu.com or the various networks’ web sites, but watching “TV” on my laptop’s 15 inch screen is not my idea of fun. So, I’ve been thinking about getting a Roku or similar streaming device to use with my television. Then it occurred to me that my television has a VGA input and I already have a wi-fi capable device with a VGA output: my Acer netbook! I’m going to go that route and save about a hundred bucks, and probably subscribe to Netflicks too. That’s one less thing to buy and a source of irritation removed.
My dining room hasn’t been used as such for at least the past 10 years. So, I have decided to turn it into an exercise room which can do occasional duty as a place to eat. But before I do that I need to decrappify it. It has sort of become a catch-all for my tools, building supplies, and things that just didn’t seem to have anyplace else to go. Right off the top of my head, I can think of about a small pickup truck load of stuff I can either repurpose, redistribute, or recycle. It will be interesting to me to delve into the closet in that room and see what I held on to for no good reason all this time, and then one way or another get rid of it. Stay tuned.
Decrappification. Minimalism. Simplicity. These are different words for one concept: mindful living. I’m sure that mindful living means different things to each of us. Here’s my take on the idea. I think that mindful living is an acknowledgement that our choices have consequences. For example, when we buy more stuff, the results are more than just a cluttered house. Consider that a lot of what we buy in this country is made in other countries by people who work and live in near-slavery conditions. Arguably, by purchasing cheap products from these sources, we support and encourage such conditions. On the other hand by buying locally made goods, we support our community. There are no doubt many gradations between the two extremes in my example, and many other examples to cite. In my view, the takeaway is that mindful living is not just about consumerism, but being aware of the ripples we spread with our actions.
Decrappification isn’t for everyone. It’s not just about stuff. It’s about a process of candid self-examination. Some people just aren’t comfortable with that. I understand. I was one of them for all too many years, and I still have a ton of stuff-possibly literally-to prove it. There comes a point though where you take stock of your life, and all its trappings. Do you covet possessions more than you desire relationships? Are money and status more important to you than giving and serving? I will grant that few issues are quite so black and white as that, yet there are some which come pretty close. The thing is, how will you deal with simplification when that day comes that you decide to examine your choices?