Less is more. That familiar concept has picked up momentum with a movement toward minimalism that has taken many forms. This minimization sensation has had an influence on what people are eating, how they are shopping, when they are using their electronics, and many other aspect of their routines — all in an effort to sharpen their focus and lead more fulfilling lives.
There’s a perception that being busy means you are really important. There’s also a reality that being busy means you aren’t at your best. Tim Maurer, our director of personal finance through the BAM ALLIANCE, says we tend to underperform when we’re overloaded. Slowing your pace can help you be more productive.
For example, instead of making your to-do list a mile long, then racing all day to try and cross off as many items as you can, cut it back to the few things that you truly need to address that day. Then, spend your precious time and narrow focus on those very things, allowing them to receive the attention they deserve.
Maurer suggests that when you are writing your selective to-do list, it’s best to put down your electronic device and do it with old-fashioned pen and paper. He states that emails and digital reminders distract and interfere with our planning, and that the act of having to physically write or rewrite a task forces us to ask whether it’s worth doing in the first place.
You may also want to take a step back and look at the big picture of your calendar. It may be possible to cancel some upcoming events that are not essential. Thank of it as decluttering your schedule. The “found” time can be used to complete items on your to-do list, or to unwind.
Minimizing can also mean paring what you’re wearing. Closets are becoming less cluttered as people are finding freedom by limiting their wardrobe choices, affording them fewer decisions and less stress during their routine of getting ready for each day. Another strategy is to pull one item out of your closet each day that is getting worn only by hangers. Do this for 30 days (each season as necessary) and then donate your collection of good-but-rarely-worn clothes to those who need them.
There are other daily habits you can adopt to help you slow down, such as:
- Pause during the day to focus on breathing
- Allow time for thinking
- Go for a walk or do some slow stretches
- To avoid over-committing, learn to say “no” gracefully
- Turn off electronic distractions when you need to focus on the current task
- Take time to celebrate accomplishments with friends and family.
Doing more with less is big in our world, and it’s not new or trendy to us. When it comes to this concept, we long have espoused the value of trading less; minimizing taxes; turning down the noise from Wall Street; decluttering our clients’ financial lives; and boiling down what truly matters to them, so they can create a clear life-plan to-do list.
We hope you enjoy these suggestions about minimizing for the sake of maximizing your life. Please reach out to us if you ever want to have a conversation about these or any other topics. We look forward to hearing from you.