Categories
Simplify Thrive

Simple Living Productivity: Freedom from Distractions

A version of this post, Simple Living Productivity, was previously published here on 9 November 2018. 

Minimalism is about more than editing your material possessions. It’s a mindset to help you focus on what’s important. That means being protective of your time and energy as well. Those are finite resources that are even more valuable than money. Stop wasting them on things that don’t matter. I call it simple living minimalism, and it’s how I’ve been able to accomplish things while still finding a healthy work/life balance.

Productive Minimalism

One thing that an hourly wage structure has conditioned us to believe is that activity is the same is productivity. You don’t have to be busy, you just have to look busy. As long as you’re keeping up appearances, your boss will probably still pay you. That means that all tasks are theoretically equal. A flurry of activity that amounts to doing nothing is perceived to be better than standing around doing nothing, but the net result is the same. It’s fine if you’re satisfied with just serving time, but if you have any ambition at all it’s just wasteful.

If you want to be productive, you need to target your efforts. Cut out things that you know are a waste of time. Stop pretending that they aren’t, or trying to justify those tasks as having some meaning that they don’t possess. Do the things that most need doing.

The Cost of Distraction

Distractions kill productivity. Time is money and all of that. Eliminate the unnecessary tasks, get more valuable work done, make more money. I wish we could get beyond that, because while it’s true, it’s not everything. The cost of distraction is increased pressure to meet deadlines. Instead of getting done on time or even early, you waste time and have to scramble to finish on time. Who needs that stress? The cost of distraction is the feeling that you shouldn’t make time for yourself. You’ve already blown your “free” time when you should have been working.

Productive minimalism is eliminating the trivial wastes of time. Then you can enjoy longer blocks of time, and spend them doing meaningful things. We all hate meetings and pointless emails, because that’s time we could be putting toward a useful or interesting project. Five minutes surfing the internet here, ten minutes playing a game on your phone there, all add up to hours you could be spending with loved ones, reading a book, or even sleeping late.

Simple Living Productivity

This is the latest in a series of posts on Simple Living Minimalism. If you enjoy my posts you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

Categories
Simplify Thrive

Exploring the Concept of Spoonie Minimalism

A version of this post, Exploring the Concept of Spoonie Minimalism, was previously published here on 8 March 2019. 

Over the past week I’ve been ill. I really don’t want to get into it, because I’m not here for sympathy, but it’s a case of multiple things converging, and one ailment exacerbating another. The part that’s useful and constructive is that I had to prioritize what absolutely needed to be done, because I don’t have the strength or energy for anything beyond those essential tasks. It made me appreciate that fact that I’m already a minimalist. I also grew to accept the self-applied label of spoonie even more. What I started to picture in my head was a Venn diagram where the two overlapped. I’m officially calling it “spoonie minimalism”. Here are some preliminary thoughts; this is probably going to be a work-in-progress.

My Take on Minimalism

I’ve always defined minimalism as getting rid of what you don’t need or want in order to make space for the things you do. Most people see this as material possessions and clutter. It also extended to not spending money where you don’t have to, so you can afford necessities and a few luxury items. Don’t waste time on tasks that don’t serve some larger purpose, so that you have time for stuff that’s actually important. Never waste time on toxic relationships, giving you space to establish healthy ones.

The new factor that I’ve added is getting rid of unnecessary tasks that sap your strength, so you have the energy to do the things you truly need and want to do. This hit me on some very fundamental levels. I love to cook, but I realized I don’t have to prepare a full meal in order to feed myself.

When I need to save my strength for other things, I can let that go. It’s okay to have some fruit and a piece of toast, make a simple sandwich, or a bowl of yogurt and muesli. If I’m going to the store, and can only carry so much, I have to be sure to only get the items we absolutely need. Even going from one room to the other to get something has been a bit of a planned trip; the kitchen is only three meters away, but why make five trips if you can make one?

Minimalist Spoon Theory

Spoon theory states that people with chronic illnesses only have a finite amount of energy, and they need to spend it wisely. Everything they choose to do has a cost. This means that things need to be prioritized. Choices have to be made. You start by determining what is necessary. From there, you have to look at what yields a return, the things that will be beneficial later. Sometimes that’s “I should do that now, because later I won’t have the spoons for it”. When possible, you need to save some of your spoons for things that make you happy, just to keep yourself sane.

All of which dovetails with various takes on minimalism. Sometimes it’s not about what sparks joy, it’s about what doesn’t leave you exhausted. It’s not always about what’s beautiful, it’s about what’s convenient and doesn’t cause pain. Fewer possessions means less cleaning and maintenance. A concise task list means getting the most value from the smallest number of actions. It’s never about less for the sake of less. It’s less for the sake of not having the strength to do more. Like time and money, energy is a finite resource that needs to be carefully budgeted for maximum impact.

Simple Living Spoonie

My big learning of the past week is that I need to stop finding resources – time, money, strength – for things that aren’t worth it. You’ve only got 24 hours in a day. There’s only a certain amount of money in your bank about. You can only do so much before you’re too tired. You’re in too much pain to function. There are obligations to be met, things that need to be done, but you also need to save something for yourself.

Spoonie minimalism is the fusion of productivity and self-care. If I can get eight hours of work done today, then I will get eight hours of work done. I will make the most of those hours. But if I only have the energy to work for an hour, I need to make that the most productive hour possible, and then not feel guilty or ashamed of the fact that I need to take an extra seven hours to recharge my batteries and tend to my health.

Exploring the Concept of Spoonie Minimalism

This is the latest in a series of posts on Simple Living Minimalism. If you enjoy my posts you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

 

Categories
Journal Simplify Thrive

Simple Living Minimalism as a Spoonie

It’s easy to advocate for simple living minimalism as a spoonie. We can start with the practical. Maintaining things uses spoons. Cleaning and dusting things uses spoons. Having to move things to get to other things uses spoons. Trying to not knock things over, because your motor skills aren’t all that great, uses spoons. Able-bodied people don’t always understand how stressful clutter can be. Less stuff immediately translates to less effort.

Visual Noise

Mentally and emotionally, removing the demands of taking care of stuff eases a burden. It can become an issue of guilt, brought about by a society that often labels people with invisible illnesses as lazy. I don’t look sick, therefore I should be able to deal with *gestures broadly at the world*. When you add in the way possessions become equated with status, then the pressure to own things creates further demands on your spoons. It’s not worth it.

Unwashed dishes stress me out, for example, especially when I’m low on spoons. Having fewer dishes, two place settings for two people, means they have to get done. It means there’s a finite amount that can pile up, and even if I used every plate and bowl in the kitchen it won’t take more than a few minutes to do the washing up. Less stuff, less obligation, less anxiety.

Less stuff means less to keep track of. With my executive dysfunction, that’s important. I don’t want to have to remember to dust the knicknacks, or set reminders to water a large number of houseplants that each have specific needs. My world is already filled with white boards and sticky notes and bullet journal trackers. I don’t need visual noise to distract me from important tasks, or to make my reminders less visible.

This does not mean that I don’t have aesthetically pleasing or visually interesting things. Quite the opposite. It becomes more important to curate decor. The few things around me are soothing and make me happy. They don’t get lost in the clutter, so I can see them and appreciate them. It’s easier to dust what needs to be dusted, and to see when they need dusting.

Beyond the Material

There’s more to simple living than having less stuff, of course. Planning simple, easy-to-prepare meals saves time, money, and spoons. Maintaining a well-stocked, efficiently organized pantry cuts down on draining trips to the grocery store. Even keeping your social life manageable, with strategic outings and as little drama as possible, can be hugely helpful.

All of the things I’m talking about apply to everyone, not just spoonies. It’s just easier for spoonies to say no, because we understand the implications and complications. We’ve learned to filter out the necessary from the unnecessary. We know our limitations. Everyone has finite time and money, but spoonies seem to have a better grasp on the reality of finite energy as well. Simple living minimalism as a spoonie means being efficient and targeted in our efforts, because that’s how we’ve adapted in order to function in the world.

Simple Living Minimalism as a Spoonie

This is the latest in a series of posts on Simple Living Minimalism. If you enjoy my posts you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

Categories
Create Journal Thrive

If You Have Time to Doomscroll, You Have Time to Read

At the moment I only have a business presence on Twitter, and no personal account. I find it moderately beneficial to see what’s going on in my publishing niche. Even though I’m bad at it for various reasons, I attempt to contribute to and participate in the community. Still, I’ve just uninstalled it from my phone and replaced it with an eReader app. If you have time to doomscroll, you have time to read.

I know someone’s going to say that’s judgmental toward people that don’t read. It’s not about them, it’s about me. Reading is far more productive for me. A few minutes taking in a chapter of a marketing book, or a volume on improving my copywriting skills, will get me further in life than seeing peoples’ reactions to the latest bout of fascist douchebaggering or incredulous science denial. Even if I read a few pages of a novel, that has a positive effect on my mental health. Reading what the trolls and bots are spreading, not so much.

When I do want to engage on Twitter, I do so from my laptop. That means I’m at my desk, in my workspace. It goes a long way toward separating work-time from not work-time.

If You Have Time to Doomscroll…

If you enjoy my posts (maybe not this one, because, you know), you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

Categories
Create Journal Thrive

Please Leave a Message After the Beep

We’re inside one of those bubbles where the past few posts were written several days ago. This post was as well. I’m taking some time away from the internet to deal with real-life stuff, my overall health, and some deadlines. I’m not here right now. Please leave a message after the beep.

As you’re reading this, there are any number of things I could be doing. I might be checking all of the paperwork I need to take to immigration tomorrow for the 853rd time, paranoid that I’ve forgotten something. It could be that I’m madly cleaning the apartment, because we have a plumbing issue and I want the place to look nice when the workmen come. Yes, I’m your grandma, shut up. In all likelihood, I’m grinding to finish a book so that it can be released this coming Friday.

Tuesday I will be back in the office. By then I will be able to make an informed decision about taking time off. I direly need to just have a couple of days to sleep in, order a pizza so I don’t have to cook, and read a stack of books. I’ve been working at a breakneck pace, and I suspect that I’ll need to continue doing so for the rest of the year. A couple of days doesn’t seem like a huge ask.

Please Leave a Message After the Beep

If you enjoy my posts (maybe not this one, because, you know), you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.