A common misconception about effective time management is working harder, filling up your daily schedule and weekly calendar, handling multiple projects, and getting more things done quickly. When in fact, it’s about efficient use of your time to get more of the important work accomplished and saving time for activities you genuinely enjoy.
With proper time management skills, you can reap positive impacts on your studies, work, and life, like making decisions, increasing your productivity and quality of work and attaining ultimate control of your key priorities. That entails working smarter and not working harder, as the latter will simply exhaust you and cause you to fail in the end.
Luckily, there’s one good way to improve your time management skills: embracing minimalism. Chances are you’re thinking it’s about throwing away your material possessions and living by a certain number of things.
Certainly, no. You’d be surprised how having a minimalistic life can get you better at handling time. So, read ahead, and we’ll delve deeper into how minimalism helps with time management, allowing you to achieve your work, business, or life goals simply and strategically.
Ways How Minimalism Helps with Time Management
1. Improved Focus on the Essentials
Minimalism involves the constant removal of unnecessary things instead of continually adding them. Such action enables you to deduce what’s truly important – those you truly need and value – and stick with them. Take note that this doesn’t only cover physical stuff, but it includes your projects, activities, and goals.
With that, try taking a critical look at all your tasks and objectives and assess which among them are genuinely essential. Pick which activities are valuable and have impactful results to your goals. By doing so, you’ll have better clarity on where you should focus your time, effort, and attention, and spend them accordingly.
Through that, you also avoid falling prey to productive procrastination, or the situation when you’re working too hard and deeming that you’re productive when, in reality, you’re only doing things that are in no way valuable. Thus, only wasting your precious time.
2. Less Clutter, Fewer Distractions
Having a messy home or workspace is an instant killer of your focus and a voracious eater of your time and energy. If you go to your kitchen or sit down at your desk surrounded by clutter, it will definitely be harder to focus on the task you need to work on.
You’ll get distracted and won’t reach optimal focus, which lowers your productivity and the quality of your work. Be mindful that it takes an average of 25 minutes to regain full focus, so even a short distraction has a massive impact. Chances are you’ll be forced to remove all the distractions before beginning to cook or to work, which is another outright waste of your time and fuel.
Among the primary steps to embracing minimalism is reducing clutter. Cull objects, tools, or files lying around that have absolutely nothing to do with the task at hand as they could potentially distract you. For instance, you can simply have your cup of coffee or water bottle, earbuds, and laptop.
Always make it only about you and your task. You’d be surprised how it can do wonders on your focus and the work you’re doing. That’s the same when you see inspiring photos of people with clean, beautiful work areas, they’re smiling compared to pictures of individuals who look stressed out, overwhelmed, and stressed out because their desks are cluttered.
Therefore, resolve to minimalize your home or workspace and keep everything clean and organized. When there’s less clutter, there are fewer distractions, saving you time and allowing you to perform at your highest possible levels.
3. Fewer Commitments
If you feel like you don’t have enough time, revisit your to-do list and calendar and see whether you’re overcommitting yourself. Well, humans are innate hunter-gatherers, and we often seek new things and responsibilities, but often not taking our limitations into account, which eventually consumes us.
When you start your day with 25 things to do, there will be so much for you to carry, and it’ll be more difficult to focus on anything. Adding all the other distractions and interruptions you will encounter every single day, you’ll not be able to move the needle.
Should you be able to overcome the diversion and decide to finish all the tasks laid, you’ll most likely overwork yourself and not have enough time to eat properly, talk to friends, and see your family, easily burning yourself out, affecting your health, and damaging your relationships.
To stay on top of everything, practice minimalism and strive to reduce your commitments. While it may be hard to decline, remember that doing so will benefit your other commitments, given the extra time and increased focus you can allot to them. Once you get full control of your time, you also reduce stress and overwhelm, and rather get the utmost pleasure from doing the more meaningful commitments in your life.
4. Fewer and Quicker Decisions
Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and other billionaires have resolved to wear the same clothes (duplicates) every single day. Wondering why? Well, they decide to avoid decision fatigue by reducing the number of decisions they make each day to more calculated and better choices in life in a faster manner.
Citing what those successful people do, not having to decide what to wear each day, is one less unnecessary decision to make. You can also apply the same principle when deciding what food to take for breakfast, what perfume to wear for an event, and what app to use for work. When you live minimally and limit your choices, you no longer have to waste time making decisions.
Moreover, you may have probably noticed how making a plethora of decisions can be so stressful. When deciding on something, you actually use mental energy. Sadly, it’s finite, and it can easily deplete in a fixed time, making it a source of stress.
Where possible, reduce the number of decisions you make. You can start by creating routines, so you’ll never have to decide what to do at a certain time and at a certain time.
When it comes to food, you can start preparing meals for the entire week on Sunday, so you’ll never have to spend fifteen minutes to half an hour scrolling on the food delivery app or scanning the restaurant’s menu to choose what to choose. For your wardrobe, you may keep versatile or complementing pieces, so there’s also less to decide on.
5. Increased Motivation
With a minimalist mindset, you will only focus on letting go and just keeping what adds value to your life. It also applies to how you manage your time by being more intentional and deliberate about it. You know when and to whom to say ‘yes’ to and use your time to, you don’t do things that have been chosen for you and are forced to do (except, of course, your job), and you don’t overload your schedule and put yourself on top of thin ice.
As you spend your time on the “right” things, you’ll be much more likely to complete the tasks knowing that they are important and they add value to your life in some way. Once you’ve completed them, there’s a sense of fulfillment that fuels you to accomplish the next. You’ll have increased motivation and build up momentum to do everything you intend to do.
After all, there’s nothing worse than using your time only to ponder about the reasons, in the end, why you did it in the first place. That’s a motivation-crusher instead.
6. More Freedom
Minimalism doesn’t only revolve around having less stuff, but it’s also about getting less busy. You may think that it opposes proper time management. Yet, as previously stressed out, you should be working smarter and not harder. Start by eliminating non-essential busyness like too much browsing on social media, binge-watching on Netflix, or taking unnecessary meetings. That way, you can manage your time and free yourself up to be truly productive.
But don’t be confused. Having more time to be productive doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t be bombarding your schedule with work-related tasks. What you can do instead is to detach and give yourself more time and space. Drink tea. Take nature walks. Visit the spa to relax. Take purposeful vacations to rejuvenate. Eventually, you’ll realize how spending less on other ‘things’ can provide you more freedom to do more important stuff.
7. Improved mental and emotional health
Another important benefit of a minimalist life, which can improve your time management skill, is that it’s good for your health. Remember, no matter how hard you wish to handle, make the most of your time, it won’t work if your physical, mental, and emotional health isn’t sound.
You know how it feels to be overwhelmed due to having too much stuff, too much work, and too many commitments. It quickly leads to high levels of stress and anxiety, which puts the body into fight-or-flight mode, causing a host of other health problems.
Freeing yourself from clutter, having better focus, increased motivation, and gaining more freedom all reduce stress and anxiety, keeping your health in tip-top condition and letting you maneuver your time properly. Thus, also getting you to do more in the end.
8. Enhanced creativity
While there’s nothing wrong with doing things the traditional way, the fast-paced world requires us to look for workarounds to do things faster and save time. That demands creativity, which is not readily available at all times, as physical and mental clutter often prevents your creative juices from flowing.
By eliminating the perpetual cluttered chaos through minimalism, you get more mental room and allow your ingenuous mind to function. With better headspace, you also let new creative ideas root and grow, which also enables you to take unique and innovative approaches to overcome challenges and solve problems faster, and save time.
9. Better relationships
Improper time management often forces people to compromise their relationships just to get everything done. That’s navigating into tricky waters as your relationships with your family, friends, or partners are a foundation of happiness and living a full life.
When you simplify your life, you also make your life relationships simpler. You’ll know what to prioritize and won’t be bogged down by unnecessary stuff. Through that, you get to spend more quality time with the people you care about.
You’ll be present and be in the moment, and it’s always better rather than your mind constantly wandering anywhere else, thinking about other unimportant things. Of course, with less stress, you’re also more likely to be fun and pleasant to be around, resulting in easier connections and better relationships.
10. Improved quality of work
Lastly, minimalism also improves the quality of your work, mainly due to the increased focus and energy you can devote to your task. Rather than doing many things each day and enveloping yourself with too much clutter, living less leads to fewer mistakes, better performance, and improved quality of work. That helps in time management as you ensure that you get things done right on the first attempt, won’t waste time redoing any task, and simply use them for other significant pursuits.
Now do it! Start applying minimalism and witness how it can have a huge impact on your time management skill. Ease your worries, as these changes never need to happen overnight. Make the adjustments and drop anything not valuable one at a time. Soon, you’d be able to embrace minimalism fully and prove why less is, indeed, more.