I Am Going Minimal
The decision: I am going minimal.
The decision explained:
Gereltuya, a struggling student with a chaotic and overloaded life
Minimalism influenced by The Minimalists, Tyler Durden, and Paul Erdos
- To deal with my unfinished stuff once and for all
- To discipline myself — to challenge myself
- To customize the big concept and align it with my values
- To break free of the chaos overload
- Emotional spaces
21 days of habit creating through Dec 14 — Jan 04
By practicing the processes below:
Act — Evaluate — Learn
Document — Distribute
Planning: The “Must List”
I’ve used this life cycle model and modified a bit to make my Must List with 8 sections. The list is as follows:
To sustain my bodily strength, I must sleep enough, eat healthy, exercise regularly and get annual checkup.
To sustain my emotional and spiritual health, I must seek ideas constantly by reading, listening, thinking, exchanging and watching; reflect the input within myself by meditating and repeat the process.
To sustain my professional life, I must work smart and passionately; play enough, enjoy the moment; spend and save smart.
I must build loving relationships with my family and extended family. (Private points)
I must build new friendships as well as sustain my current relationships. To do this, I must stay in touch with every one of them; I must support them in growth and in pain; I must meet them just in time.
I must build strong partner-relationships; I must simply do what I say; I must be a friend (see 5.).
I must build professional network as I go; I must assist, thank and give back to my teachers.
Misc.: I must document necessary parts of my life; I must always express myself through convenient ways; I must build vision along the thinking way; I must learn every day; I must be a realist but stay optimist; I must challenge myself; I must keep things in the moderate range; I must question myself all the time.
The principles I followed for the 21 days
Following The Minimalists’ advice to think through my Must List to define my way of living (at least for the 21 days), I came up with yet another list (and I love lists, honest).
To establish the following in myself:
- Micro urgency, macro patience — Холын тэвчээр, ойрын сахилга; in other words, discipline yourself
- Management — Зохицуулалт, зохист хэмжээ
- Thinking Fast and Slow — Гүн, гүеийг тунгаах чадвар
- Keeping in touch with certain people — Харилцааны дүүрэн данс
- Responsibility to break the “brick wall” — Бодлогыг бодох хариуцлага
To keep these things:
- Growth mindset
- Seeking mindfulness
- Family commitments
- Forgiveness and love
- Friendship IRL
- Constant learning
- Courage, challenges, experiments, curiosity
As you can see, I focused more on the things I should be doing instead of bad habits I should be getting rid of. It’s already a plenty of things to do.
The realization of my past and future
The past: Chaos + Overload.
The future: Order + Minimalism
The process: Act-Evaluate-Learn, Challenge-Document-Distribute
Day 3 to Day 5
The packing party to The things
I packed and packed and packed for days, to be honest. When I finished I started immediately to throw away useless packages as whole. This throw-away party will come afterwards.
Think about fear. It’s a scary thing by definition. I feel like I stayed on this day for days. What am I afraid of? In the back of my brain, I knew some things I should be afraid of and some things I am actually afraid of. But I couldn’t fully agree with myself that I am afraid (of anything).
I am afraid of conflicts and when I meet one of them, I have this instant urge to get into my cave and live there forever. It happened constantly during my university studies and I was in my cave for much more time than I was allowed.
I am afraid of addiction, so I try to stay away from some things. Mostly emotional stuff like attachment, emotion-inducing media including some genre books and movies. Still stuck on this part.
Day 7 to Day 9
Relationships to Growth
I’ve been telling my close circle of friends and family about my decision ever since Day 1. They are wonderful people and as expected, my decision has been embraced with respect and healthy amount of questioning and debate.
I’ve been thinking, packing, cleaning my spaces to reflect at the end and start again the next day. It is a refreshing experience to pick one’s own brain as well as all the other things attached to it.
Day 10 to Day 14
Everything to Trash, Donate, Sell to Digitize
My sister and I had this big bulk of boxes laying about around us in our not-so-small room. We’ve had all the equipment to paint in our leisure time, but we didn’t draw a line ever since the purchase. Why? We had no space.
Trash, Donate, Sell was a satisfying event that took quite many days to complete. I asked myself the suggested questions:
- When was the last time I used this?
- Does this add value to my life?
- Is this something I can replace?
to determine if I should keep that item or not. I threw away things I didn’t use in 10 years, and yes I kept those things in the first place. I donated books, clothes and clean paper to my neighborhood people and kept only the necessary things. I have yet to touch my shoes department and online files at this point.
Day 15 to Day 19
Finances to TV, car, home to Mission
Finances. Quite hard thing to think for too long for a broke student like me. But I’ve changed this perception.
I haven’t had the TV, car or home in the first place so it was no problem for me.
The lifestyle I want to build for myself: Nomadic lifestyle. At this point, I was plotting my journey to get to this life. I decided to focus on three things in this aspect:
- Remote working while travelling
- Making a living until I adopt that lifestyle
- Preparing myself for the lifestyle
Afterwards I defined three (again) activities I should be pursuing in the meantime:
- Skill-building for my remote working career
- Making a living until then
- Finishing up my personal projects
Luckily, not after a week, I’ve got an opportunity to work as a web developer which combined the first two considerations of my mission. I was left with only managing the time and energy to finish my personal projects as well as deliver good results to my employer.
Day 20 to Day 21
Health and Time
My master plan
(0–6) Sleep + Eat breakfast
(6–7) Commute to gym (Get input i.e. Read or Listen when not going to the gym)
(7–10) Exercise + Meditate in between the classes + Commute to work
(10–19) Work (Distribute logs + Eat lunch)
(19–21) No computer zone (Meet friends, go out, date etc.)
(21–22) Commute back to home (Review the day, no input)
(22–0) Family time
- Work on side-projects
- Polish my technological + business + social skills
- Read, listen, catch up with weekly news
- Meet people etc.
It actually took me 42 days to get to this point.
Finished on 2018/01/26.