I’ve been learning about the minimalist lifestyle for nearly a decade now and during that time my life has changed a lot.
Right now I work for myself so I have a lot of flexibility with how I spend my time and energy. Of course, I still have a lot of responsibilities (motherhood and self-employment both keep you busy!) but overall, there’s a lot of breathing room in my everyday life.
I’m so grateful for this space because I know what a gift it truly is. At various times in my life, I’ve been on the other side—working 50, 60, and even 70+ hour weeks just to make ends meet. I’ve done the long commute, I’ve juggled multiple jobs, and I know how it feels to be truly busy and exhausted.
I know that for some of you reading this being busy and exhausted is still your reality. You’re tired and you know you need simplicity in your life but with everything going on, you have no time or energy to get started.
It’s an unfortunate cycle that keeps you stuck, right?
If this sounds familiar, then I wrote this post for you. Here are three practical ways you can start simplifying your life, even without a lot of time or energy to spare.
NO TIME TO DECLUTTER? DO THIS INSTEAD.
Almost every blog post about simple living or minimalism encourages you to start by decluttering. This isn’t bad advice— decluttering will help you simplify your life—BUT if you’re busy focusing on decluttering can actually keep you stuck.
Why? Because even if you break it down into small tasks, at the end of the day it’s still a big job. When you already have a lot on your plate, decluttering (and therefore simplifying your life) often ends up in the “too hard basket”. It becomes something to do one day when you finally have more time.
Of course, the next thing you know weeks, months or even years pass and nothing has changed…
The good news is there is one very important thing you can do right now to simplify your life and it takes no time. In fact, it actually saves you time.
Stop shopping for things you don’t need.
Ultimately making this change is SO much more important than decluttering. It’s not as sexy; I know it’s more exciting to think about a Pinterest-worthy minimalist home! But I promise you if you’re more concerned with how your life feels on the inside than how it looks on the outside, then this is a powerful place to start.
As you learn to be a mindful consumer, you start thinking differently about your stuff. This mindset shift is essential for minimalism and if you take time to nurture it, you will find decluttering so much easier when you finally have the time to tackle it.
LAY THE FOUNDATIONS FOR INTENTIONAL LIVING
Over the years, the biggest lesson I’ve learned about minimalism is that it has less to do with what you own and everything to do with living with intention.
Part of this process involves questioning how your things (everything from your physical possessions to your time commitments) add value to your life.
Why do you do the things you do? Why do you own the things you own? Cultivating the habit of asking these questions is something you can start doing right now—even if you don’t have the time or capacity to follow up with action.
Practice anyway so you can learn more about yourself and why your life is busy and cluttered in the first place:
- Why are you always working late?
- Why do you spend so much time on your phone?
- Why do you own so many clothes?
Admittedly, asking these questions takes a lot of mental energy, something that’s often in short supply when you’re busy! But I promise that it’s worth making the effort. It’s all part of cultivating an intentional mindset and the more you practice the easier it will become.
With time, you’ll develop a better understanding of the root cause of the clutter in your life and this is essential for clearing it. Think of it this way—if you don’t know the cause of your problem then how can you truly go about solving it?
RELATED POST: Why Your Life is Busy and Cluttered (and What to Do About It)
EVERY MINUTE MATTERS
Finally, I know that when we’re busy, it’s easy to convince ourselves that there’s no point in starting small.
“I don’t have time to work out/read/eat healthy/simplify my life right now. I’ll do it later when I have more time.“
I know I’ve said some version of this statement more times than I could possibly count but as James Clear wrote in his book Atomic Habits:
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”
In other words, everything we do matters. If you want to simplify your life don’t be afraid to start small. Even when you’re busy, can you find just five minutes to work towards creating the life you want most?
This might look like unsubscribing from one email, decluttering one T-shirt, or even just spending five minutes sitting in silence.
If you’re not sure where to begin, keep it simple. Look around you— what’s one thing that’s not adding value to your life and how can you let go?
If you have more than five minutes this post has a few other ways you can begin simplifying or you can click here to get a copy of my free decluttering guide—but if all you have is five minutes that’s OK. Start small with any of the ideas in this post I can guarantee you that if you keep showing up it will make a difference.
On the other hand, waiting for the perfect time—when you’re finally less busy—is an almost guaranteed way to put off living your best life.
I know it can be hard but I promise you it’s worth it.
What do you think? Do you have any minimalism tips for busy people? Let us know in the comments! x Jen
6 thoughts on “Practical Minimalism for Busy People”
Sometimes when I get overwhelmed I look at my stuff and just let go of anything that makes me crabby. If my shirt says “your too fat” or if my makeup says “you never wear me, who are you kidding?” Or if my decorations say “I’m just here collecting dust” they are gone. It doesn’t take more than a second to listen to what you think when you see an object and I don’t like rude houseguests!
Most of my busy-ness is self imposed. I have a day job, but very few other true obligations on my time. I find that I use “busy” as an excuse to not be intentional or declutter. When I come home from work tired I “deserve” to spend 30 minutes on facebook. But, if I am truthful with myself, my time is much better spent doing the dishes. A clean, and therefore, calm kitchen makes me feel much better than that 30 minutes of facebook.