I cover minimalism on this blog quite a lot. It is almost like I write these articles to myself, to remind me of great advice I should consider. Then I reconsidered whether other content creators I admire do follow their own advice and succeed becoming the best person they strive for, or not. Probably they do a pretty decent job, but they are still human. People mess up. Some mess up quite a lot, some just a bit. But messing up is an inevitable byproduct of growth. You can’t if you don’t mess up and learn from mistakes.
Yet, here I am, scrolling through some of my own advice, thinking “I should do that” quite a lot. Giving advice to other people is easy. And a useful tool is to pretend to be giving advice to some friend of yours instead of yourself. This often highlights my own struggles for me. It doesn’t solve the issues, though.
After watching a med school insider video (which will be linked down below for you to enjoy) it made click. Often, I know what the problems are. I also make up great coping mechanisms. But as soon as reality hits me, it hits hard. I often can’t hold up to the standards I put upon me. It’s noble to know your goals, but without an adequate system, how should I have a chance to go there?
This is, why I love me some challenges. Every week for the past month I sat down on Monday (well, ‘thought about it in bed instead of starting the day’ is a more accurate description) to focus on one issue or habit I’m not comfortable with and introduce a system to get rid of it. It has to be easy to apply, so easy that I can do it even if I feel exhausted after work late at night. It also has to take the least amount of time to maximise the possible outcome, since I want some productivity, but I don’t want to work hard for it. And if I figured something out, I’d do it for the entire week. I even would set a reminder for the following Monday in order to not forget that I can stop with the challenge already.
But did it work, though? At first I wanted to read more. I set aside 15 minutes a day in the morning. After one week, I decided that it was nice but I can’t just stop in between exciting chapters. Binge reading seems to work better for me. Would I have figured that out without the challenge? No. I would have been disappointed about not reading as much as I could. Turns out, I read more if I just do it when I want to.
Next challenge was a digital assistant crisis. I used my smartphone/smart speaker and a lot of productivity tools. I should be the most productive person alive by know, according to the tools and services I used. Surprise: I’m not. I am a lazy dude who occasionally needs to be reminded that deadlines will hit me hard if I don’t start. So I’ve cut out my digital productivity suite and went with just pen and paper for a week (sometimes just using my brain). Another surprise: I can remember stuff and for not as important things a calendar / list of paper works just fine. After this, I cancelled Any.Do, deleted a bunch of stuff and only kept the calendar on my phone and Alexa reminders on my Echo Dot, because I leave stuff at home a lot and my phone seems to be magically attached to my pocket, which is why it never happens with it.
I did a Raspberry Pi 30 day challenge. It didn’t work out after one week, because I had to do things I couldn’t do with a Pi. That’s fine. Now I know.
And today I woke up, took a careful look at my messy bedroom and thought to myself: I should nuke this place, because tidying it up would take hours. But what if I just do a little everyday? That sounds reasonable. 10 minutes? Too long. I could be distracted by literally everything lying around. 5 minutes? Sounds reasonable. And here I am, writing and article, the first in months (seems unrelated) and sorting some documents I just threw upon my desk. I challenge you to do the same (doing the 5 min clutter-cleansing that is).
Oh, I almost forgot the video. It’s great, even if you don’t plan to become a doctor (Trust me, I’m a d… teacher).