Sunday, August 15, 2010

Minimalism vs. Simplicity

A few weeks ago, I read the free preview of the book "The Art of Being Minimalist" by Everett Bogue and liked it enough that I felt it worth it to pay the $17 to buy the full version - which meant I got the second half of the book not included in the preview.

The big idea of the book that got it started was when Everett thought that since people can typically only keep track of 150 or so people in their social circle, they probably can only keep track of about 150 possessions. The book goes into reason you want to live a minimalist life and how to do that with your possessions, time, attention, and a little about how to make money in minimalist ways.

The book had a lot of good info and ideas - such as if you have so much stuff you have to pay for extra storage, you need to get rid of some of it. You should also minimize your interruptions as much as possible (either don't read Twitter or only read it in scheduled batches). Some of the ideas I read there are no way I could do. For example, he suggests getting rid of your car and moving to a bicycle-friendly city and reducing your possessions to the point that everything you own can fit in a backpack. I have a feeling my wife and daughter would NOT be happy with those changes.

After long thought about it, I decided that being minimalist is not for me. I want to be a person who lives a life based on simplicity. Here's the difference, I think. Minimalism means trimming everything out of your life that isn't necessary. Live a minimal life. That is too drastic for me, and I'd imagine too drastic for most people.

Simplicity means getting rid of anything in your life that is over-complicating it. Examples: movies you don't watch, music you don't listen to, stuff that you don't use and just spend time cleaning, dusting, storing and organizing every month. If you aren't getting any use or pleasure out of an object, get rid of it!

There are multiple books out there that at their core are about simplicity: Peter Walsh's book "It's All Too Much", FlyLady's work, and even David Allen mentions it briefly toward the beginning of his best-known book "Getting Things Done."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Put down the computer once a week!

It's turning out one of the hardest goals I have set for myself is once a week, don't do anything on the computer outside of work.

As soon as I decided on one day I was going to make that my "no computer" day, I started thinking of all kinds of things I wanted to do: email friends, check Facebook, do some programming and on and on.

I'm trying to figure out what to do with this info. It seems as soon as I decide I want to cut back or remove something from my life, something in my decides it *needs* whatever that thing was. And I end up coming up with excuses why I need that thing.

Looking back at when I actually succeeded at doing this, I feel the solution is to replace whatever I'm trying to remove with something else. The biggest success I've had with this was back in college when I tried to stop playing video games for 30 days.

I decided to spend the time really digging into learning Unix-based operating systems (namely FreeBSD and Linux) better. I actually found myself telling a friend that I was going to go back to my apartment and "play FreeBSD."

Monday, August 2, 2010

August 2010 Goals

Within the last two weeks, I've hit a couple huge goals I had set for myself. One hundred and twenty days in a row (120!) of working out every day and of doing some kind of programming every day outside of work.

Once hitting this, I have decided to take a new course in my goals. Instead of working out every day, I have heard it is best to give your body one day of rest every week. So I have decided to have the goal of working out at least 5 times a week - one day of rest and one day of just in case something comes up. I am kicking up the intensity with the Couch To 5k program with the help of the C2 5k iPhone app on my iPod Touch.

As for the doing programming every day, I have decided to alter that a little, as sometimes it takes a while to learn something well enough to write any code that is worth it. So my idea is to at least 5 days a week make some kind of progress on a side project or business. Be it programming, blogging, learning how to be a better programmer, or anything similar.

I have also decided that I'm going to read one good book on spiritual growth this month. Being a Christian that area of my life has been sadly neglected.

Last of all, I have decided that I live like there is no life without computers and I want to get away from that a little bit. Every night I have been doing email, Facebook, Twitter, computer games, or some combination of all of them or similar activities. Once a week, I will take a night and not touch a computer outside of work - with the exception of if my wife wants to watch a movie or TV show via streaming video. Obviously that night is not tonight.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Taskpaper for the iPhone

- buy Taskpaper for my iPod Touch @done(2010-02-23)

Would have done it sooner but I just received the email announcement.