Cutting Down on Stuff


Hey! Just a quick note here: I'm travelling now, and just taking time off before the next academic year kicks off in September. I'm not going to be writing new posts every day during these two weeks. Some days I'm going to "fill" with an old post from a newsletter I used to run, also called In Search For Balance, but otherwise not related to this blog. I already did that yesterday, a week ago, and two weeks ago. Hope you'll understand! I'll go back to the regular schedule sometime later in August.

So, today's "headline" is Cutting Down on Stuff and I really mean it. I even dare to say that I've become a minimalist, whatever that means.

A sudden realization that most of the tools, techniques, mindsets & things I do really don't matter came to me two weeks ago. Just as I was finishing up my regular weekly review (which includes writing this newsletter) I finally decided: I'm cutting away all that's not necessary. 

I've been "practicing" Digital Minimalism as well as "regular" minimalism for some time. In January I went off social media for 60 days, to never fully come back. Later in May I got into Standard Notes, the simplest, but at the same time the most powerful app that I've ever used. I still use and love Standard every single day.

After trying out every, and I mean every productivity app that works on my Windows computer and doesn't cost billions, I was really damn lost. I thought I had built a good system with Todoist. But then came Notion. And later TickTick, and Nozbe. 

While the system I built was making me more productive - in the doing more stuff sense, the system itself required more and more time to update, clean, process and improve every single day. 

I couldn't plan ahead. Managing the system every day drained all my energy and mental sharpness, and so thinking about the future became impossible. But heck, I was really confident that I'm doing things the right way

My head felt heavy. 70% of the time I had to postpone tasks for tomorrow. There were days when I was grinding so much that I got all the stuff done, but then came a slump. A slump of burnout & mental clutter. In June, when work was coming to an end, I felt horrible. Incredibly exhausted. 

But during the summer things started to make sense. I realized that, truly, less is more. 


Now, I use just a bullet journal for tasks, events & journaling, and Standard Notes for important info, long-form writing, storing ideas & project reference material. And I feel the best I've ever felt. I can look into the future. I'm not anxious. Even a little bit.

Maybe that was the road that I had to go through. Maybe only through deep experimentation I could've arrived at this conclusion, about what is right and what is not. 

Have you tried cutting stuff away? If not, try it. It's the antidote to feeling bad.

More from In Search For Balance
All posts