minimalism is bad (but only if you do it wrong)


Note: This essay has been edited from its original format as an academic assignment. I thought it fit for my blog. All citations are below – because this was written for a class, they are in MLA.

Imagine for a moment that you make a six figure salary. You can afford five-dollar lattes, designer clothes, and a half-a-million dollar home. Do you feel happy? Maybe not. Keeping up with material demands creates guilt, shame, and anger. You join a machine you didn’t design, and you wake up regretting it. With no other option, you choose minimalism. You give up the
pursuit of stuff and accept the pursuit of life. This shows why people find minimalism so attractive. Creator of “The Minimalists” Joshua Fields Millburn decided not to take part in a corporate setting. “I realized working 60–80 hours a week to make the money to buy more superfluous stuff didn’t fill the void I felt inside. It only brought more debt and anxiety and fear
and loneliness and guilt and stress and paranoia and depression” (Millburn). A minimalist lifestyle improves financial stability, increases emotional well-being, and contributes to healthy habits.

Picture it: you can’t deal with the mess in the house. You break down and decide to go through the closets, kitchen cabinets, couch cushions, and basement shelves. You might get tired, but the reward of decluttering goes beyond having a clean house. When decluttering, you can find lost things, save money by not needing to re-purchase found items, and make money by renting extra space or selling items you don’t need (“The Psychological”). You can sell found items or bring them to second-hand stores. Selling items like furniture or baby gear takes time, but it blesses someone else (“The Psychological”). Not only does living with less reward you, but for many, it offers a sense of financial freedom.


One blogger who desires to reach financial independence asked an intriguing question. “What if you had nothing? How much simpler would life be? Nothing to clean, nothing to fix, nothing to solve. Just you and your time to do whatever you want. How much more time would you have to pursue your dreams?” (route2fi). Some might gasp at eliminating responsibility and ownership. Have you ever heard a homeless person say they like homelessness? Someone in a comfortable $300,000 home might not fathom that. It may seem far-fetched to live with nothing, but people do it. Imagine what could happen if all your belongings sat secured in one backpack. With fewer bills to pay and less worry about debt, you might find more time to focus on the things that matter.


The possibility of feeling fulfilled while living with less may surprise some, but route2fi agrees. He said he traveled to places where the villagers seemed happy, even while living on $3 a day (route2fi). People below the poverty line often feel more joy than a person making six figures. These people live happy lives because they get what they need. That makes common American complaints like your McDonald’s order taking too long seem ridiculous. If someone with so little can experience joy, why can’t we?

When trying to see this joyful quality of minimalism, some try to create it by purchasing new items. Buying more to look like you own less doesn’t make sense. New minimalists make this huge mistake often — they throw out all their clothes and go out and buy a whole new set that looks more minimal. How about wearing clothes that make you feel confident and comfortable, which you already own? “Reducing a wardrobe down to a few painfully elegant cashmere-cotton blend tops is only really possible if you can put down at least $1,000 in one go for the creation of your ‘capsule wardrobe’” (Fagan). Americans started 2019 with over $1 trillion in debt, and the average American household in 2020 carries $9,000 in credit card debt (Comoreanu). Our culture perpetuates wasting money. To see how, visit this infographic to see how a person could spend 8 ½ years of their lives shopping (“Why We Need”).


Not only does materialism damage your wallet, but “people scoring high on materialism are more prone to compare themselves to wealthier others, this may lead to envy and a sense of inequity and anger, which also leads to diminished life satisfaction and happiness” (Lee, Michael S. W., and Christie Seo Youn Ahn). Retail therapy? It doesn’t work, at least not for long. The
idea of purchasing something seems more attractive than the purchase. Buying stuff doesn’t make us happy. Often, we buy things because someone else did. Keeping up with the Joneses never ends — consumerism makes us insatiable.

Only the rich can afford this much nothing.
“Only the rich can afford this much nothing.” Cartoon by Mick Stevens.


As human beings, most of us want to stay in a positive emotional state. That desire to achieve true happiness can become entangled with the desire to compare. In his New Yorker cartoon, “Only the rich can afford this much nothing,” artist Mick Stevens illustrates that desire well. You don’t need to buy minimalism: how counter-intuitive. Minimalism encourages contentment with current possessions. People will get rid of their stuff to buy designer stuff, replacing it and showing Instagram. Even if they feel like minimalists, they take part in hidden consumerism. They still keep up with the next guy. The minimalism decor trend became so pricey and fancy that people with low income think they can’t participate— but minimalist
Sophie Handy said in an interview that she sees this in a different light.

On her minimalist journey, “I realized that material goods just made me worry more. I have learnt to let things go. Things are to be used, and if they break, it’s okay, you can let go” (Handy). Letting go of objects clears the mind of clutter and lets you breathe easier. Think of commitments to clubs, events, responsibilities… Now imagine that every time you decide to own
an object, you make a similar commitment with your mental and physical space. Letting go of useless things alleviates stress and commitment, leaving space for more important things.


Now, anyone new to this lifestyle might make a few common mistakes. Youheum of Heal Your Living said (in this podcast episode) to focus on emotional as well as physical clutter — she believes that emotional change makes minimalism valuable (Heal Your Living). Our mental health declines when we do anything for the wrong reason, and that includes throwing out
everything you own because you feel like you should. If you want to become a minimalist for the right reasons, then make sure you aren’t throwing out the wrong pieces of yourself for the sake of
looking good.


So, is minimalism anti-materialism? In my interview with Sophie Handy, she said, “Minimalism is an anti-capitalistic way of life. It’s about making good with what you’ve got, not buying more, hoarding more just because this is today’s norm” (Handy). Handy chooses to avoid the status quo because minimalism helps you appreciate the things you own without adding more. Buying something because it makes us look better has nothing to do with our desire to own it and everything to do with our desire to appear put together. However, no one with incessant desire feels put together. Minimalism teaches you to practice joy, not hunt for it, because consumerism causes an addiction to discontentment.


Like any addiction, quitting consumerism requires a replacement. Quitting alcohol cold turkey without a replacement habit might lead an alcoholic back to the bottle. Replacing time spent drinking with an evening workout or a good book helps curb the habit. Joshua Fields Millburn, for example, “developed new habits I love, habits I look forward to each day, habits that make me happy: exercise, writing, reading, establishing new connections with people, and building upon existing relationships” (Millburn).


As with any lifestyle, minimalism receives misconceptions. Chelsea Fagan of The Guardian complains, “The hyper-curated minimalism really only conveys one thing: ‘I wanted to take the very safest route to chic, cut away every possible misstep or risk . . . Time to reduce my look even further until literally every item I purchase tells people I could get something more
interesting, but I have enough money to choose not to’” (Fagan). The author overlooks the key point: mindset, not glamour. A marble kitchen counter with one container of the finest bamboo utensils and a Bath & Body Works candle doesn’t define minimalism. It describes a decor choice. Home decor stores capitalized off of a movement that wanted to refuse capitalism. They’ve said, “Oh, the public wants crisp white walls and a single plant for decoration? We’ll sell it to them. Make the white paint expensive. Make the plants hard to find.”


Back to Fagan’s criticism — the media provides only a brief expectation on how minimalism should look. “The premise of minimalism in this way is very vague, and ever-shifting to accommodate the tastes and stomach for consistency of the individual practitioner, but the overall theory is the same: by paring your life down as actively as possible, you are almost
guaranteed to appreciate what remains more” (Fagan). Fagan gets it right here. Minimalism doesn’t need rules. You don’t need a fancy magazine or influencer to tell you that, although it might help to poke around those resources. No one expects that you’ll uncover a magical life change after “converting” or whatever. It’s a lifestyle, the way some people drive a Jeep and some drive a Honda.


Minimalists fall into different categories, but there sits a fine line between avoiding wasteful consumerism and appearing on Survivor (Lee, Michael S. W., and Christie Seo Youn Ahn). When people first hear about minimalism, they assume it means maintaining a set number of items. A true minimalist doesn’t necessarily maintain a set number of objects . . . at least, no one made a Minimalism Bible. So many discrepancies exist about what defines “minimalist enough” that many try not to define it. You may not want furniture — some appreciate a dining room table or a bed or a chair. Forget the right and wrong here: focus on intentionality.


At its heart, minimalist design does not equate to a minimalist lifestyle (Heal Your Living). What a silly way to look at something! If you look at photos of a courtroom, does that make you want to practice law? No. If you look at a veggie dog, does that make you want to eat vegetarian? No — and frankly, as a vegetarian, I don’t want to eat a veggie dog. To know if you
want something, you can’t just look at a few sparse living rooms. You must ask yourself what makes the most sense for you.

Focusing on feeling rich rather than being rich may seem hard for some, but it can happen (route2fi). Joshua Fields Millburn said that although his life may appear more fulfilling, “We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all have one life to live, and that life is passing by one day at a time. The only real difference lies within the decisions we make and the actions we take” (Millburn). We owe it to ourselves to look at our lives, decide what we want, and decide our priorities. Minimalism can decrease financial troubles and help the world feel a little bit healthier… and a whole lot happier. So do you want stuff? Or life?

Sources:

Comoreanu, Alina. “Credit Card Debt Study: Trends & Insights.” WalletHub, 9 Mar. 2020, wallethub.com/edu/cc/credit-card-debt-study/24400/.


Fagan, Chelsea. “Minimalism: Another Boring Product Wealthy People Can Buy.” The
Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 4 Mar. 2017, www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/mar/04/minimalism-conspicuous-consumption-class.


Handy, Sophie. Email interview. 7 Mar. 2020.


Heal Your Living, producer. “Why You Struggle with Minimalism and How to Move Forward.” Heal Your Living Podcast | Mindfulness, Sustainability, Minimalism & Wellness, episode 001, Spotify, 26 Jan. 2019, open.spotify.com/episode/1FMba3ZBK33yxJHP0FtgF6si=3jUA44BVTxmWgwCLKxySnQ. Accessed 6 Mar. 2020.


Lee, Michael S. W., and Christie Seo Youn Ahn. “Anti-Consumption, Materialism, and Consumer Well-Being.” Journal of Consumer Affairs, vol. 50, no. 1, Spring 2016, pp. 18–47. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/joca.12089.


Millburn, Joshua Fields. “A Day in the Life of a Minimalist.” The Minimalists, The Minimalists, 24 Sept. 2019, www.theminimalists.com/aditl/.


route2fi. “How Minimalism Changed My Life And Saved Me Tons Of Money.” Route 2 FI, 14 July 2019, www.route2fi.com/lesson-to-myself-part-ii-why-minimalism-changed-my-life-and-saved-me-tons-of-money/.


Stevens, Mick. “Only the rich can afford this much nothing.” New Yorker, Condé Nast, www.newyorker.com/cartoon/a15618. Accessed 6 Mar. 2020. Cartoon.


“The Psychological Benefits behind an Organized Space.” YouTube, uploaded by Cityline, 15
Mar. 2009, www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JrFV1sd8CQ&list=PLcQmKKeEbHsz1LCRombOS6kQM2Wck2qCk&index=44. Accessed 6 Mar. 2020.


“Why We Need to Live with Less [Infographic].” MNN.com, NARRATIVE CONTENT GROUP, 8 Nov. 2013, www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/stories/why-we-need-to-live-with-less-infographic. Accessed 15 Apr. 2020. Infographic.

wintertime: digital minimalism


Social media is such an easy way to hide in our shells and pretend we’re close to our friends and family during the winter. At family gatherings, it’s easy to ignore the awkward silence that comes (because we don’t know how to make conversation) and stare at a video game.

When we wake up in the morning and don’t feel like getting up, the little portable device on our bedside table can distract us and convince us to stay in bed. It’s cold, it’s dark, and it’s easy to stay cuddled up with a Netflix episode… but that’s just not practical, nor is it healthy.

Sitting with our devices prevents us from getting sunlight, exercise, social interaction, and motivation. So how about, this winter, we take a minimalist approach?

back atcha with the list format: six ways you can reduce screen time

  1. Change your phone setup: This has been the easiest one for me. It’s a lot easier to stay off my phone if my phone tells me to put it down: my lock screen literally says so. “Put the phone down.” If that’s not a deterrent, then we go to phase two: the minimalist home screen. I have an app called “a decluttered launcher – minimalism & productivity,” which is still in its beta testing, but the launcher allows you a total of 6 home screen apps, Google search, and a swipe feature to search for any other apps. When I open my phone and see only Gmail, Messages, Spotify, and Notes, I’m going to quickly find what I need and lock the screen again.
  2. Have a place for your electronics: You can’t be tempted to use them if you don’t see them! This is a seemingly obvious but fool-proof trick. If you carry a purse, backpack, or just have big pockets, you can slip your distracting device into a specific spot. Sounds stupid, right? But as long as you don’t have it in your hand, you’re not going to think about opening the lock screen every two seconds.
  3. Turn off notifications: *ring ring* Yep, we all know that noise. And it makes our ears perk up. “Oh, did [insert name here] send me a Snapchat?” It’s monotonous! And don’t even get me started about emails. I’m not proud of this, but yes, I have six email accounts. Six! Is that even necessary? Probably not, but I do use them all. Gosh, I probably get fifty emails a day, minimum. In the working world, there’s a lot of information to be passed around. Can you imagine getting a notification every time you got an email? I did it for a while, and that’s fifty-plus times I was checking my phone every day. But that was only for email. Turn them off.
  4. Set a time to check your socials: This goes for email as well. When you’re sitting in line for McDonald’s, waiting for a movie, or letting your dinner heat up, what do you turn to? That rectangle in your pocket. This is a new idea! Have a set time every day that you check your social media. For me, I allow a thirty-minute window. It doesn’t sound like much (given how much we scroll throughout the day), but all you need to do is see what your friends are posting, respond, and make your own posts. You don’t need to catch up with the Jenners or yell at a heckler on Twitter. Social media should be a tool that inspires you, not tires you. Set a time, and don’t scroll aimlessly before or after that time.
  5. Get really, really bored: Boredom is a recipe for creativity. Get SUPER bored! Lock your electronics in a vault. Give it to a friend (with a passcode if you must). Use an app like Forest, which doesn’t let you use your phone while you plant a tree. Bury it in the ground! Whatever gets you away from the darn thing. Your mind, when deprived of entertainment devices, forces itself to find new things on which to focus. When the apps and games and distractions are gone, where does your mind wander? Mine tends to move toward writing, music, and physical activity. Think of it as an experiment!
  6. Don’t deprive yourself of fun: Sometimes, what we need is some good old-fashioned FUN! What do you love to do? I like rollercoasters, bike rides and hikes, cooking, dancing, exploring the city… You gotta figure out what inspires you. What makes you want to put your phone down? What whispers to you? Maybe you want to serve at a local shelter or childcare center. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try stand-up comedy. Maybe, you and your college roommate haven’t caught up in a while. Just have some fun! We spend so much time in life stressing out and trying to get ahead. Take one moment for yourself to enjoy living.

There you have it! Six small things that, when used, can hopefully help you limit your screen time. Are you going to try these? Let me know in the comments! And a friendly reminder, you can get my posts straight to your inbox (when you do check your email) by signing up in the menu bars above! Have an awesome day.

-ellynn ❤

digital minimalism.


In a world caught in the hustle and bustle of “I have to do this NOW,” it’s so easy to let clutter accumulate everywhere in our lives. I’m not just talking about your laundry, the dishes, coffee cups in your car console… I’m talking about digital clutter. Mental clutter.

How long do you spend deleting emails? Wouldn’t it be so much better if you just hit unsubscribe? What sort of posts do you see on your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat/(TikTok???) feed that you wish weren’t there? Why don’t we unfollow them? It’s hard. That’s why.

Nobody realizes it — a follow here, a like there — how quickly we can add to our mental clutter. “Oh, I get a [coupon, special offer, ebook, download] if I sign up for this mailing list!” Easy as pie. But then they just keep sending you stuff. I have emails in my inbox that sometimes, I have no idea how they got there.

The advertisements, junk mail, YouTube links, business cards. I’m tired of it! Because the good stuff, the really good stuff that I actually want to see/hear/read gets lost in the pile of crap and marketing. My mind gets so jumbled up that I’m not sure what I even want in my inbox. So how do we stop this? I made another list thing.

  1. Unfollow, Unfriend: You don’t have to do this all at once. In fact, I don’t recommend you spend hours scrolling through your subscriptions, followings, lists… Simply try this. When you see something you don’t like, get it out of your sight. Make it so that you don’t come across it again.
  2. Decide What You Want: What inspires you? What is your brand? What do you agree with? What challenges you? Answering these questions are so important because they’re the deciding factor in what media you’re taking in.
  3. Find Stuff You Like: After you consider number 2, you can go out and carefully seek the information and media you want to absorb. This is when you find content that’s good for you. The amazing part is, you can curate your emails! You can choose how your Instagram feed looks! You just have to do so thoughtfully.
  4. Take a Break: Seriously. Put down the electronics, the magazines, the junk mail. Step away from it for a while.
  5. Let It Out: Our brains can harbor all sorts of thoughts, gathered from the mass jumble of jargon spewed at us 24/7. Make a big list of what’s in your brain. On one page, write down everything you’re thinking of. Examine the list. Is any of this useful? Circle it and figure out what to do with those thoughts. The rest? Cross it off.

Of course, nothing is ever as simple as getting rid of it for good. You will likely need to make this a habit every six months, or every week, depending on how popular you are. 😉

Happy cleansing.

-ellynn

minimalism update.


I talked about minimalism a bit ago and why I made some changes, so I think it’s time I cover it again!

Christmas and birthdays have come and gone, so I’ve ended up with a lot of stuff. Which is okay, because people are very thoughtful to consider me and be generous with gifts. I’m very thankful that there are people in my life who are so giving.

That being said, the things I have recieved are valuable to me. At first I panicked, thinking I was a “bad minimalist” by accepting gifts, but that’s not the case at all! When something adds value to your life, it’s not bad minimalism. It’s a purposeful use of space. It’s a positive addition to the things you own.

We moved recently, and unexpectedly, but I found that doing so helped me get rid of a lot of unwanted, non-useful junk. I had furniture in my room that was never used. I had loads of craft supplies that I never touched. I had yearbooks and artwork and a stencil set and a lamp and just… so many things I never needed in the first place. Things I kept because I simply could.

When we moved, I left about half of the things I owned behind, only keeping the stuff that really mattered. My precious (perhaps obsessive?) notebook and pen collection, camera equipment, books, mugs, clothes I liked. Souvenirs that were special to me.

You see, what I’ve learned from minimalism is that you get better at discerning what adds value over time. You start to value what you own more, and you use those things more because you do value them. And if you slip up and buy something stupid you don’t need or even want in the first place, you get better at knowing how to find it a new home and let it go.

Traveling is so much easier! I used to go on trips and bring a huge bag or even two, put all this stuff in it, not use half of it, and come home with more than I left with. Now, I take the same small suitcase with only one section for clothes, zip it up no problem, with room for a souvenir or two that I’ll actually use. Unless I don’t plan to spend! And that’s okay! I find that I enjoy going to the mall or farmer’s market or a festival without buying anything. Saving money is a lot easier when you’re consciously trying to reduce your material goods, especially when you don’t take money with you everywhere you go!

Also, life is so much richer without so much stuff. What I mean is that I’m not so much focused on what I have, but what I am doing. And that is the most precious value of all: the value of spending one’s time.

Comment one object you own that you value and tell me why.

– rachel ❤

putting your clothes in limbo.


I wanted to find a new way of saying “capsule wardrobe” because, in the minimalist world, that phrase is tired out. But I couldn’t find one, so I made one. It’s called the clothing limbo. Not like limbo as in *leans back and walks under bar* but as in *waiting in space and doing nothing*.

So the point of “clothing limbo” is to only keep your clothes there for a short amount of time. For example, a season or trip. Only the items you need are important. I thought I’d share my own personal limbo with you to give you a sense of what I’m talking about. So without further ado, here we are!

Colors: The colors I’ll be including in my closet limbo are:

  • black
  • white
  • brown
  • gray
  • navy
  • army green
  • blush pink
  • sky blue
  • denim
  • beige
  • mauve

By maintaining a color scheme for my ENTIRE wardrobe, it makes things easy to mix and match. Most of these colors go well together, which makes every item of clothing cohesive as a group. I can step back and look at my whole closet and say, “ahhhh, it’s obvious what I’m going to wear.” Or at least, that’s the hope.

Staples: The types of clothes I will always wear no matter what which are my style:

  • jeans (my favorite uniform)
  • tank tops
  • jackets (denim, leather, canvas, and hoodie variety)
  • sweaters
  • plain tees
  • skirts
  • underclothes (obviously)
  • yoga pants/leggings
  • flip flops
  • sneakers
  • boots
  • dress shoes

By having those items you’re always comfortable in, you can decide how to create a style of clothes that fit you and your lifestyle. Try to have pieces you can dress up or down, like t-shirts, skirts, and boots. Always wear quality over brand or quantity, and always make sure everything you wear makes you feel AMAZING. Not okay or good, AMAZING.

Seasonals: These are just the things that you need for certain seasons. Kind of the “extra” section.

  • coats
  • shoes
  • hats
  • swimwear
  • active wear
  • scarves
  • gloves
  • warmers

No-Nos: Dudes, there are just some things you HATE or that should never be in your arsenal of outfits. Some can be personal, but there are some obvious ones, too. My personal list is:

  • yellow, orange, red, and purple (not my colors)
  • all-black outfits (makes me feel depressed)
  • logos (no plugs)
  • crazy patterns (don’t match)
  • loud (again, don’t match)

Things I think should be on everyone’s list:

  • torn
  • too tight or loose
  • non-layerable or non-matchable items
  • scratchy or uncomfortable fabric
  • flimsy/bad quality fabric

Yes Please: This is the opposite of the previous section.

For me:

  • muted tones
  • cohesive
  • plain and simple

For everyone:

  • quality
  • comfort
  • well-fitting
  • can dress up or down
  • flattering
  • make you happy

Now this has been really long, but I also wanted to mention everything I’ve decided to include in my capsule wardrobe over the summer. Not everything in my limbo wardrobe (the stuff I’m not using) because I don’t think that’s useful. I’ll be on trips that require some work and a lot of walking/exercise, so I’m not packing many dress clothes. I don’t like dressing up anyway.

Tops:

  • denim jacket
  • black tee
  • sky blue tee
  • black cami
  • white tee
  • army green tank
  • white cami
  • patterned black-and-white tank
  • army green canvas jacket
  • graphic space tank
  • one sweater (haven’t decided yet, likely my white one)
  • black button down
  • long sleeve navy shirt
  • gray tee
  • flannel shirt

Bottoms:

  • two pairs black shorts
  • black flowy skirt
  • overall shorts
  • purple lightweight shorts
  • black skinnies
  • blue skinnies
  • gray skinnies
  • light wash jeans
  • black leggings
  • pattern leggings
  • black/pattern capri pants

Shoes:

  • black and white flip flops
  • hiking boots
  • tennis shoes
  • dress sandals
  • dress flats
  • off-white converse high tops (my no-logo exception)
  • black heels
  • dress boots

Other:

  • white ball cap
  • work gloves
  • swimsuit
  • sunglasses
  • one dress

So this post has been probably the longest I’ve made thus far, but I think you guys deserve it because of the two weeks I took off! Let me know your thoughts below!

-wednesday ❤

the art of one at a time.


This world. Everything always in motion. My fingers moving far too quickly on the keyboard for me to type everything properly. I had seven typos just in that sentence alone because my fingers were shaking, high on caffeine. I sit not in silence as I type but with music blasting. Good music, but still. Not focus music. This is the first alone time I’ve had all day, and I’m using it to make noise. You’d think I’d learn. But no, I know that at night, I’ll have silence. Most people don’t like that, but my idea is that the day is for noise and the night is for quiet. Night owls don’t always hoo.

My entry today is more of a rant-style, journalism thing. I’ve been needing some peace in my life recently with finals and summer plans bombarding me. It’s almost my birthday and my life is everywhere. I need some single-tasking to get me on track.

This whole world is like one huge multitasker. It’s brilliant, really, how we can read a book and text our friend while we make dinner and listen to Frank Sinatra. Amazing. But there’s one issue… Doesn’t reading that give you a headache? It does for me. I start holding my breath when I read that. Like ohmygosh, everything is crazy and insane. When I have fifteen projects (exaggeration) to do, my instinct is to finish them all at once. But honey, that just isn’t realistic! Take your time. Separate.

Bullet journaling is good for this. I am able to get a lot done because it’s in front of me. A lot of work at the beginning of the month setting everything up and planning it out means that the only work I have to do during the week is the actual hard work. The studying, the cleaning, the practicing. When everything is everywhere and you’re not sure where to start, that’s where we go crazy. That’s where everything is upside-down.

Do you ever see a huge to-do list and try to get multiple things done at a time? “Hmm, okay so I need to do that phone call at three. I can respond to emails while I do that, and get dinner fixed too.” Before you know it, you’re writing a recipe to your correspondents and chatting with your client about the next research project at work. What? Since when in this world have we been able to multitask? Since when, as human beings, have we had the ability to separate our minds into three parts and function properly in all areas? Never. And we never will be able to.

Here’s the science. When you do multiple things, you don’t think about them all at once. Your brain switches back and forth to each one simultaneously and you process nothing completely. That’s why studying while you catch up on Stranger Things isn’t going to work. Sorry, guys. Maybe you disagree with me, you can watch TV while you study. Cool! That’s your background. Nice. But what if that bop comes on that always makes you want to dance? That’s your distraction. Find the things that keep you focused and save your distractions for break time.

I simply CANNOT have any type of hip-hop or lyrical music on when I study. Why? Because I’ll get up and dance. OR I’ll start singing. And doing either of those things make me lose focus, so I leave that for when I’m doing my exercise for the day or I need to relax. Right now I’m listening to some pop music to get me in the vibe. Any other time it would be something I actually enjoy, but because I’m not a huge fan of this genre, I’m not tempted to jam out. I’d also recommend some white noise or new age sounds. Either of those will help.

But I’m telling you! If you have something marked “study for test,” you’ll attempt to make flashcards, do a mind map, and rewrite your notes at the same time. So please, just take it one thing at a time. Set a pomodoro timer if you need, (25 min on, 5 off) if it helps, and switch between tasks that way. I’m the kind of person who likes to get into the flow of a project and just keep going until it’s done. Only then do I take a break. (Breaks are another thing I’ll cover soon!)

If you guys have any questions, PLEASE ask. I have people tell me that “I wanted to ask you this but…” No! Do it. I love answering any questions my readers have. Let me know if you liked this format better than the list or category format I normally do. I’m just a stepwise motion type of person.

-Wednesday ❤

why i’m a minimalist.


I hear this question a lot: “what is your why?” I didn’t understand how to answer that for quite some time. Now, it’s all I ever talk about. Why I chose to bullet journal. Why I love my friends. Why, why, why? It’s our driving force, isn’t it? We go to work for a reason. Maybe that’s because we’re trying to make money. Maybe it’s because we were told to do something with that degree. But wasn’t the goal long ago to do something we loved? That’s my goal at least. I want to walk into work (whatever or wherever that might be) and feel invigorated. I want to be ready for productivity the moment I step into the work zone. So what’s my why for minimalism?

Well, I want to feel free, plain and simple. Growing up in a rather messy household of six people, I always felt cramped and trapped. I was a clean freak, always doing chores and redecorating and lighting candles to…freshen up the space? Cleanse the aura of the house? I just wanted the rooms to feel like anything but what they did. My space never felt quite clean enough, and today I know why. It wasn’t that I couldn’t clean enough, it was that I was cleaning too much. There were too many things to keep in order.

So like any excited, sudden minimalist, I threw out half of my stuff and started over. Kind of. Well, I tossed out all the trash. And I felt better. The more I got rid of, the less I wanted things. And that felt beautiful. You know they tell you that you have more time, and you do. I have a small toiletry bag of things I use daily, even at home. So should I need to leave, I can pack it whenever, wherever. I know exactly what goes in my back each day. I have limited what gets placed on my surfaces so that I know it’s all being used. Anything that isn’t is wasting space.

So back to my “why.” I am a minimalist because I want to feel like I am not held down by physical constraints…those constraints being tangible objects which do not bring me happiness. And to this day, it makes me ten times happier.