Minimalism is not only about decluttering your space and intentionally going without. It’s about living with greater clarity to life.
Recently, I found this clarity escaping me. Sadly, this loss of clarity was a direct result of my busier schedule. With each new task I piled on my to-do list, I invited greater worry, fear, and anxiety — emotions that are so opposite of the clarity minimalism provides.
When I realized how far I drifted from the minimal life I wanted, I stopped. I didn’t stop all that I was doing. I simply paused and reflected on what needed to change. As a result, I identified a few behaviors that were the product of my busyness. I shined a spotlight on these behaviors, and I stopped them from becoming habits.
Maybe you’re wondering whether busyness is killing the minimal lifestyle you want. Maybe you’re too stuck in busyness to realize whether your minimalism is suffering. If so, consider these signs of busyness ruining your minimalism:
1. You check your phone too many times.
The constant symphony of rings, pings, and tweets can have us jumping to our phones. The busy person invites this constant distraction at all points of their day. But minimalism invites us to put down our phones in exchange for the present moment.
The truth is, whatever is coming through our phones can wait. Busyness will lead us to think this isn’t true, but minimalism has us fight against this distraction.
2. You’ve lost the power of choice.
Busy people say yes to everything for fear of missing out. They no longer practice the power of choice. And because they can’t choose, they can’t shape life to their ideal. Instead, they respond to how their environment shifts.
Minimalists, however, practice choice because they realize not everything is beneficial. Excess, to minimalists, is not part of the recipe for a fulfilling life.
Because of this, minimalists can say no. Minimalists can shape the world according to their desire. It’s time we return to deciding for ourselves instead of letting the world choose for us.
3. Your priorities are skewed.
There are things that are more important than our busyness — things such as our relationships, our families, and our health. But when we’re busy, we often prioritize marginal things — like our money or our status — rather than foundational things, or things that contribute to the happiness of our lives.
Busyness messes with what’s actually important in life. But minimalism helps us keep things in perspective. Let’s return to what’s important again.
4. You numb more than you rest.
When you’re busy to the point of exhaustion, you collapse at the end of the day. You invite the excess of binging (binge-watching, binge-drinking, etc.) simply because you want to forget about the busyness of your day, and you can’t do anything else.
When you practice a minimal lifestyle, you don’t stay busy until you collapse. This means, instead of numbing yourself with binge habits, you can truly rest.
We’re meant to rest after a hard day, not numb. The more minimal our schedules are, the more we can actually rest.
5. You spend more time being reactive rather than proactive.
The busy person waits for things to get worse before they act on them, simply because they don’t’ have time to act on them earlier. Because of this, busy people get used to things blowing up in their face. This conditions their mind to anticipate trouble instead of peace.
The minimalist, however, understands that life is not about constantly playing catch up. They move on things before they get worse as a way to keep peace consistent in their lives.
Don’t get used to acting on things only when they blow up. Let minimalism clear your mind and schedule so you can see what needs your attention now.
6. You compare instead of practice gratitude.
Busyness keeps people in a posture of comparison. People who are overly busy think of how much busier they are than others or how much free time others have. Minimalism doesn’t entertain this comparison-game.
The truth minimalism realizes is when you live with less, you enjoy more. There’s no reason to look at others with envy or comparison because you’re satisfied with the life you have. We should all reach for the life where we’re occupied with gratitude instead of envy.
7. You’re actually proud of your busyness.
Today, we wear busyness like it’s a badge. But what if we chose to be proud of other things in our lives? What if the object of our pride was the quality of our relationships or the health of our homes? What if we were more proud of the things that actually matter?
Minimalism is not against busyness, but it’s against busyness trumping everything else that’s meaningful in our lives. If all we are is busy, then we’re not living with the clarity life is meant to have.