Blog, Minimalism

Minimalism and productivity: Increasing your Output

There’s always something to do. It seems like we never run out of things to do. And when we do actually run out of things to do, we don’t know how to spend the free time constructively and we just end up anticipating the next thing to do.

You could always be working, studying, playing with the kids, cleaning, spending time with your partner, updating your social media, making future plans. I can’t promise you that there will ever be less to do but you can definitely get more done by approaching your tasks the right way.

Minimalism and productivity

Minimalism is a very efficient way to…be efficient! Minimalism turns your space into an optimal environment for getting things done, and removes the non essentials from your personal life. One of the biggest advantages of minimalist living is the effect it has on your own life.

Reasons you’re able to think, create, and focus tremendously better in a minimalistic environment are similar to the reasons you’re able to do all those things better in a library.

Lack of distractions, lack of intrusions, and lack of interruptions—a minimalist pad with a clean workspace is heaven for the young professional, online business owner, mom-trepreneur, student, and remote employee! 

How does minimalism increase productivity?

It’s important to have your thinking space, inside and out, clear in order to juggle the tasks ahead and absorb the information in front of you.

If you’re a minimalist, chances are that that job is already half done as your workspace is tidy and uncluttered. Making sure your area is clear of debris is among the most important boxes to check off before throwing your hair in a bun and getting things done!

Here’s a few more ways your minimalist apartment or house serves as the perfect office for starting that small business or studying for that final exam.

No distractions

Our biggest distractions in life by far are our electronics. It’s perhaps the greatest modern day hurdle to overcome in order to have a productive day. No matter where we are or what we’re doing, when our phones vibrate we’re at least tempted to see what the buzz is about.

We’d rather be scrolling through our favorite social media apps than, say, paying attention in class or looking where we’re walking. There’s an endless world of entertainment inside our electronics that can easily swerve our attention to the left, away from the task at hand. 

Electronics aren’t the only distractions. People—namely friends, partners, and children—have the power to divert your attention. Having food items out and visible triggers our appetite even if we’re not hungry.

This leads to more breaks, and encourages stress-eating. Messes can be a disturbance, especially for my manic disinfectors out there, causing you to stop your work to tend to them. Knick-knacks around to fidget with will likely end up in your hands. Even windows have a way of enticing your mind to wander out of them.

We don’t even notice just how many distractions we encounter everyday when trying to do anything. If any of these apply to you, consider making some adjustments to your area. 

Minimalists are able to focus more intently and for longer simply because they don’t have as many things around them. Their spaces are organized and neat. Everything that doesn’t need to be out is put away—which is basically everything but your work tools/supplies.

Without the extras around, it’s so much easier for minimalists to zone into what they’re doing. They’re less likely to take breaks, and more likely to be satisfied with their progress at the end of the day. 

Minimalists endeavor to live outside of the temporary, superficial enjoyment that material objects bring. Some minimalists prefer to not even own a T.V.. By doing this they set themselves up to be as productive as possible.

They’re able to manage their time better by sticking to tasks, and still allot time at the end of their day to decompress and pat themselves on the back for a job well done!

Speaking of time, next we’ll take a closer look at how minimalists divide and conquer their time.

No calendar clashes

Living minimally calls for you to cut and clear your planner to make sure nothing runs concurrently to your priorities and that your attention is not needed/expected elsewhere.

Minimalists don’t allow anything that isn’t of immediate importance to insert itself between them and their work. They will readily turn down an invitation if it intrudes on their work schedule.

Their ability to distinguish what is and is not important to them leads them to be very proactive in keeping their tasks and commitments in order. When people and events are allowed to intrude in their tasks it throws off their meticulously planned day or eats into their personal time so they try their best not to allow it.

Minimalists sheer all the fluff from their planners and prioritize activities that’ll get them closer to their goals. Extracurriculars are at a minimum as they prefer not to stretch themselves too thin. Jam-packed schedules are the source of a lot of stress which can lead to mental, and ultimately physical, repercussions over time.

Some people work better under pounds of pressure—hats off to you!—but in reality, humans aren’t designed to run 24 hours a day. If you find yourself zooming back and forth between tasks and places on a regular basis then you should reevaluate your planner.

Their methodical planning doesn’t mean they’re antisocial. They plan in advance so that if there is an upcoming commitment there is sufficient time mapped out for it. Plus, they plan in order to balance their work time and their free time.

They incorporate time for themselves and time to be social which is why their work time is so important—there’s only 24 hours in a day and not all of them can be spent working. As mentioned before, that creates stress and overwhelm. 

It’s imperative to note the urgency of downtime. We need time to recharge in order to stay operating at maximum capacity. We can’t hope to be on our A-game when we’re running off three hours of sleep or haven’t taken time to decompress.

Unnecessary meetings get cancelled, to do lists become filled with only the most important tasks, and removing a messy environment results in less stress and more clarity.

Very good ideas are also conceived during your downtime as creativity and energy are allowed to flow freely and undirected. So it’s best to limit intrusions into your “me time” as well!

No mental clutter

We can readily address the distractions and clutter around us—we can put our things away or escape to an orderly place like a library to get work done. But we can’t so easily escape our thoughts.

Trying to stay keenly focused with ten other things on your mind is the worst! We’ve all been there, but minimalists generally don’t suffer from this as often as people who accumulate things to worry about.

Minimalists find less reasons to fret about things because there are less things that suddenly malfunction, get damaged, need to be paid for/purchased, and are overall liabilities. When there’s a lot of dishes, that’s more dishes to dread washing at the end of the day.

What do you do when your iPad is missing? Can’t find the receipt for that overpriced skirt that you got home and realized you didn’t really want? Does your second car need an oil change two weeks after your third car needed an oil change?

Minimalists naturally stress less over things by limiting their possessions down to what’s necessary.

We touched on the importance of carving out “me time” in your day. This sacred time is also a great chance to address and clear out any mental clutter from the day.

Maybe you experienced some major creative blockages. Or you missed the bus and got caught in the rain this morning. You might not have accomplished all that you wanted today. It’s all okay; take time to remind yourself that you did your very best today and you’re going to do your very best tomorrow.

Forgiving ourselves and others, expressing our good and bad feelings (in a healthy way), and appreciating our strengths helps keep us balanced. Sweep the floor of your mind every night and get rid of all the insignificant crumbs. It really helps in approaching the next day with an open mind and heart. 

No financial barriers

Though there are different forms of minimalism, one of the most common is the financial minimalist.

One of the most substantial roadblocks on the road to our aspirations is our financial ability to do it. Whether you dream of traveling, modelling, content creating, whatever you’re manifesting into your life requires a little money. More opportunities are open to you when you have a healthy work budget.

We’ve already established that minimalists naturally have a lower cost of living than your average person. What better to do with all that extra money than to invest it in your ambitions and make more money?

Minimalist life is perfect for small businesses owners, freelancers, and self-employed professionals who have to put money into their profession. 

Wrap Up

Staying on task, especially for long periods of time, has become more of a challenge. And that has a lot to do with the complexity of today’s gadgets and gizmos. How many times have you been reading through an important email when you receive a message from your partner inviting you to lunch or a call from a friend? 

Minimalism is a great way to combat this issue, and you can start by limiting your exposure to anything you know has the potential to distract you. Before you start working, take ten minutes to make sure that everything is put away.

Make sure your workspace is clutter-free and you have nothing more than what you need to work, a drink, and maybe a small snack to pick at (like a cup of trail mix). If you find your mind always wandering out that beautifully-placed window, you’ll probably want to work in a different room.

While you’re working, take note of things that affect your ability to focus. It could be anything: the light on your Wi-Fi router that keeps flashing, or that Tom Cruise bobble head on your desk (again, why do you have that?).

Consider moving the distractions that you discover somewhere outside your work space. We won’t be able to fully escape all of them—almost all of us work from and with our devices. The importance is in limiting your access to interruptions and your likelihood to encounter them.

Regardless of what you’re aspiring to do, minimalism as a method to increase productivity will no doubt get you favorable results. Some major perks you’ll see are an increase in your work budget, more manageable distribution of your time, less mental and creative blocks, and the ability to remain attentive for longer.

We can become reluctant at the thought of detaching from our things at first, but it becomes so much easier over time. Once you see the results of minimalist-style productivity, it’ll easily become your favorite way to tackle your goals!