One Month Summary

by Dan


I had planned to do a review of the first month of this project, and share any conclusions, so I have given it some thought and looking back over the month has proved to be quite enlightening.

In the first 31 days I managed to stick to my plan of simplifying one thing a day. I commented at the half way stage that I could feel a new habit forming, and after a full month I can say with some certainty that my mindset has changed and simplifying has become more of a habit. Also what is interesting is that I have noticed that this habit brings with it a mindset of what I will call “complexity-avoidance”. Before I buy anything, or bring it into the house, before I sign up for a regular email, or before I walk past something that is out of place, I think about the potential for it to turn into a future act of simplification and make an effort to avoid it at source. This conscious process of being precious about what I allow into my life and what occupies my time, has meant that I bring more focus and presence to the activities that I choose to do. This is one of the reasons why I started this process – I could easily become distracted and unfocussed – and by stripping out the sources of this problem I feel a greater sense of purpose and effectiveness. (See my notes on Continuous Partial Attention for more on this destructive distraction!)

In the first 31 days, the Daily Acts of Simplification can be grouped under 5 main headings which I have temporarily labelled:

Getting in control of information flows (12)
Subtraction (11)
Get on top, stay on top (4)
Finish the unfinished (2)
Worry Removal (2)

These do overlap and blur in places but help to summarise where the value has come from. I’ll review these further as I move into some harder stuff going forward – its fair to say that on each of the first 31 days, identifying something obvious and simple wasn’t difficult. Also as it gets harder, I aim to create some exercises and techniques to draw out more opportunities to simplify. For example, the Black Bin Bag exercise that I tried on Day 33 was a different and helpful approach.

All in all it has been a fabulous and productive month, and I have no intention of stopping any time soon – there is plenty more to go after. Stay tuned!