Mental Minimalism: Streamline Your Life

Photo by Mihály Köles on Unsplash

In This Post

  • How overcomplicating your life is killing your progress
  • You don’t need anything else to be successful
  • How keeping things simple can lead you to success

Practising minimalism in your physical space feels pretty obvious. But, did you know that you can also practise minimalism mentally? The minimalist approach can be used for your mindset. It can also be helpful for informing the way you approach things, e.g., your productivity. Minimalism emphasises picking the simplest and least complicated options.

Today we will explore how you can simplify your approach to being productive and living a happy life. Feeling overwhelmed by the endless search to find the perfect system, solution or structure? Mental minimalism can help with that. It can even bring you complete mental peace and freedom.

Why Does Overcomplicating Things Suck?

We create a lot of our own suffering. How often have you felt crippled and paralysed by indecision? Or the weight of starting a task? Only to find out that the task wasn’t even that difficult. Nor did it take as much time as you thought. We’ve all been there.

We can create a lot of mental resistance and hesitation for things we think will be challenging, or take a lot of time. These spiralling thoughts and delayed actions often are worse than the task itself. Stress and frustration we could prevent if we were more proactive in the beginning.

Learning to let go of resistance helps make it easier to complete tasks. This is in terms of time and the mental pressure we feel. It also allows us to enjoy the time we have not doing a task. As our free time isn’t filled up with thinking about the task we are currently avoiding. Helping our rest more restful, and our productive time more productive.

It is easier said than done to learn to act in this way. But, simplifying your approach to completing tasks is a good way to lighten up your mental load for the day. This is something that is helpful in your personal life, as well as your professional life.

Simply starting tasks when you need to do them and learning to recognise when you’re procrastinating is especially helpful for this (see here). Simplifying your routine of needing to do something, and actually getting it done can lead to greater productivity levels. But perhaps more importantly, your happiness and peace. Who doesn’t want that?

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You Have Everything You Need to Succeed

We often put off living a better, happier, more productive and more successful life until we have that thing. Whether it’s a new job, new home, or new planner, we as humans often like to say that when our environment changes, or we get a new thing, that’s when our actions and happiness will change.

While that may be true for some things and for a set amount of time, we habituate to our new environments incredibly quickly. That’s why it’s so important to prioritise living the life you want to live right now, rather than on Monday, next month, or next year. 

The likelihood that you need a new computer, phone, home or relationship to feel better and be better is something to question. There will be times when it is true, but many, many times when it is not. Searching for new things to buy to improve your life is a slippery slope that can leave you feeling the exact same. But now with a smaller bank balance, and much more clutter.

Focusing on applying minimalist approaches to your mindset and behaviour in this way helps prevent you from making those impulse purchases that hope to inspire a ‘new you’, but inevitably leave you feeling no different.

Happiness, success, productive working habits etc. are all ways of being, rather than a destination to reach. Think long and hard before making purchases that aim to improve your life. Spending some extra time thinking about things before you buy them ensures that you don’t make purchases that won’t bring you value. And it ensures that the ones you do make, are that extra bit more meaningful when you do finally choose to get them. How exciting!

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Why Are Basic Principles Enough?

Whatever it is you are trying to achieve, it is likely that the basic principles and simplest methods are all you need. Focusing on having a minimal approach to making changes in your life means that you are entirely committed to the core thing that will lead you to your goals.

This stripped-back way of approaching things means that you are much more likely to be effective. Rather than wasting your time with the less effective and less important elements.

Focusing on what is the most effective thing to do, rather than trying to complete the most things, is a good way to stay on track in general. But especially if your time is limited (whose isn’t?). It is this minimalist approach and avoidance of seeking out new, often material, things to inspire new motivation that will ensure your productivity, happiness and success are long-lasting. Everything you need to be successful is already within you. You just need to believe in yourself.

To Put it Minimally

  • Having too much in your life, physically and mentally, can cause you to be distracted, overwhelmed and ruin your chances of progress, happiness and success
  • Everything you need to be happy and successful is already inside of you – you don’t need to buy a new thing, move to a new place, or get a new job to start feeling happy and making progress in your life
  • Keeping things simple, your systems, your belongings, etc. can all help you stay focused on the meaningful things, and distraction-free