All posts tagged: minimalism

15 Minutes

Last year, I signed a contract to ghostwrite a short novel. It was on a tight deadline, and I have a day job. So I knew I was going to have to maximize the way I use my time both before and after work. I did this by breaking both time periods into 15-minute increments. While I was writing the book, I woke up every day at 6 AM and spent 15 minutes eating breakfast and drinking a cup of coffee. Then, I took a quick shower. By 6:30, I was writing and doing so for one hour. The rest of the morning went to a workout and a bit of straightening up or reading before heading out the door to work. When I got home, more often than not, I went to work on the novel. That left me with some time to take a walk, eat some dinner, and a little unwinding before going to bed. The best thing about this kind of routine was that I knew where I was supposed to …

Patience

Not everything in my life is the way I want it to be. In a few cases, my patience has been worn thin and I’m justifiably frustrated. But, in other areas, I could use a little more tolerance for discomfort. Ideally, I would approach scenarios that test my patience with a cool head. This might require a certain level of detachment and while that could be healthy, I sometimes fear it can be taken too far. I want to feel free to express emotion–when necessary. And I would prefer to avoid self-imposed despondency for the sake of equilibrium. To further complicate the matter, becoming unfeeling or unmoved by the things that make me suffer seems like an unobtainable goal. Life has brought me (like everyone) obstacles, and I have been able to achieve a level head regarding my plight, for the most part. The problem is that there is one major area of my life that brings me persistent and severe agitation. In fact, I have no patience for my predicament and very little hope …

Computer

I keep my computer desktop clean. By doing so, I’m treating it like I would my actual desk. My office desk has a lamp, a coaster, and my computer sitting on it. Of course, there are times when there are other things on my desk like a pair of headphones, keys, or a wallet. But my baseline helps me avoid clutter. When it comes to computer organization, I’ve read that keeping files off the desktop can help with RAM. However, with the amount of RAM available with even the base level laptops these days that may no longer be the case. So, I keep my desktop clean because everything on my computer has a place. If it doesn’t, I delete it. I don’t look at a hard drive with a terabyte of space and think that gives me a license to store everything possible. I select the pictures I want to keep and discard the rest. I do the same with documents. The only thing I’m a little more liberal with is video footage. It …

Complaining

I’d like to complain less. Well, it might not be that I want to complain less so much as I want to have less to complain about… But, seriously, I think there are two kinds of complaining. One is completely pointless–just a way for the complainer to vent. But there is another way to look at complaining. Especially when it might lead to positive change. Think about Henry Ford’s first car. If no one had said, “This thing’s kinda slow, Hank,” then he may not have pushed to give the Model T a little more giddy-up. So, if I do choose to complain I want to complain… effectively. For example, I was recently griping to a supervisor about an inefficiency in our system. After the meeting, I went and fixed it. I could’ve just fixed it quietly but sometimes stating the problem helps me see the solution. It’s good to have a team that allows this kind of exploration but I would prefer to think through the issues that arise and find the solutions quietly …

Coffee

I drink coffee to stimulate, inspire, or to soothe. On occasion, I use it like many others–while socializing in coffee shops. What might be different about my use of coffee is that I see it as a tool. It’s not just a routine Starbucks order. I try to consume it thoughtfully. When I drink cold coffee right before a workout, it’s a stimulant. It acts to decreases muscle pain and increases my performance. This is especially beneficial for early morning workouts. Coffee is my constant companion when I write. I find that it helps focus when I’m creating. I frequently write early so I’ll prepare my coffee maker the night before. In the morning, I just flip the switch and brew. I use coffee to soothe when I need to warm up or relax. I drink a hot cup of decaf on evenings when I want to do some reading or to set the mood for a little downtime. Black coffee is fine by me. In fact, I prefer it that way when it’s cold …

Missing Keys

I’m not someone who loses his keys often, but it’s happened enough that I’ve decided to settle on one place to keep them. A hook in my kitchen, to be specific. If I’m being completely honest, I’d say that I like having a specific place for all my possessions. And this notion brings to mind a familiar saying of Benjamin Franklin: “A place for everything, everything in its place.” (Speaking of Franklin, he was an early influence on my writing.) Whereas being tidy is important, I believe there’s other reasons to keep things in their place. Having a place for my keys, tools, or just a roll of masking tape, leads to efficiency in terms of putting these items to use. It might seem a little obsessive-compulsive but for me it’s more a type of situational awareness. The main difference is that I’m not aiming to survive an emergency. Instead, I’m just trying to be a successful decision maker. There are reasons I wouldn’t want to fail, right? And decision fatigue can happen, especially after …

Rejection

Between novels, short stories, and, now, a mini-documentary, I find myself submitting to agents, journals, and festivals almost continuously. This means that rejection is a constant companion. And it can be difficult to deal with. When I’m faced with a barrage of “Not for us,” or “No thanks,” it’s important that I keep a level head. Especially because rejection has several meanings, which tend to fall into one of the following categories: Insufficient Quality Excessive Quantity Lack of Compatibility Extreme Exclusivity Admittedly, quality is a depressing reason to be rejected but it’s not the most frustrating. If the work isn’t of a high enough quality it can be improved, so there’s hope. All that’s necessary is more work. Sometimes years of work. When it comes to issues of quantity, we may find that our work has been edged out by similar writing or a piece that has been written by someone of greater stature. In other words, the market is flooded. If work is sent into an agent or journal (or any other entity calling …

Hydrotherapy

Taking cold showers is something I’ve been trying to incorporate into my routine for a while. Because it’s summer, I thought it would be a good time to give it another try. If you do a quick Google search you’ll find that there are many benefits to taking cold showers, including: Increased vitality Decreased muscle soreness Stress management Enhanced weight loss I think I read a James Bond novel that described the famed spy getting up in the morning and starting out the day with an ice cold shower. It purportedly increased his alertness, which would be important for someone who is trying to achieve situational awareness. I may not be worried about Goldfinger or Dr. No, but I definitely want to reap the benefits of taking cold showers. But, to be honest, it’s been something that continues to be more or less out of reach. Maybe because it’s summer, I found out my water temperature won’t go below 70 degrees. And true hydrotherapy starts there, but this could be okay. I’ve found that 80 …

Diet

My diet goal is to find something sustainable. I’m looking for a balance between keeping fit and indulging in the occasional drink or dessert. For the most part, I steer clear of any extreme diet programs because they offer only short term fixes. I’m concerned with the long-term. I’m most likely not the target market for fad diets, anyway. I don’t need to lose excessive amounts of weight and I’m more or less okay with the last ten pounds. In other words, it’s not my goal to “get shredded.” Most people realize maintaining an extremely low body fat percentage is pretty unsustainable. And I believe there’s a medium that will allow me to perform activities like jogging or bouldering at optimum performance levels. The way I’ve approached my goal is by counting calories. The Mayo Clinic states that gaining or losing weight is a matter of simple mathematics. Addition and subtraction, to be specific. If you decrease the amount of food you eat, then you’ll lose weight. The most important thing I’ve done may be …

Surfaces

There are only a few reasons surfaces become cluttered. One of them is that things aren’t put away after they’re used. That one is fairly simple to remedy. At most, it requires redefining when tasks we begin are finished. …