I’ve had something on my mind a lot the past few months.
That is minimalism and moving toward it; toward a more minimalistic life.
I’ve had so many signs, nudges, coming into my life about minimalism, decluttering, and all that kind of stuff. Obvious signs have popped up lately really amplifying this theme, driving home how important simplicity needs to be for me in my life. And I think that it’s kind of significant for everybody.
There’s a lot of stuff – a lot of clutter – and a lot of excess in our lives, and I think that we can all benefit tremendously from reducing – minimalizing – and finding what we truly value. Then in return experiencing more space and clarity.
First off the bat, I want to let you know about 3 websites which I love that keep me on track along a simpler path. We’re bombarded with pressure through the media with likes, follows, more and more articles to read, and also trying to keep up and post stuff ourselves. There are 3 websites I love checking out regularly, and whom I allow some personal space in my inbox! I signed up to their mailing lists, and I always get something out of my subscription when I receive an update.
1. Zen Habits. A black and white, super stripped-back, bare website, produced by a very down to earth guy from the U.S, Leo Babuta. He has an amazing offering, called the Sea Change Program – focusing on and actioning one thing per month, to overhaul your whole life in different areas and in different ways. You’re challenging all facets of yourself and your daily living, which is immensely beneficial.
2. The Minimalists. As soon as I discovered all their content I was hooked. Their blog posts are short, sweet, succinct, and super powerful. Their writing reflects real life, real challenges. I’ve enjoyed The Minimalists Instagram challenges also. They certainly bring a fresh perspective to lightening the load in daily life.
3. Alexandra Franzen. She’s a writer, who has got herself completely off social media altogether – yet with a thriving business! She made the move to get off every form of social media. And, that’s it. She only has her website and a mailing list. And, she’s got this incredibly thriving business. She speaks a lot indirectly to a minimalistic inspired life in her emails. I love them – jam packed with great content and references, and super actionable.
So there’s my top 3 sites – Zen Habits, The Minimalists, and Alexandra Franzen.
And then of course there is a gem of a book, which has become pretty infamous for this subject, and that is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The book is based upon the Japanese art of ‘tidying up’. Authored by Marie Kondo. She’s amazing. She’s on Instagram and you can actually tidy up WITH her. All with weekly themes and focuses. The book is available in PDF/kindle format as well as the hard copy.
I do this every 6 months (at least), which I think is the fastest way to have a sort of digital purge. Drum roll please….. Introducing, Unroll Me.
Jump onto the website, punch in your email address, and voila! It basically scans your entire email system and it shows you how many email lists you are on – and if you’re new to unsubscribing, then you’ll find a ton of mailing lists you’re subscribed to, whether or not you realised it!
Note – Whenever you sign up to a competition or the like, you also get into the database system of a lot of other companies due to their terms and conditions (hello fine print!).
I head to Unroll.Me every 6 months and I usually wipe out about 90 percent of who I am signed up with. I invite you to jump onto this asap. You’ll be really blown away. If you have multiple email accounts, hit them all up baby! I have 3 email accounts – a personal one, a business one, and an old one under my maiden name. Last time I checked a couple of months ago I had 270 subscriptions on one address, and this is even after doing a clear out on the website 6 months prior to that. Crazy!
Unroll.Me is the fastest way to unsubscribe from all the junk and the stuff you don’t want to be signed up to. It’s super fast and so easy. I don’t know why anyone would NOT do it. So go ahead, and punch in every email account you have, get in there and cleanse those bad boys out!
I have a personal Facebook account and I have a business page. I rarely use my personal account anymore, except for interacting within a small number of groups (notifications off!). I don’t regularly post stuff on my personal account – no photos, no status updates, or anything like that. It’s just sitting there. All my old photo albums are private (that’s my past life!). You can’t see anything that anyone’s tagged me in. I’ve made it super streamlined (as much as Facebook allows).
With this in mind, I realised it was almost pointless having this personal account. So I set up a ghost account and authorised access to my business page, so that when I want to access the page I don’t NEED to log onto my personal account because… it’s distracting, as I’m sure you can appreciate. I don’t know if you find that your newsfeed is exceptionally distracting? I’m pretty sure you do. So, I often log in through my dummy account to access my business page only.
However, not everyone has a business page (nor a need for one). Yet what is likely more relevant to all is that I also deleted approximately 3500 ‘friends’ who were on my personal account.
Needless to say, I don’t have over 3500 friends, so I hopefully don’t need to validate why I did that.
Over the years I got sucked into the vortex of saying yes to people that I used to go to primary school and high school with, but the truth is that I don’t see them in person ever, and my life has changed a lot since then. I’m a different person to who I was 10 years ago and my life is very different. My priorities are different. And even many people whom I worked with 5 to 10 years ago I don’t have anything to do with anymore and we don’t really have things in common. And, that’s OK.
This is empowering. I want to take myself off other people’s friends lists as well. I feel I’m essentially decluttering for these ‘friends’ too. It’s like doing them a favour – cutting ties, letting go, releasing, and creating new space.
So, I deleted 3500 friends. Then a couple of months after that I deleted another 300.
The original addictive hook was that I’d been accepting friend requests from other unknown* yogis (*want to get to know me? Send me an email, invite me for a cuppa, lets really get to know each other in the flesh). I had also wanted to connect with other senior teachers and leaders within the global yoga community, even though I had not met them before. But after some time I realised it just wasn’t worth it. And now? I follow their business pages, because if I really love them and what they do, and want to know what they’re up to, I follow their business pages.
Here is my insider secret.
Facebook makes it really hard to delete your friends list en masse. But, there’s a way around it. You have to clear the people on your friends list using your phone. Not on a laptop or a computer. The method on a computer is so, so slow, due to the desktop version of Facebook.
Imagine this… you go onto your friends list, then you have to click on the specific profile of the person you want to unfriend. The site then has to load their profile. Then you go up to the box, click the drop down menu, and unfriend them. Then it reloads the page and takes you back to your newsfeed, and then you have to go back to your friends list… And this goes on and on and on. Phew. That’s the method on your computer. Beyond mind numbing.
Imagine if I did that for over 3800 people?
When you go onto your friends list via the app on your phone, it simply says unfriend next to each name, so you can go down the list quickly one at a time. Now, deleting friends sounds like a horrible thing to do. It can feel horrible and heartless. Even the words unfriend and delete sound terrible, but it’s not to be done with that intention (not in my case anyhow). My intent the whole time has been to let others get on with their life, and I’m going to also get on with my life, and it’s as simple as that. Remember – life (and friendships) flowed before Facebook.
Please don’t get me wrong. Facebook has been a huge catalyst for me making wonderful connections with a handful of legendary people, whilst also staying in touch with family and close friends overseas. It’s been a wonderful tool for me to share what I love en masse and spread my message. For these reasons I love it, and it’s really useful for me (and many others) as a business tool. But in reality, in many cases it’s just a massive distraction. Right?
I’d prefer connect with you over the phone, in person, or even over email if it has to be online. I love to stay friends on Facebook with the people I don’t get to see very often (because they’re living abroad, or far away). My husband’s family is overseas and my sister lives away, so for that reason it is useful. But that’s it. Otherwise, it’s getting less and less essential and important.
Bonus insider info – If you’re hooked up with the Google Chrome web browser (and if not, you can download it online), you can connect with the “Facebook News Feed Eradicator” application. When using Google Chrome and the app is active, then anytime you log into Facebook you cannot see anything on your newsfeed, except for an epic and inspirational quote, such as:
“Someday is not a day of the week.” – Author Unknown
“Procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.” – Christopher Parker
Even before I cleansed my online Facebook experience, I felt the call to start unfollowing (almost) everyone on Instagram. This was because I was getting distracted by it (surprise!), and this was a really liberating choice. Often I found myself dropping into comparisonitis. Which is never a healthy thing. It was a very clear indication I needed to step away a little. I recall hearing an inspirational speaker once suggest that we should “unfollow anyone and everyone in our own field or industry – for the reason that we will almost always compare, and will feel like we need to do what they’re doing, rather than clearing space in our own lives to figure out AND actually follow through on the things that our heart yearns for.” YES.
So I want to encourage you to go ahead and do it if you feel you might need to do. If you ever feel comparisonitis in your bones, or you just need to clear space for a while, then unfollow, unfollow, unfollow.
After a bit of time and space I found myself following more people again – but with a fresher perspective. I followed people who were aligned with me, rather than in the same field as me. Or, otherwise I followed people who were in the same field that brought me genuine joy, inspiration, and connection. I often unfollow (it’s a monthly purge). And I sometimes end up re-following the same people. It’s nothing personal. It’s more about me, then it is about them.
I read ‘somewhere’ a suggestion that if you haven’t used an app on your phone within (I think it was) 5 weeks then delete it. That’s what I did.
I had a ton of free apps… for editing photos, laying text over photos, having a self timer, and all that junk. So I detoxed my iPhone! I almost deleted the Facebook app, but in honesty I didn’t (although who knows what the near future will bring). I turned off all my notifications, and I love it. I’ve also made friends with the ‘Do not disturb’ mode on the iPhone.
Why should people expect that anyone can be reached 24/7? Unless you’re calling emergency services! It’s kind of creepy, and high maintenance.
If you’ve got the Facebook Messenger app on your phone, that’s an icky one. If you can’t bring yourself to deleting it, the get the notifications turned off. Then, tell people to text or email you if they really want to be in touch.
Are there apps on your phone which you haven’t used within the past 5 weeks? Get rid of them pronto! If you really want an app again in the future (assuming it’s a freebie) then you can always re-download it.
This is Part 1 of a 2 part post.
Part 2 is focused on the elements of your OFFLINE life. Your home, money, what you wear, and what you eat (aka. your kitchen cupboard!).
If this post resonated, I’d love you to share it with your friends and family. Lets inspire others to walk a simpler path so we can all experience more freedom in all areas of our lives.
If you have any insight you’d like to share, or any questions, please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!