Living Simply

Its time for me to simplify my life. It has become too cluttered and busy.

 When I eat, I am usually reading or working on some project. I often find myself gobbling, eating in such a rush because I’m anxious to get on to the next thing. I barely notice what goes into my mouth.

And just as I don’t notice my food, I’ve stopped noticing what is happening in my life as it speeds on through time like a bullet train. I fit so much into my day and I multitask to such an extent that I rarely pay close attention to what I’m doing or stop to appreciate what is around me.

I don’t think I’m the only one. Nowadays there are so many distractions. With our mobile phones and mobile internet we are available 24 hours a day. Before all this, I used to quite enjoy looking out the window watching the changing landscape when I travelled on a train. Now I pass the time with any of the multitude of apps I have on my phone. The real world passes me by – I’m too busy wasting time in the virtual one.

I fit a lot into my life – but it hardly seems worth it when I’m too busy to enjoy or appreciate what I have.  I keep thinking that sometime in the future I will slow down – but there are no guarantees of that. Eventually I will run out of time. I need to do something now. I want to appreciate the life I have now.

And so I’ve decided to try a couple of things:

1. Single tasking – a great article in single tasking can be found here. The approach seems to be working – for the first time in weeks, I’ve written a blog post.
2. Get rid of the clutter in my life. I don’t just mean the physical clutter, but all the other things I don’t want or need. Those activities that take up my time and attention – but contribute little in the way of enriching my life. I’m going to start with Facebook, and I’ll post about why that is tomorrow.

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7 thoughts on “Living Simply

  1. I like the idea of single tasking as not being inferior to multitasking! I am not one of life’s multitaskers and never have been, but since the wretched phrase came to prominence my lack of ability at it tended to feel like a failure. Especially as there is this assumption which goes with it that women are natural multitaskers!

    What I have instead is a very single-minded focus. I naturally focus on one task at a time. Of course, some tasks do not require full attention and then my mind does tend to wander back to whatever my Big Obsession of the time is, whether that is my thesis, novel or some other thing 🙂

    I’m glad if we are now moving away from glorifying multitasking and embracing other options 🙂

    I’m not good at getting rid of clutter though…

    • Yes, I was surprised when I came across the idea of “single tasking”. Unlike you, my mind is usually buzzing with so many different projects and ideas, I find it quite hard to concentrate on just one thing. I’d like to have the kind of focus you describe. 🙂

  2. I’ve found that I HAVE to set aside time at work to concentrate on one thing at a time, mainly because it’s dang hard 😛
    I know it’s a luxury to be able to do that, and I’m frequently met with incredulous responses when I try to politely explain that I can’t answer my mobile at work 😛
    Being in the lab with icky stuff is a pretty good excuse tho!

    HOWEVER, the rest of the time I feel like my brain is going 15 to the dozen. Too much to do.

    Out of curiosity, what do you do now on the train? I’m chafing at spending longer commuting these days, hence my hand-wringing over whether I “need” an iPad or a smartphone. Would love to be able to use that time catching up on blog time or reading articles for work.

    • Pretty much as soon as I get on the train I start interacting with my iphone, or ipad if I’ve brought it along. I check emails, facebook (though not any more since I disabled the account), read e-books, the newspaper and blogs. What I rarely do is look out the window.

      I think if I still used the train to commute I wouldn’t have such a problem with spending the time on those sorts of things. Commuting adds hours to the working day and if I could use that time to accomplish something or to do something pleasurable like read a book then I wouldn’t mind having to do it so much.

      I just use the train on the weekends. The trip into Sydney is always so interesting when I bother to look out the window – the harbour is magnificent – but I rarely see it because I’m too busy doing something fairly inane like checking facebook.

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