the Modern Monkey Mind

One man's journey of minimalism and contentment

(Every week, I publish a series of inspiring links. Enjoy!)

 

-Better Living Through Less

-Five Reasons the Guy in the Cadillac Commercial is Wrong

-9 Stress-Reducing Truths About Money

-Walk a Mile in my Blisters

-Fear is the Root of Your Problems

Friday Faves: Renaissance Men, Self-Education, and Commonplacing

(Every week, I publish a series of inspiring links. Enjoy!)

Embracing my nature as a bit of a multipotentialite (read Renaissance Man) I’m deschooling myself and starting on a project of Self-Education. I’d like to invite you all to join me. I’ll be blogging about my adventures in a new section of the Mind titled “Multipotentiality.”

I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a Commonplace Book, and as part of my endeavors in self-education, decided to jump right in and start one!

Friday Faves: Winnie the Pooh to Sleep

(Every week, I publish a series of inspiring links. Enjoy!)

-Yesterday was the birthday of Winnie the Pooh, created by AA Milne. Head over here to a great little article from Brain Pickings including an audio recording of Milne himself reading a chapter from one of the books.

-What words describe your life?

-the Incredible Importance of Sleep for Habits & Motivation

-Online Congruency

-7 Tiny Steps for the Beginner Minimalist

-How 20 Seconds of Silence Can Change Your Life

-Positively Speaking

Cheat Codes for Life

After reading the posts from Oliver Emberton in last week’s Friday Faves, I started thinking about how the idea might be taken further. What if there were cheat codes in real life like there are in video games? A cheat code is something that unlocks a feature that wasn’t intended to released, or exploits some aspect of  a game’s programming, so there wouldn’t be a direct equivalency, but there are things we can do that have a similar effect. Below I’ve listed a couple minimalism flavored cheat codes for our real lives. I’ve included possible effects with each. Feel free to  wander on down to the comments and suggest more:

333: Limit your entire wardrobe to 33 items for three months. While I’ve not done this officially, I have been drastically reducing the number of clothes in my closet, and I find its rather enjoyaable. You end up wearing the clothes you like most more often, and I have yet to experience someone asking why I wear the same clothes all the time.

Result: More confidence, less stress, more time

100 Thing Challenge: What would you take if your house was on fire? If you had to move house in the family car, what would you take? Try making a list of 100 items (or 15o, or 50, or 43, the limit is kind of arbitrary) and whittle everything down to just whats on that list. We have a tendency to collect stuff, but we forget that stuff isn’t what makes us happy. Limiting stuff can help us remember what is.

Result: Less stress, more clarity, less stuff, more time

Priorities: What is most important to you really? Make a list of the 3-5 most important, and work toward focusing on those things.

Result: Less stress, more clarity, more time

Friday Faves: Money & Ninjas

(Every week, I publish a series of inspiring links. Enjoy!)

What is your relationship with money?

Brain Pickings is quickly becoming a danger to my bank account. Take a look at Maria Popova’s article about Oliver Burkeman’s newest book the Antidote.

Here’s your strategy guide for life. When you’ve read that, be sure to check out this from his archives. If you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of an Oliver Emberton fanboy.

Seeing as my Seahawks just kicked pony butt at the Super Bowl: 7 Life Innacuracies Portrayed in the Super Bowl Ads

Karma & Smartphones

If you love Evernote as much as I do, you owe it to yourself to learn how to use evernote like a ninja.

My Productivity Suite

Over the past month or so, I’ve found a handful of programs are absolutely essential to my productivit. They’re also especially nice in terms of allowing for a paperless work environment.

Evernote: The longer I use it, the more I am convinced I would be lost without Evernote. I use it for almost everything from a capture system to keeping my to-do list (I used to use Wunderlist, but ditched it after figuring out how to do lists in Evernote).

Dropbox: Dropbox has slowly been replacing my hard drive. I’m worthless at remembering to back up my work, so this is extremely beneficial. I haven’t had a massive hardware failure yet, but I’m not overly worried about it, at least in terms of losing my work.

Ommwriter: For the longest time I just wrote using WordPress’ text editor, but I find I really prefer having a stand alone word processor. Ommwriter is a nice basic one with four different fonts, that runs in full screen, has a visible word count, and plays music and keystroke sounds while you type. “Noise while you type and you like it?” I can hear you saying. Yes. Dare I say I love it even. When I first started using the program I was worried about it being distracting, but I’ve found its actually the opposite. Having the sound acts as a block to everything going on around me to help maintain focus, and wearing headphones is a clear “do not disturb” sign to anyone around me. I live with my parents at the moment and do most of my work in the living room, so this is extremely helpful. The one gripe I have is the horizontal cursor which can make editing a bit confusing.

Gmail/Gcal: I have yet to find a good replacement for gmail. Hushmail was under consideration for a while, but I decided not to use it upon hearing concerns about privacy. I also love gmail because its extremely power-usery. I’ve got it set up so its integrated with Evernote along with all manner of other useful plugins.

Gcal has been my calender of choice since I got a smart phone a while back. Honestly at this point gmail and gcal are the only google services I use. I have a Google Plus account, but other than having my various wordpress blogs autopost to it, I don’t actually use it.

Hoosuite: Hootsuite is a social media dashboard, which means that you can plug all your social media accounts into it and see everything in one place. These days, I do basically everything social media related through here. They have a paid version, but unless you’re big business the free version is all you need. It even has an Evernote app.

Firefox: Switched from Chrome, and not going back anytime soon. Firefox is a great little browser that has the advantage of being not just non-google, but also open source. The only hiccup was getting Hootsuite to play nice with it, but got that cleared up with a quick back and forth tweet conversation with Hootsuite tech support. Did I mention there’s a version of the Evernote webclipper for Firefox?

And there you go, my essential productivity apps. The best part, of course is that all of these are either dirt cheap or free. What applications do you consider essential to what you do? Head on down to the comments and let us know.

Friday Faves: First World Problems to Bodhisattvas

{Every week, I publish a series of inspiring links. Enjoy!}

Have kids and clutter? Want to get rid of it (the clutter, not the kids) and live a minimalist lifestyle? Then you should check out Joshua Becker’s new book, Clutterfree with Kids.

10 Productivity Tips From a Blue-Collar Genius

You Should be Amazed

First World Problems

the Way of the Bodhisatthva: Living in the World

January Check-in

This has been one amazing month for me. A number of things that never quite worked have fallen into place:

Sleep: After probably ten years of sleeping on old mattresses I got a brand new one for Christmas, and started sleeping on my back instead of my side. My mom and I also went on the clean eating diet which includes eliminating additives and sugar. I’m not sure which of these factors made the difference, but I’ve found I’m able to get to bed earlier, and wake up nice and early without using an alarm. I’m generally up sometime between four and six feeling refreshed and ready for the day.

Meditation: Ever since I discovered Buddhism in high school I’ve wanted to get a daily meditation practice going, but have always struggled. Today marks close to a month of meditating every morning, except one. I’ve been working up slowly from two minutes, currently at five. Not that long, sure, but a little bit every day is what makes a habit. Fixing my sleep was the thing that finally made this possible.

Diet: As I mentioned above, I did a pretty major dietary shift at the beginning of the year. January first was a cleansing day, and other than a couple slips (had a soft pretzel at the mall a week or two ago and a Subway yesterday when I was visiting my aunt and uncle) I have yet to break it. The great thing about clean eating is its self enforcing. Especially if you cleanse when you start, you discover how sensitive your body is to what you put in it, and food stuffed with additives and sugar makes you feel sick enough that you don’t want to eat it.

How is everyone else’s year going? Often this is the time when we’ve lost motivation and begun to slack off or given up. Take a minute or two in these last couple days of January to renew your commitment to your resolutions. What have you slipped up on? What have you enjoyed about the changes you’ve made? Instead of obsessing over failure, think about what you’ve enjoyed about the changes you’ve made, and use that to recommit and keep going. Its not easy, but its worth it.

Stay simple, my friends!

Routines III: Conclusion

This is part III of a three part series. Part I can be found over here, and part two is here.

A simple morning and evening routine can be a great way to bookend the day. Especially in a time when its so easy to stay up at all hours and sleep through the morning, a morning and evening routine can bookend the day and get us ready to accomplish something meaningful the next, whether thats writing a blog post, filling out job applications, or chores around the house.

Morning routines don’t have to be overly complicated. Three to five activities is plenty, and they should be both things you enjoy and that prepare you for the day. I find yoga and meditation first thing creates a sense of calm focus, reading is something I enjoy doing, and getting some writing in means I’ve knocked something off my to-do list before the day has really even begun. A walk afterwards acts as a great segway to both break from and get ready for the rest of my day. My routine is a balance of relaxed enjoyment and productivity that I find invigorating

An evening routine should, in a perfect world, be even simplor: For me, I do some cursory cleanup, create my to-do list and lay out my clothes for the next day, and spend some time reading before bed. This both acts as preparation for the next day, and winding down from the one thats just ended, which together with reflection is the purpose of an evening routine.

Friday Faves: Tiny Houses to Productivity

{Every week, I publish a series of inspiring links. Enjoy!}

Dee Williams, one of the major players in the tiny house movement is putting out a memoir! Want! If you love tiny houses too, you can preorder here.

Life After the Crash

Eyes up, Heart Open

16 Tips for a Paperless Life

the Secret Weapon

Zen to Done (Older post, but found recently and definitely applicable)

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