It started after a record few years of earning more money than I could spend.
I accumulated junk and things I didn’t need.
I’d buy ten pairs of black shoes, a new shirt for every birthday party I attended and every piece of audio software that some guy I didn’t know told me to get. It got out of hand quickly. It was a time in my life where I hadn’t begun working on myself and I was pretty down a lot of the time.
Buying useless junk numbed the pain but only for a short while. The lies I’d tell myself about my bad habit were incredible. I’ve been having a serious go at becoming minimalist for the last three years. I actually started a few years prior and ended up having a few false starts.
Here’s how I became minimalist (I’d suggest doing the same if you can):
Start with the big stuff.
That BMW had to go. It was taking up so much of my time and money to keep on the road. It was like a screaming child, always wanting something. Unlike a child, I had no passion or drive to take care of this European piece of crap that society told me I needed to be successful.
I put the car online for sale. It was a painful process and every person that came to see it found problems with what I thought was a spotless car.
It was a negotiation tactic and it was stopping me from beginning a new life with this whole minimalist dream.
I ended up selling the car for much less than it was worth. I did the numbers and no matter what, even losing a bit of money on it still made sense. Once the car was gone, the process of becoming minimalist began.
You can easily forget how out of control you are.
At the start of this minimalism process I had 4 computers, 5 microphones, 2 laptops, 5 mobile phones, 2 iPads, 2 soundcards, 2 large sized wardrobes of clothes, more than 20 pairs of shoes, multiple spare car stereos, and a whole pile of CDs and DVDs that were overflowing from my draws.
As I read back the list I just wrote, I now see how out of control I was. Oh and I even had an old VCR with heaps of old cassette tapes that I kept telling myself I’d watch one day even though I hate the idea of having to fast forward through in real-time to find out what’s on the tapes. I was delusional about my junk habit, to say the least.
Trying to give stuff away is useless.
The delusion that is giving stuff away is why you are still not a minimalist. The key lesson I had to learn time and time again was to stop trying to give stuff away, Some of the stuff I wanted to chuck out was valuable to someone, somewhere.
The trouble is that it’s hard to find the right person, at the right time who may have the space for your item. I thought about all the time wasted giving stuff away. I thought about the effort it took to deliver my junk to people’s homes. I thought about all the space my junk took up in my life.
It just wasn’t worth it. If you are serious about becoming minimalist and the benefits that come with this lifestyle, you’ve got to marry the idea that you’ll need to throw things away.
Not used it in 12 months? Chuck it.
This question sent my minimalist quest into hyperdrive. When I looked at how much stuff I had that in some cases hadn’t been used for more than 5 years, I figured out that these were things that I should discard. We tell ourselves that one day we’ll use a particular item.
That one day never comes and these items become a burden the longer we hold onto them.
Support charity where you can.
You may be reading this blog post thinking “Who is this a**hole who’s so disrespectful to the environment?”
Well, you’d be wrong. I did consider the environment and people less fortunate than me. Where possible, I gave away lots of clothes, shoes and electronic items to charity. If you want to be minimalist, then I’d strongly urge you to do the same.
The cool thing is you get to clear out your junk, feel good, and help someone in need. There are just so many good reasons to become minimalist. Jump on the bandwagon!
Get some external motivation.
While going through the journey of becoming minimalist, I coincidently interviewed a blogger named Joshua Becker. He runs a blog called Becoming Minimalist. Joshua taught me so many awesome little hacks to clear out junk and he changed the way I was thinking about material possessions.
It’s not just the physical junk.
I was trying to be the next big music producer before my minimalism quest started and so I kept buying more audio gear. I somehow thought that the more gear I had, the more cool sounds I could create. The trouble was I always had to learn how to use new gear, so I never mastered one instrument or audio effect.
Meanwhile, back in France, Daft Punk would brag about how old their computer was and how they always used the same small number of instruments. No wonder they had such cool music.
“Daft Punk went for minimalism that led to mastery, while I was dabbling in being a master of everything”
The other point to consider is that junk is not just your material things. We also collect digital garbage now as well. I still have more than 10 TB of data to sort through. This excess storage on our computers slows our operating system down, makes it hard to find stuff and requires us to keep buying more storage.
Having lots of data also makes it difficult to back stuff up because storing things in the cloud becomes an expensive pursuit for a data hoarder.
Some of us like the idea of becoming minimalist but never do.
Is that you? It was certainly me. Having dreams of taking action is what’s holding you back. It may be affecting more than just your goal to get rid of junk. Don’t think about taking action: commit to it.
Aim to throw away one piece of junk every week.
I did this little hack and it’s how I’ve now been able to free up space in my life for things that matter.
Minimalism allows for more of the good stuff.
Once I had heaps of room from clearing out my junk, I noticed my mind was less busy. One of the key pieces of junk that was very hard to throw away was my old Mac Pro computer. I kept telling myself I may need it in the future even though my current Mac laptop is more than good enough.
I’m dumbfounded at how much time I would spend every day thinking about whether I should throw out my very old 2009 Mac. Finally, I got pissed off. The thinking time wasted on this idea could be used to do other stuff. Ultimately, what convinced me to throw it away was the time I’d get back to keep blogging for all of you.
Having space in your home and mind allows you room for the stuff and ideas you actually want in your life. You feel so free when you get to this point.
It’s a long journey.
Keeping junk out of your life becomes the next challenge once you are free of all of your garbage. Every holiday I go on I’m tempted to collect souvenirs I’ll never look at again.
“Every trip to the shopping centre makes me feel like a gambler trying not to place a bet”
The temptation at these giant concrete shopping centres is to buy more clothes, more shoes and more things that will supposedly make you happy.
I’ve learned through minimalism that less is more and that’s what leaves me space to be happy. I can’t be happy when I’m simultaneously pissed off with all of the junk in my life.
Junk sucks up our time and that’s the one thing we should never waste.
Do you want to waste time thinking about and maintaining your junk or would you prefer to live a life where you have room for what personally matters to you?
Not being minimalist is costing you more than you think. It’s leading you down a path that makes other people big profits while keeping you both broke and with a mind not focused on your goals.
Get a divorce from the material world. Marry the empty space of what you love instead.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
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The Guide to Staying Motivated While Working Alone
Working alone at home might sound like a nightmare to some, but as a fully signed up introvert, working alone at home is an absolute dream. No energy-draining small talk, no noisy distractions, just peace and quiet to complete deep and focused work. Well not quite. Working alone at home has more challenges than you might expect. Boredom, lack of focus and lack of motivation to name a few.
When you start working for yourself, you quickly realise that one of the biggest problems you face isn’t the job itself. Maintaining your motivation poses a potentially huge difficulty. Much of that difficulty stems from working alone, rather than in a traditional office setting. There is also the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand. With no boss or supervisor looking over your shoulder, social media can distract or cat videos interrupt you.
But the greatest problem by far is a simple lack of motivation. There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need to finish this project right now, making it far too easy to put it off until later. Left unchecked, a lack of motivation can cripple the work you are trying to accomplish. Over the past few years I’ve developed a few go-to tactics to improve my lone working motivation.
Here are some of the tools I’ve used to stay motivated and on-task.
These first few tips focus on using different tweaks in your personal work schedule to provide some variety and maintain your focus.
1. Include short breaks
My eye doctor once told me that for every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, you should look away and focus on something across the room for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset. Do something similar with the rest of your body; don’t just look across the room, walk, jog, or run across the room. Give your body a break, and try to reset your thoughts. If you don’t have the discipline to take regular breaks, use an app to remind you.
2. Block out an afternoon for social activities and networking
Set aside one afternoon a week for your social life. Friday afternoon works best for me. If you feel guilty about not working, think of it as a chance to network. Either way, be sure to spend this section of time with other people. Socialise and network.
3. View your personal schedule as your work schedule
A 9-to-5 job requires getting up every morning, preparing for the day, leaving the house, and commuting to your workplace. In other words, it requires going to work. You want to recreate the same rhythm at home. You may not actually need to leave your house in order to work, but try to stick with the schedule. Filling the old job timeslot with your new work helps to keep you motivated – you can’t clock out early!
These next few tips are little things you can do to trick yourself into staying focused!
This tip may sound cliché, but try listening to an upbeat song loudly whenever you feel unmotivated. It’s a simple trick, but a surprisingly effective one!
2. Have somewhere else to work for a change of scenery
When procrastination sets in, sometimes a quick change of scenery is all you need. If you work at home, going to your favourite café can be a huge help. Other freelancers I know have even gone so far as to hire office space outside the home, and rotate between the two to help stay on-task.
3. Love what you do
This is arguably the most critical point on the whole list. If you don’t love what you do, it will be hard to keep yourself motivated – particularly long-term. Sure, you may be able to push on through sheer force of will for a while, but sooner or later you’ll lose motivation entirely. Do something you genuinely enjoy, and you’ll find it much easier to stick with it for the long haul.
These last few tips are Industry-related!
1. Make sure you have fun projects
Not all of your work projects will be fun, but fight to make at least a couple of them fun. These might even be personal side projects, not particularly related to your main job. Or they might be in the same general field, but not your specific focus.
2. Attend industry events a couple of times a year
Nearly every imaginable industry has an organising body of some kind. Find the local branch, and use it to keep tabs on industry-related events. Attend some seminars, network, and maybe even glean some new tips and tricks from industry insiders.
3. Schedule at least one call a week to learn something within your industry
View this as an opportunity for personal development. At least once a week, try to learn something new about your industry. For me, this might mean calling a new tool provider to demonstrate their gadgets. Whatever your industry, try to expand your horizons a little bit every week. You’ll learn new methods and make new connections at the same time.
These tips worked for me, hopefully, some of them will help you out as well. Above all, strive to enjoy what you do, stick to a “work schedule,” and look for opportunities for constant self-improvement. With those ideas in mind, you’ll find staying motivated much easier to do alone or in a group!
7 Ways Yoga Effectively Motivates You to Achieve Success
Yoga is an appointment with your own self. It is time to meet your true self and receive a return ticket to your true nature that is bliss and happiness. You will naturally feel happy while doing yoga. Many people don’t realize they are in a distressed state until it’s too late. The same thing happened with me when I failed to understand my life’s circumstances. I was struggling with a lack of motivation, depression, insomnia, and maintaining my personal relationships, which eventually started affecting my physical health.
Last year, I struggled with depression and general anxiety disorder. I was constantly chasing after money, a lucrative career, happiness, and success. I was afraid that if I told my colleagues about my mental health issues, they would criticize me and eventually it would hamper my progression and I would not be taken seriously.
Last winter, my responsibilities in life increased in a short period of time, which created a lot of anxiety. It began to disturb my mood at home as I was unable to relax and felt low. I hated my own egotistical self because I was an extremely competitive individual as well. I always felt that I did not have the career of my dreams and I was not where I aimed to be. It felt like I was failing because I was not able to attain any of the goals I set in my own life.
I decided to share my emotions and feelings with someone who could potentially make things easier for me. I ended up explaining my struggles and mental illness to my manager. His reaction was amazing because he thanked me for being honest, and he introduced me to yoga. I am happy that I made this decision because it felt better after sweating it out in the Yoga workshop.
Yoga helped me in focusing on what I truly had, instead of on what I didn’t have. I learned how to embrace my competitive side and to use it in a way that pushed me to become a happier person. Yoga taught me that instead of wasting most of my life chasing after success and competing with others, I had to let life run its natural course. Happiness and success will then come to us naturally.
Below I have listed some reasons as to why yoga works effectively to motivate yourself to achieve success:
1. It Solves Your Problem
When it comes to challenges and tackling problems, yoga works amazingly. When you get on a yoga mat and begin to practice, you are made to deal with everything that comes to you and asked to face it gracefully. In turn, this increases your focus and patience levels, so that you will be able to face the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical challenges at every turn.
2. It Lowers Your Anxiety and Stress
Yoga doesn’t mean that you will heal instantly, but constant practice can help you destress. The simple breathing and moving exercises can help a lot in releasing your tension and anxiety.
Yoga helps in stretching your muscles by relaxing them as most of the stress and tension is stored there. The breathing exercises energize your body by increasing the blood flow, which eventually refreshes your body and mind. The daily practice of yoga makes you aware of the surroundings by making you control your emotions and stress.
“Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.” – Norman Vincent Peale
3. Increase Your Focus
Yoga helps improve your focus through the breathing exercises you do during the yoga postures. It relaxes the body and mind so you can think clearly, and in time build up the ability to concentrate.
Yoga is focused on concentration, breathing, and the alignments. Additionally, yoga’s claimed to bring mental and physical relaxation by energizing the parasympathetic nervous system, and this is the reason why yogis sleep well at night. No wonder they have such a healthy and a stress-free lifestyle.
Real success comes when you use yourself to your full capability. It does not matter what you become, the only thing that matters is that you are living your life to your full potential.
If you want to be successful, then you must see everything just the way it is, without any distortion. Yoga helps you with just that. Through practicing yoga daily, you will start to see the results and live more joyfully.
5. It Boosts Your Health
Mental health affects your work and your physical health. Your physical health can drastically affect your work as it will make you work less and take more time off, which will lead to lined-up pending assignments.
Yoga helps your body with almost every physical problem. Yoga increases your blood flow, oxygen, and improves your circulatory system. All the postures of the Bikram yoga help to improve the flow of fresh and oxygenated blood to every part of the body and mind.
“Move your joints every day. You have to find your own tricks. Bury your mind deep in your heart, and watch the body move by itself.” – Sri Dharma Mittra
6. Gives Mindfulness and Makes You Present
Mindfulness teaches us to become more present at any given moment. It makes us more aware and conscious of our inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, and hence makes us strong enough to control our actions towards situations.
Practicing breathing in yoga teaches you to experience and live each moment to the fullest. Over time, yoga will help you live in a deep sense of fulfillment and inner peace, which will ultimately help you in making the right decision for yourself and your team.
7. Stay Aware and Positive
A yogi tends to have a balanced outlook on life. Yoga sessions of meditations, breathing exercises, and mindfulness will aim at making you conscious and aware of yourself. Additionally, it will open up new possibilities of understanding your true self.
Yoga also aims at making you a positive person, and the effects of yoga are not limited to relaxation after a workout but are exceptionally long-lasting. Yoga makes you attain the attitude of gratitude that helps you identify the brighter side of life.
To achieve success through yoga, you must adapt it into your day to day life because having good health is a basic necessity to live a happy and healthy life and no one but you can keep yourself healthy.
Have you tried yoga? If so, share with us how it’s positively impacted your life below!
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