Apr 24, 2016 · 2 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

Replace bad habits with good before you know it.

Minimalism can be so negative: “Get rid of this. Cut out that. Say no, no no.”

The whole endeavor can breed cynicism about simplifying. People hear all the things they should do without, and it just sounds like preaching deprivation.

Rightfully, they wonder “Why? Why should I even bother? It doesn’t sound like the end result is worth the effort and heartache.”

But simplifying isn’t about all the things you should do without. Simplifying is about having space for what you love when you stop focusing on what you don’t.

The end result is definitely worth the effort, and the journey doesn’t have to be a negative one.

My days are filled with so many “must-do” activities, and I wondered how others made time for the things they loved. How did people write and volunteer and create when all I was doing was the dishes and the laundry and not creating? It dawned on me after hearing Brooke over at Slow Your Home talk about this: People were doing the important stuff first!

You know when you hear something so simple and you wonder why you couldn’t figure it out yourself? Yeah, tha happened.

We all know it can be hard work to cut things out, but as so many of our homes attest, it’s not so hard to fill up. So, instead of focusing on cutting out the negative, try filling up with the positive. It’s kind of like eating dessert first. And the good thing is, it’s so gradual, you won’t realize that all the good stuff has crowded out all the unnecessary stuff that you would have gotten rid of anyway. It’s virtually painless.

So I gave it a shot with writing.

I got up earlier in the morning and dedicated that early time solely to writing. I put the phone away, didn’t check Facebook or Twitter, ignored the dishes, left the laundry, and just worked. I knew I only had an hour before having to get ready for work, so I made the most of it. And you know what?

It works!

The house didn’t fall apart, and I felt better — more refreshed with having done what I love, and certainly not at all deprived. I had actually made time for what I love without “cutting out” anything, and it was pain-free. Well, except for getting up at 5:30 a.m.

If you’re going to try filling your time and space first with what you love, you should think about what’s important to you. Once you’ve got that figured out, just reverse what you’ve been doing. If you’ve been focusing on the little, busywork tasks and not on what you love, try shifting your focus. You’ll figure out what you can do without, and the meaningless will fall by the wayside.

How do you focus more on what you love than on busywork?


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.