Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Live Deliberately: Simplifying

When we decided to take the step to build and then live in our 120 square foot house we made a conscious choice to be off the grid. We chose a minimal solar power system that would run our lights, laptops, and other small appliances. We didn't plumb the house and instead we gather water from our spring and use our Berkey water filter as our primary water system. Our motivation for this was to prove to ourselves that we could do it. We decided simplifying our lives was the best way to live deliberately.

As it turned out, this simplification of our lives was the most important thing we did in this process. I found that reconnecting with more manual tasks helped me reconnect to my life in way that I didn't realize was a problem for me. In many ways this concept went hand in hand with the glorification of busy-ness in our culture. When you listen to your own language you may find yourself thinking - or even saying out loud - "wow, that person has too much time on their hands!" But, what does that mean? We have this expectation that we need to maintain a certain level of busy-ness in order to keep up with our own culture.

What I realized was that slowing down and doing things more deliberately was exactly what I needed to give myself more time. 

Here is what I mean by that. I work from home and I am a morning person. When I get up with the sunrise I am ready to hit the computer and start writing for my clients. Right around lunchtime I start to get a little restless so I will do my daily chores. In my case it is typically refilling the Berkey and emptying the gray water bucket into the artificial wetland. This burst of physical activity gives me a renewed energy to finish any other tasks for the day.When I was working in a more conventional way I would begin to lose energy after lunch and avoid productive work as much as possible until the clock read 5:30 and I could get the hell out.

Before moving into the tiny house washing dishes and doing laundry were the two things I hated the most. I always told myself I didn't have "enough time" to do them. When I got home from a 9 hour work day with a 45 minute commute each way I felt I "deserved" time to myself to not do any work. Dishes piled up in the sink until they had to be put in the dishwasher. Clean clothes would stay in the dryer until I needed to pull them out, de-wrinkle them as best as I could, and wear them for work. Now, with our simpler life, things have changed. Dishes are simply part of the cooking process. I changed my mindset and rather than hating the task I incorporated it into my daily routine. Laundry is now an absolute pleasure at Bar of Soap where we can wash our clothes and enjoy the company of others in our community.

Of course, you don't have to go primitive to enjoy a simpler life. Start by reconsidering the tasks that you hate the most. Think about ways you can incorporate them into your life differently so you change your entire approach to them. Rather than giving in to our culture of  busy-ness, take some time to step away from all of the outside stimulation and back into yourself.  Check out this post from Zen Habits to give you some ideas. As they say the short answer is to identify the things that are most important for you and to eliminate everything else. That is what I did and I wouldn't change a thing.

How do you live simply?


7 comments:

  1. Your style of living more simply and a few others that I've found on various blogs and youtube channels have really help us develop our plan of tiny sizing and simplifying our lives. Thanks for the road map.

    I've got half a hairbrained idea to blog about it myself.

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  2. This is a great post - very mindful. I'm hoping to regain this same focus when I move into my tiny house. Thanks fir writing.

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  3. Hope this isn't me being too nosey, Laura, but do you pick up your freelancer gigs via the likes of oDesk, Elance, etc?

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    1. It is not a nosey question at all! I do not currently use oDesk or Elance. I have built relationships with most of my current clients through direct marketing and networking. I really love helping small businesses with their blog content so I have targeted local business owners as well as some national marketing companies who produce websites for various industries. You can read more about my business at www.lmlavoie.com

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    2. Thanks, Laura.

      Sounds great. Problem with a lot of the freelance sights, anyway, is that it is a race to the bottom. People are charging dollars and cents per hour for their valuable services and consumers think that's okay.

      I'm thinking about starting a marketing consulting business, targeted at the community I am in, when I make the move. I have a background in founding innovative small businesses and creative marketing. Every time I visit a country town I see so many missed opportunities I feel it my community service to help businesses realise the potential. Not only for the good of their business but the survival of the town.

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