Did you know that minimalism increases productivity? This may seem strange, but I’m telling you, it’s true. But I don’t want to give away exactly how minimalism does this…I’ll let my guest poster let you in on her secrets.
In today’s guest post, Alyssa shows us four ways minimalism increases productivity. She shares tips for using minimalism to increase our productivity no matter what stage we are in along our journeys. Not only that, she gives us the exact steps we should take to begin increasing your productivity like a minimalist!
This is the eighth post in our summer series on how minimalism has changed so many people’s lives for the better. Each week we get to hear from a different person who has adopted some aspect of the minimalist lifestyle.
How Minimalism Increases Productivity
The days go by. Children are getting older. Life seems to be accelerating only to never slow down. It never feels like you have control over how quickly things are moving. This changes with the seasons of life, but everything just keeps moving.
Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.” – Jane Austen
How true is that? When you think back on the things that really mattered, doesn’t it just feel like time is just speeding up? What were the things we did that really mattered? Those busy nothings are the things that shape our tomorrow.
Minimalism helped me simplify my life through intentional living. Being more intentional about every single thing I do, has made me way more productive in the things that matter most.
Minimalism is also more important than ever as technology continues to improve, as does our desire for instant gratification in more areas of our life. If you aren’t intentional about how you spend your time, you’ll catch the drift of life and speed on along.
The thing is, productivity is different for everyone. Minimalism is too. Both are only tools to get you to where you want to be. Where you want to be is going to be very different in different seasons.
For example, if you just had a baby, a productive day is going to mean that the baby is fed and you are getting as much sleep as possible (uhhh.. maybe?)
But if your kids are moved out of the house, a productive day may mean that you spend more time on your favorite hobby.
As you define what minimalism and productivity are going to do for you, it’s helpful to see each through three distinct lenses: what works for you, what works for the environment you’re in, and what works for the time in history you live in.
In this post, I’m going to break down exactly how minimalism increases productivity. Let’s dive in!
4 Ways Minimalism Increases Productivity
1. Filter the demands of life with clarity and confidence.
I can be flexible. I don’t follow a rigid schedule (again, this doesn’t appeal to me in this particular season of life). This means that I am doing things that work for me and ignoring just about everything else.
Doing things that work for me has come from years of getting to know myself. Did you know that you have a productive personality?
2. Create a system to deal with overwhelm.
Minimalism increases productivity by helping you create systems.
Ever feel overwhelmed? Congrats! You’re normal.
It’s inevitable. It happens, and it doesn’t make you less of a person when it happens. The important part is being aware that you’re starting to become overwhelmed, and then creating a process to kick it to the curb pronto! Unless you enjoy being overwhelmed of course, then keep on keeping on!
Questions for reflection: What are your symptoms of overwhelm? How do you feel? What do you notice about yourself?
This is something that happens and I know that I can influence it. It’s a reality of our fast-paced world. So putting a simple system in place (honestly, it changes with my projects) is what works for me.
3. Be super clear about exactly what you’re working on so you’re ready when the time comes to do it.
Minimalism increases productivity by encouraging you to know your priorities.
Being minimal means I’ve already filtered out the things that don’t matter right now and have my priorities in an easy-to-access space so that I know exactly what I need to do.
Okay, I’m not perfect at this by any stretch, but I love when I can sit down at my computer for 15 minutes and just knock something out quickly. This comes from knowing exactly what I was going to work on before the time was going to be available.
Rather than sitting down and spending 10 minutes and a lot of decision-making power figuring out what you should work on, the decision has already been made for you!
4. Be more effective in less time.
Minimalism increases productivity by making you more efficient.
Have you heard the principle about how things expand to the time you give them? Parkinson’s law. This means I create deadlines and boundaries for things when I’ve been struggling to get the ball moving on them. I know that they are important because other things fall to the wayside otherwise.
These are just some simple principles you can take that show how minimalism increases productivity.
The roadmap to productivity
Let me call something out here…this will not happen overnight! Although minimalism increases productivity, it is still a process. Below are the distinct stages and the approach that Practigal talks about on this blog.
Parts of this may feel counterintuitive as you’re working backward. Much like gardening, we have to get rid of junk before we can make our way in life. Only you know exactly where you are in this process. You don’t have to stay at any one stage for a long time, but know where you fit so that you can apply all your energy there, and worry about the rest later.
What does it mean to simplify your productivity? It means you should have fewer inputs.
The environment and world we live in is a breeding ground for stimuli and information absolutely everywhere. If we just go with it and continue to consume, we’ll drown. Maybe not actually drown, but our minds certainly will. We won’t have enough space in there to be thinking for ourselves.
The thing is, you have a lot of untapped potential right inside you. You might not even know it. But it’s easier to be on the quest for searching out and learning information from someone else who has been there. The thing is, that person probably figured out something that works for them and is sharing it back.
So yes, unfollow some people on social media. Focus on what you’re giving and creating rather than what you’re going to get out of it in return.
Simplify: Fewer high quality inputs. Mostly rely on yourself (you have a lot within you, just underutilized).
This means more time thinking and less time consuming.
Experts often conflict with one another, and that creates confusion and uncertainty. Why expose yourself to that? You probably have a few experts you trust and always go to for advice. Lean into them more, and ignore everyone else.
More importantly, be in tune with how you think or feel about a particular idea. How does it fit in with your life given what you know about yourself?
This is how minimalism increases productivity when you are in the simplifying stage.
When you are in the organizing stage, minimalism increases productivity as well.
I can’t tell you the peace of mind that comes from being able to quickly find things and just get to business. Before you can organize, you only want to have to organize and manage the things that matter. Otherwise, you’ll be organizing clutter (even if it’s all digital or mental).
And finally, minimalism increases productivity when you are in the prioritizing stage.
When things are organized, it makes it easy to prioritize what is important. Things have their place, and I don’t have to put thought into “where is that thing” again?
Steps to Have Minimalism Increase Your Productivity
- Acknowledge exactly where you are.
- Know why being more productive is important to you.
- Get crystal clear about tomorrow. Where do you want to be? (Dream! This should feel scary and you shouldn’t know all the steps about how you’re going to make it happen.)
- Craft your priorities. What is the one step you can take to get clear about how you want to be tomorrow?
- Work your priorities. How can you put one foot in front of the other? Here is where you can think about typical productivity hacks and ideas. What are the tools you’re using to work your priorities? What strategies do you want to commit to for a shorter period of time?
- Check-in with your priorities.
How to organize all the things you want to do
We want clarity on what is happening now. Context and a powerful why will help inspire you at a moment’s notice to do the things that just don’t sound fun at the moment. Discipline doesn’t have to be hard but considers ways to inspire yourself. It makes this sooooo much easier.
I like to do this by organizing my braindumps through a “now, next, and later” filter. When does next happen? Up to you to decide. Sometimes this is a week out, other times it means next quarter. Decide for you.
Wow! We covered a lot. I want to remind you that you can do this if you put in the time and effort. Do it on your terms. This journey doesn’t have to be stressful!
The big thing I want you to take away is that you should do more of the things that work for you and less of the things that don’t work for you.
Alyssa Smith is a wife and a working momma to 3. She helps other high-achieving mommas do the right things today that make lifeeasier tomorrow. Alyssa wants them to be able to do real life guilt-free and without all the stress of raising their tiny humans. She teaches imperfect but consistent action, easy planning and flexible goal setting.