How Minimalism Can Help You Eliminate the Distractions in Your Life

I woke up bright and early this morning with the basics of a game plan formed in my head. Rather than tackle the excess things in my life at first, I decided to tackle the distractions instead.

Distractions can take many forms in our life. It can be anything from that task that you keep procrastinating on to the massive amount of junk mail that hits your inbox. Anything that keeps you from applying your full focus to your life and your goals can count as a distraction.

I tend to get a large amount of junk mail in my inbox. Every single website you visit these days tries to strong-arm you into signing up for their mailing list so they can spam you. In many cases, that big pop-up gets in the way of actually seeing their content, so you plug in your email address just to make it go away. If you purchase something from a website, they flood your inbox with new “deals” in an attempt to part you with even more of your hard-earned money. Normally I delete it en-masse once a day but I realized that I lost a few minutes of my life each and every time I completed the action.

One by one I selected these messages and directed them to go straight to my junk mail folder. That way, if I ever do discover that I’ve missed something important I can search for it within that first month. After that they get deleted automatically, eliminating the need for me to deal with them every single day. I decided upon using this method rather than unsubscribing from them individually since some websites can make that a challenge. Frankly, they can waste their time emailing me all they want. It doesn’t mean that I have to read them.

It may take a few days for me to complete the process. Websites have different email schedules so I’m certain that there are a few that I missed in my initial sweep.

Once that was complete, I decided to tackle one project that I’ve been procrastinating on. Over the past few months one of the keys on my keyboard had starting sticking and the scroll button on my mouse began to behave erratically. Since I had been in the middle of writing when the incidents happened I’d swapped them out with spares and set them aside to examine later.

Later had yet to arrive by this morning so I decided that it was time to either toss the peripherals or attempt to fix them.

Since one of my dogs sheds immensely, I realized that the issue may be a combination of dust and pet hair. These were common issues back in the day when computers were much more expensive so I had learned a long time ago how to clean them. I pulled out my supplies and got to work.

Thirty minutes later I had restored both peripherals to functionality. Tackling the project had not only eliminated the small stack of non-functioning peripherals I had placed in an obvious spot as a reminder, it allowed me to remove “replace spare keyboard and mouse” from my shopping list. By extending the life of these devices I saved money and eliminated the need to send them to the landfill.

When you consider the fact that it would have cost half a day’s wage to replace them (more if I selected the higher quality that I prefer), I count the half-hour of cleaning as time well spent.

Since there was always the chance that one of the marketing emails would catch my attention and induce me to spend, I also saved an unknown amount of working hours by sending them to my junk email folder automatically.

Since I count every moment saved and every dollar conserved as progress towards my goal I consider today to have been a successful one so far as a result of my actions. Less than an hour from my life now allowed me to reduce the amount I have to work to achieve freedom by a half-day or longer.

Today is a very good day.

If you find your inbox filled with junk mail each day, create a rule to send these emails to your junk mail folder automatically. If like me, you don’t want to risk using spam filters (since they have a habit of discarding important emails as well), you can create the rules manually with your email software. This will not only eliminate the temptation to spend money but will free up the time that you normally spend deleting them.

And if something breaks around your home that you believe may have a simple fix, I urge you to take a look at it before you toss it in the trash. Since it’s already broken, you don’t have to worry about making it worse if your attempt is unsuccessful. In many cases a thorough cleaning may solve the issue, saving you a fortune over time.

How have you minimized your time and expense lately? And do you have any suggestions about what I should tackle next? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

On another note, I have made it a personal goal to restore this website to a regular posting schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I am not quite sure how I will find the time to write three quality posts a week along with my studies but I am in hopes that by applying minimalism to my daily life that I will liberate more than enough time to accomplish my goal. Please bear with me as I strive to achieve this, and feel free to offer suggestions.

Also, if you found this post helpful I would be immensely grateful if you would take a moment to share it with a friend. I refuse to add to the advertising that the world is inundated with on a daily basis so the only way that people discover me is when they learn about me from a friend. I hope that you will spread the word that I help others simplify their lives so that they can better focus on their personal goals.

Thank you.


At first it was the television.

It sat front and center of every living room. Residents and visitors alike would stare at the glowing screen, chatting during commercial break.

Then came the video games. Names like Atari and Commodore. Devices attached to our precious televisions gave us something to do while we were glued to our televisions. We could direct glowy bits against glowy bits to earn points on a screen.

Now it’s the cellphone; a computer, video game machine, and television rolled up in a device so small it fits in your pocket.

I’d never really thought about any of the devices much; I’d grown up with a television so I wrote it off as the changing trends of time.

As I sat in my break room at work I watched my coworkers all glued to their devices.

I went out to eat with my friends, not to talk, but to watch them stare at their screens as they ignored me. I looked around to discover that I was the only adult aside from the servers not staring at a screen–until I saw a server sneak a peek at her phone between rounds.

“Do you have a charger?” a recent guest to my home asked as soon as she entered.

She sat at the power outlet, mumbling at me as she swiped at whatever she was doing.

At first I was annoyed by the trend. Why bother hanging out with someone if all you’re going to do is ignore them? What’s the point in having real-world friends if you spend your time staring at a screen during visits?

Now I’ve finally turned the question on its head:

What are we being distracted from?

It is Okay to Guard Your Time

I started wearing a ring on my wedding finger a few weeks back. I had become tired of being hit on by the numerous men who thought it was appropriate to distract me at my job. I am single for a reason; I’ve got something I want to accomplish. I’ll never be able to achieve my goals if I spend my time going out on dates. Even worse, the unwanted attention was beginning to interfere with my day job as I actively attempted to avoid the more persistent males.

Twenty dollars to guard my time.

It worked. Now I am able to focus all of my attention on my work which allows me to give my employer my best performance. I might not make much there but I like the store I work at and I want them to do well.

It speaks volumes about our society when a person is forced to pretend that she is in a relationship in order to work in public unmolested but at this point, I could care less about debating the subject. If I have to lie about my relationship status to eliminate the distraction then so be it.

Our Time is Limited

Time is a finite resource. We only have 24 hours each day to work towards our dreams and at 48 years of age, I’m running a bit behind. I have to hit this hard if I want to achieve success. That means I need to spend as much time as I can learning and growing if I want to achieve true freedom before I die.

We all have goals we want to achieve. Whatever the goal, the more time we spend engaging in distractions, the longer it will take to accomplish them. No one cares about your goals as much as you do; if you let them, the people that surround you will drag you down and prevent you from achieving success.

Don’t let that happen.

What is the one area of your life that is stealing time from your goals? Please share your stories in the comments below.