The Minimalist Week: 5 Days 5 Ways to Apply Simplicity

November 16th, 2009 § 0 comments

Writing and photography by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter

It’s almost Thanksgiving! Wow, crazy, this year flew by. To clear time for all of the festivities, –so I can spend time with my family during the holidays without constantly thumbing my iPhone,– I’m trying to wrap up as many projects as I can before I can dig into the turkey –or tofurkey, whatever you’re into.

I like to up my dosage of simplicity for the week, when my life is busier than usual.

One way that I do this is by setting daily goals for myself.

Here are five minimalist goals that I have set for myself for the week. I hope they’re helpful to you. If you’re interested, maybe follow along with me. Let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter.

If you apply these daily goals, and they work for you, let me know how it went!

Monday: Start the week with a simple and healthy breakfast.

Beginning your week with a healthy breakfast is so important, I can’t stress this enough. On the days that I skip breakfast and just drink a coffee, I get less accomplished and feel drained. Maybe you’re already doing this, I know I am, but take a moment to consider what you’re eating this morning.

I suggest whole grains, a fruit or two, and some protein. Peanut butter on whole wheat toast, and a banana, could be one option. Another, two eggs, an orange, with whole-bran muffin. Perhaps drink some orange juice with that coffee. Yum! I’m going to be sure to shop on Sunday (tonight, when I’m writing this) so I don’t have to go out to get breakfast.

Tuesday: Take time to think before checking email in the morning.
When you take the time to have 30 minutes to an hour of genuine time to contemplate before you delve into the morning pile of email, the pieces just come together smoother.

I’m really aiming to do take time in the morning more regularly, since the days that I roll out of bed and start tapping my iPhone immediately are always just a little bit more overwhelming. I like to start the day either with yoga, or if I’m not feeling it, just brewing coffee and spending some time waking up before I start working. –I’m a freelancer, so I have no commute. It’s just me and my desk, or me at the coffee shop.

Wednesday: Write a hit-list of work priorities to complete.
Lay out your schedule in a minimal manner, so you know what needs to be done. Isolate yourself and then do these priorities.

I like to take a pad of paper, or Evernote on my iPhone if I can’t find paper, and list the five priorities that I have to knock down during my work day. Instead of meandering through my work day not knowing what I’m doing next, I’ll work on one priority until it’s done. I won’t work on anything until I’ve finished a priority, because that would be splitting my focus and I won’t get as much work done.

Try setting your own priority list. List the five goals you have for a day, and block out the rest of the world. The world can wait, your priorities can’t. Once everything is done on your list tell yourself that you’re done for the day, don’t just keep needlessly busy with tasks that you don’t really care about. Your work day is for getting important priorities done.

Thursday: Take a break from work to study of an unrelated subject.
I like to get away from my work for at least a few hours a day and study something unrelated to the material that I’m working on. Like pick up a book on a subject that interests me, or do some research on a project I’d like to start someday.

On Thursday, after I get my work done, I’m going to be alternating between reading An Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and Permission Marketing by Seth Godin. These are two books that I’ve been dying to read, but haven’t had time. I’m also going to be on a train to Chicago, at this point, so I’ll have a lot of time to do reading.

Make time for your own independent reading and research. It’s important to minimize your work schedule in order to take time to explore subjects that you’re interested in, and have quality time to generate big ideas.

Friday: Check out from work early.
I’ve been reading a lot lately about four day workweeks lately (no, not Four Hour Workweeks, though if you can get there, good luck.) and it seems to be that it might be a good idea to start trying to get all of my work done in four days. Do you think that’s possible?

One aspect of being minimalist, at least as far as I see it, is optimizing your work week for maximum potential.

I’ve observed that a lot of people just go to work, they work eight to ten hours a day, and they just keep busy most of the time. Either that or they’re checking blogs repeatedly every five minutes and hopping back to the spreadsheet when their boss is looking. Have you noticed yourself doing that? I know I did when I was working a full time job. Just getting by, waiting until the day is over.

On Friday I’m going to skip work, if all my work is done.

So on Friday, I’m hoping to have all of my work done for the week.  I’ll just be able to spend time doing what I enjoy. I figure if I work at 100% during the week, I should be able to finish my projects and be ready for the weekend a little bit ahead of time.

I won’t need to do anything. I won’t need to answer emails or calls, because everything will be done. I’ll talk more about my progress, and the steps I’m taking to achieve this, as this blog progresses.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to achieve this, and sometimes goals aren’t achievable.

Maybe you can try it too?


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