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minimalism and priorities


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When properly applied, minimalism can be of great benefit when used to further your priorities. For instance, when Katie was so very ill with MRSA there was talk of admitting her to UK Hospital in Lexington. This hospital is over an hour away; since I refuse to leave my daughter in a strange place alone and frightened and ill I was left in a quandary. I did not have sufficient funds to either board my pets for that duration or buy fuel for numerous trips back home.

My priority was to get my daughter well so I did what minimalism dictated: I eliminated my writing laptop so that I would have sufficient cash reserves in the event she did have to be hospitalized.

I still needed to write so I took some of the money and purchased a low-end iPad mini. This enabled me to access all of my work and continue to write through the situation; I have been maintaining this website and working on my books exclusively from this device for a couple of months now.

While Katie did not need to go to Lexington she did need other things to aid her recovery; I doled out the value of that laptop on vitamins, supplements, fuel and other items as she walked the path back to health. The last little bit was clicked away when I filed my taxes the other day.

I miss my laptop but I don’t regret eliminating it. The welfare of my daughter (and myself) is worth more than the cost of any machine. While I can always get another laptop I could never get another Katie.

Now that she is well I can again combine minimalism with my priorities to focus on what needs to be done. I need to save for another laptop, eliminate the carpets in this home (doctor’s orders) and work on the book projects that were neglected while Katie was so ill.

I may also have to juggle the expense of Marching Band should Katie decide to join; since she is my first priority that will bump the laptop down a notch depending upon her decision.

Thanks to minimalism (and my personal set of priorities) I know that I don’t have to do it all at once. I know that I can focus on one thing at a time until that objective is achieved. This helps to eliminate the sense of overwhelment that would otherwise cloud my brain.

If you have a lot that you need to accomplish rank them all according to priority. For instance, it is much more important to pay the electric bill than it is to buy a Wii. Use minimalism to eliminate the nonessential and then focus on the most important one. Work your way down the list (reevaluating your list from time to time) until you are done.

Don’t worry about the lower-ranked items; they will get done when they get done. Of course, if an opportunity arises to eliminate one of the smaller objectives by all means take it and move on.

This is how I live my life. I have used this method to eliminate working at public jobs, become a stay at home single mom and to build sufficient passive income to take care of us even when life throws me a curve ball.

Do you use this method on your priorities? Do you feel that it benefits you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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5 Comments

  1. Bj wrote:

    That is great that you found somewhere to sell your use laptop for enough to get both an ipad mini and pay taxes, etc. It must have been quite a hight end one, so I bet you miss it. I use an ipad quite often, and while I do like some features of it, I finally ended up getting an apple wireless keyboard to use with it when I really want to type as the touch screen is hard for me. I must have big fingers or something!!

    Friday, April 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
  2. Maria wrote:

    What you are doing makes perfect sense to me. I am forever making lists and prioritizing! We teach our kids to be adaptable–our youngest struggles with this the most!

    Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink
  3. Annie wrote:

    Dear BJ,

    It was a 13″ MacBook Air so I guess you could consider it high-end. It wasn’t very old at all (about 2 months) which was a very good thing considering the situation.

    I was going to hold on to the money to get another one but I nickel and dimed it away on Katie aside from the taxes. Everything worked out though — I had more than enough to take care of business without having to dip into my savings. :)

    I’m rather surprised at what this little iPad can handle! I’ve maintained this website, worked on my books, watched television and all sorts of things on it! While I definitely intend to replace the laptop there’s been precious little that I haven’t been able to do on this machine alone – which was a big surprise.

    Friday, April 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Permalink
  4. Georgia Gal wrote:

    I too do this. I keep a mental list of what the needs are and take care of them according to income and priority. I have learned a lot from your blog and your book How to Start Out or Over on a Shoestring.

    I am beginning to write on Hubpages and looking into Smashwords as well. Any tips for using smashwords? Hope you have a wonderful weekend~

    Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink
  5. Katy wrote:

    Thank you for posts like these. I have been a minimalist for a while, using it to accomplish goals for the life I want. But I find even after all the purging and paring down, there is always more to tweak or different ideas to try (or new situations that arise that change everything around, right?) Reading about the details of how you and others have applied minimalism is so helpful and enjoyable to read. I am so inspired by your ideas and hope to keep going -thank you for sharing!

    Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink