August 13th, 2012
I always have a couple of experiments going on a regular basis. Some experiments are pretty small, like last week when I tried to unlearn how to eat with my left hand (I'm left handed).
It was interesting but not that useful. Some experiments lasts and help me do things more efficiently or to see things in a different way. Some experiments are just disasters, then I let them go and move on.
Probably the biggest and longest on going experiment for me has been to simplify my life. It means that I challenge myself to structure my life in a simpler way than it was before. It means that I get rid of unnecessary stuff. It means that I own only the things I admire and get a joy out of using. It means that when I can, I merge and combine technologies or things together for a better experience.
I read a lot. But that doesn't mean I buy physical books any longer. A digital book has a lot of benefits over a physical book. It weighs less, doesn't take up physical space, it has a built-in dictionary and I have instant access to it from my iPad.
I listen to music pretty often. That doesn't mean I go buying CD's anymore. I use Spotify, because Spotify has a lot of benefits over CD's. It doesn't take up physical space, it helps me discover new music and I have instant access to almost all of the music in the world.
This is just two examples of how technology helped me simplify. But everything in my life can't be replaced with technology, yet it still can be simplified.
Take my wallet for instance. First I had a huge full size wallet poking out from my back pocket. Everything was there, stamp cards, coupons, cash, photographs, credit cards, coins etc. It was something I really needed simplifying and after taking measure of what I had to keep I got a thinner cardholder instead, holding just the most important cards. Recently I simplified it even more and nowadays I only have a rubber band around my most crucial cards. When I simplify I try to get rid of overhead and only keep the things I benefit from.
This goes for everything in my life. If there isn't a real need for it, just let it go. If there is, how can it be made in a simpler way? It's as simple as that.
Sometimes it can be hard to decide what's important and not. That's when I put it on trial. I hide it away in a drawer for a couple of weeks. If I forget about it, I don't need it. That's when I let go.
The progress of the experiment can be seen in how I've moved from one place to another in the last couple of years:
- In 2007. I moved with a big car and a trailer.
- In 2008. I moved with a small truck.
- In 2010. I moved with a car.
- In early 2011. I moved with 4 bags.
- In late 2011. I moved with a suitcase and a bag.
Today I can get my things down into one backpack.
I simplify because I like the flexibility I get from having less. I simplify because it's a way for me to keep focus on what's important. Simplifying, big or small, is an experiment I really recommend trying out.