4 ways minimalism makes you more productive

Minimalism has the potential to make us happier and more productive. But, how does minimalism do that? There are 4 simple ways.

Daniel Bulut

April 23, 2020

Minimalism makes your more productive

Minimalism is a growing trend. Have you ever wondered why? There are many benefits of living a minimalist lifestyle, one of which makes you more productive. First, an introduction to minimalism, if you're unfamiliar with it.

What is minimalism?

Minimalism is a conscious effort of living mindfully with essential “things”. It is a discipline that can assist you in discovering freedom.

The definition of minimalism is different for everyone, and that’s a great thing about it. A minimalistic lifestyle for one may be very different for another. We’ll go through what this means in more depth later on. Although individual depending on who you are, there is one common goal for minimalism. It is to intentionally promote the things we most value and to remove anything that distracts us from it.

What minimalism can result in is an overall better quality of life.

So how does minimalism make you more productive?

By intentionally living with possessions you need, you are focusing on what matters most. There are 4 ways that minimalism makes you more productive.

1. Concentrate better with fewer distractions

Once you’ve gotten rid of things that do not bring any value to your life, you all of a sudden have an open place to live and work. Fewer things on your desk, in your house, everywhere. This means you have fewer distractions. It’s logical. Having fewer distractions, you are able to concentrate better and be more productive.

Sometimes we can forget that having lots of things around us can distract us. It just takes us by the moment, and once you get used to something you tend to accept it. It can take on average 23 minutes to refocus after you get distracted, a massive hindrance to your work output. Small interruptions can also double your error rate, making you prone to more mistakes. Sure, some distractions are inevitable, but for the ones you can control it can go a long way in making you more productive.

Let’s take your desk as an example. If you work in an office or from home, what might you have there? Perhaps your computer, a few notepads, sticky notes, stacks of books and papers, the list goes on. As a minimalist you may try using software to keep track of your workload, getting rid of notebooks, and transferring to a word processor on your computer. Suddenly you now have an uncluttered work area with far fewer distractions. You won’t be distracted by that sticky note on your desk reminding you about work that needs to be done next week, rather than concentrating on what you need to do now. 87% of workers admit that having a cluttered workspace negatively affects their productivity.

Inevitably having more belongings, makes you think more about them. There are many things you can cut out to minimise distractions in your personal and work life to be more productive.

2. Make most of your time

Before going out and getting rid of everything, it’s time to first understand what is most important to you. What makes you most happy and grateful? The things you are most grateful for are usually really simple. How can you make more time to spend doing the things you value the most? That’s what we’re going to discover.

Minimalism helps us get rid of distractions and things that would otherwise consume a lot of our time. Possessing fewer things will make it easier and faster for you to clean. The average adult spends 6 hours cleaning every week, over time this adds up. If you have fewer things to clean, you will save a lot of time.
Owning fewer possessions also means that it’s easier to stay organised. We’re all busy, and it’s important to stay organised. Being more mindful about the things you own you will likely mean having fewer things to do.

Back to the example at work. Creating folders and having a systematic way of saving your files, looks clean and keeps your workspace less cluttered, but it also saves you a lot of time that you’d instead be spending searching for a specific file or document all throughout your computer. This can add up, a lot. There are many ways to organise your files for maximum productivity. Shortening the number of steps, you need to do a certain thing saves you so much time.

Having more time to do the things you value most is great, it makes life more enjoyable and overall you are going to have a better quality of life.

3. Health and wellbeing

Great, you’ve got fewer distractions and mistakes. You are concentrating better and making the most of your time. Suddenly you are happier and less stressed. You have more energy and more time. A minimalist lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on your health and wellbeing, particularly your mental health. You’re probably well aware of the negative effects stress has on your body like depression, weight gain, and heart disease.

As you live more like a minimalist, you get a deeper and greater understanding of who you are and what you value most. This will make you more confident. You will realise that the car you own, the suburb you live in and the designer clothes you wear don’t make you who you are. Instead, you will understand that the values you hold, the knowledge you possess, and the words you say make you special.

Owning fewer things also helps improve the health of our planet. Consumerism is responsible for up to 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The fashion industry alone is responsible for 8.1% of global climate change. As a minimalist, you may embrace buying higher quality products rather than a larger quantity of lesser quality.
Owning fewer physical possessions will reduce how much waste is put in landfills, where harmful and toxic gases accumulate and emit into our atmosphere.
Any actions that help protect our planet are steps in the right direction. In the long run, having a healthy planet will mean that our people will be healthy, and that’s great.

4. More money

Lastly, being a minimalist means you will have more money. Buying and owning less makes it easier to save. Now that you know what you value most, you can save up for it. For a lot of people, traveling is high on their values list. Minimalism makes it so much easier to save up for that trip you’ve always wanted to go for.

From a professional standpoint, fewer distractions and being able to concentrate more will improve your productivity at work. It will help you do more, get that promotion, and rise up the ranks (if that is something you value). On the other hand, you may want to start a business. You have all this extra time up your sleeves to start thinking about it and doing it.

Another thing that can bring you more money by being a minimalist is spending time on education and self-development. You may decide to learn a new skill that could help you progress with your career.

Misconceptions

There are a few common misconceptions that come with minimalism.

Getting rid of everything.

If you are considering minimalism, you don't need to get rid of everything. You just need to get rid of the things that you do not bring value to your life. For some people, it may mean getting rid of a few things, but for others, it could lead to getting rid of almost everything. There is definitely no right or wrong amount, it all depends on you.

Minimalism is restrictive and makes life hard.

Another misconception is that minimalism makes your life hard. This is not true, and it depends on what you value most. You shouldn’t get rid of something that makes your life easier and brings you value. Maybe there is something out there that can replace 3 things into 1, and that’s another step into minimalism.

Minimalism applies to physical things only.

Digital minimalism is just as important as physical minimalism. We are a species glued to our devices. Cutting out on things that don’t bring you value in your digital life is just as important. You can also apply minimalism to your feelings, emotions, and relationships.

Are there any downsides?

The simple answer is not really. The only downsides are that it’s still a fairly new concept, there’s not a lot of awareness about it (compared to other ways of living) and that more people aren’t doing it.

Minimalism has the potential to make us a more happy and productive society. There are many benefits it could have for our communities if it were more widespread.

Make sure when you are disposing of physical belongings that you recycle and donate whenever possible. That shirt you are planning to throw away may just be what another person values when you donate it.