Five considerations for the minimalist entrepreneur and business owner
There’s a strong chance some of us know someone who is working from home right now. Possibly even from their bedroom, seated at a home-made desk, because it’s the quietest space. The pandemic has thrown us all into several new “normals”, including emotional, mental, and physical.
A minimalist space can set a picture in the mind of a spacious white room with a white-duvet bed, a rug and a single lamp, but minimalism can play a big part in our mental capacity to do our best work and stay fit on a productive front.
This isn’t a mission to throw away furniture, discard your favourite books, or unused office supplies!
Minimalism is PERSONAL. It is an exercise in SELF AWARENESS—paying attention to the things in our environment, both mental and physical, that are not serving us.
I. Clear the surfaces where you sit to work.
There’s a chance the burden of that pile of papers on your desk is keeping you from starting that next project or preventing you from starting a work day with a clear head.
Does your desk take up most of the room it sits in and collect piles of papers and files, but still leave you enough room to work at a computer? A smaller desk might be a solution. One that accommodates only a cup of coffee and a computer might be all you need. Less room usually translates into less junk, and a steadfast process for filing, storing and organizing.
2. Experiment with different levels of ‘clutter’.
What does a minimalist space look like? There are varying degrees of “minimalism”; it looks different for everyone. Maybe four bookshelves stacked with books and a desk and couch in a room is too much for one, and very little and necessary to another. Figure out what your threshold is, and go with it.
3. Treat your office like your closet.
“365 Less Things” editor, Colleen Madsen, has a simple one in, one out philosophy. This may be easier said than done in an office scenario, but can apply to the preparation done before a work day begins. Knowing what files, books, references, etc. you will need, and having them ready to go the night before, then put away until they are needed again makes for clear thinking.
4. Whether you are running your business out of a commercial space, or from home, knowing you are working above ground, in the black, is also a form of minimalism. If you are hanging on for dear life to fulfilling the terms of a lease or wondering if a co-op space is a better fit for your team during this time, go with what your instincts are telling you instead of what you have always done.
“The Ascent” blog contributor, Martina Doleckova, reminds us of a different kind of minimalism, an important one to consider during this time, that is not related to physical space, but more mental—debt minimalism. In “10 Minimalist Habits Everyone Loves” she reminds us to ‘create our own financial freedom’, and not aspire to buy things/own things that put us in debt or take away financial freedoms.
5. A minimalist favourite move is to repurpose what you already have. If something breaks, do you actually need to replace it? Is there something in your arsenal of things that can take its place?
Doleckova is right, it’s a landfill conversation and consideration. “Upcyle,” she says. Does the lamp really need its shade? Can an empty apple jelly jar replace a drinking glass? Can the chair be reupholstered? You never know kind of trend you might set for you or your friends, family and team.
Whether you are “at the office” or actually at the office, these are minimalist opportunities, among many, to consider for your work space, both inside and outside your head, before the snow flies.