Just after Christmas I always feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with packing my gifts away, overwhelmed with decompressing after being “on” throughout the holiday season, and overwhelmed with the amount of things I have to do to get the new year “started right.”
I always have the need to clean up my life towards the end of the year, both physically and mentally, so that I go into the new year with the right mindset and the best possible workstation I can make for myself.
The problem is I very quickly find that I am not able to keep track of everything I need to do and my desk seems more like a storage unit in an episode of Hoarders.
This month I want to change that, I want to stick to keeping my tasks and things I want to do in order. I want to have a space dedicated to my writing at my home. If you’re asking yourself why I suddenly have a fire lit under me about doing this, the answer is simple.
Why I am Doing this
The big reason I am doing this is because of a documentary called Minimalist: A Documentary About the Important Things that opened my eyes about minimalism and about compulsory shopping. The main message was that we simply don’t need as much stuff as we think we do.
I don’t think I will be as minimal as the two main subjects in the documentary but I do think a change is needed in my life because I simply feel overrun when I have too many things on my desk, in my closet, and in my living space.
So the documentary got me interested with minimalism but the message is what had me take action. And the action I’ve taken so far has been very uplifting.
I decided the first thing I wanted to do with my life to minimize the things I needed was with my desk. Before I started this I had a desk drawer filled to the brim with things I habitually threw in there when I thought I would need it someday but not today. The three drawers I had contained things like 4 pairs of nail clippers, keyboards I no longer used, and a small office worth of disposable pens to name a few. Shocker: I didn’t need any of them now.
So I decided to start emptying out the drawers and see with it was that I actually needed. The answer was none of it. I had a dedicated fountain pen on my Bullet Journal for journaling, I had a Smart Keyboard on my iPad for writing, and everything else I need was in my to-go bag I take with me everywhere. The drawers held items that did not need to stay with me. So I packed it away in storage and everything I need in my life day-to-day is either on my desk or in my bag at arms reach.
The feeling of serenity and the weight I felt lifting off my shoulders as I closed my storage closet was something I did not expect, and I wanted to continue this. Minimalism was working, and I began thinking about how I use my iPhone and iPad and the apps that cluttered them.
Which leads me to the challenge I am going to take in the month of January.
What I am doing
The challenge for this is simple: start with the stock apps you get when getting a new device and only download the apps you need and leave the rest behind. Now, there are some rules to this challenge I am setting myself as well to keep me on track and preventing myself from clutter on my devices
- Delete any app you don’t use after 48 hours of downloading.
- If I need that app again for whatever reason I can always re-download it, but the point of this challenge is to have only the essentials. Apps I don’t use after 2 days its initial use are no longer considered essential for me.
- Have everything on one screen
- the main reason for this is because if I limit myself to one screen it leaves me having to really think about what is worth the space on my screen.
- There are a lot of stock apps I simply don’t need and they can be pushed back in a folder to stay out of sight and refrain from taking up my precious screen real estate.
- Document in a journal your feelings and changes every day for the next 3 weeks
- Doing this challenge and not keeping track of the changes and my feelings on this is hardly a challenge at all. For every experiment there has to be documented analysis for this and daily journaling is something I think will provide that.
Now that these rules are set, all that is left is actually doing this.
With the challenge and the time frame set all that is left is action and analysis.
So for the next week I will be writing in my journal once a day about the feelings I have and the changes that happens with it. Once the week is over I will report back on January 8th to check in. I will do this every week and come back at the end of the month with my thoughts, information on how things went, and anything I would do differently if I did this again.
So for now I am left with an empty desk, an iPhone and iPad reset, and nothing but 21 days of essential apps to use.
Until then, you can also participate in this challenge by following the rules set in this post and tweeting with #TabletHabit and join the rest of us doing this there. I plan to offer encouragement, tips, and just be a source of camaraderie and accountability for you as you make this big jump in your digital life.