A Minimalist View On The Value Of Time


As a minimalist, I’m wrestling with the problem of time. How does time fit into the minimalist equation? Time is not the same as minimalist art or minimalism in architecture. Simple living does something amazing. It opens up more time in your schedule. What should you do with that extra time?

If you’re not a minimalist, you might think that we spend all our time in quiet meditation. That’s not true. Most minimalists choose to create something with the time they’ve freed up through living with less. I write and blog. Do I write and blog too much? That’s the question I’m wrestling with today. Should minimalists do less with their time? Should we not do any one thing in excess?

I Love The Sound Of A Ticking Clock

To me, focusing on the tick-tock of a clock is a meditation in its own right. It’s comforting. I know I only have so long to live, so what’s the best use of that time? I think each individual needs to search their own conscience for the answer to that question.

Wrestling With Time Is Something We All Must Do

I’ve been thinking about the best use of my time. I’ve been wrestling. I’ve made this list. This is my list. Yours may not be the same. I encourage you to create your own list.

  1. Family and friends: At the end of your life, you won’t care about how many books or records you sold. It won’t matter that you won the best CEO award. You’ll wish you’d have spent as much time as possible with your loved ones. In one list of five deathbed regrets I found, number four was staying in touch with friends. Spending time with your own family and friends is the most important thing you can do with the time you create by living a simple life.
  2. Teaching and learning: The number one deathbed regret is this: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” As a teacher, I’ve found something that truly represents who I am. When I’m teaching others, I know I’m doing something good for society. I encourage you to discover your true calling in life. Use your time to improve yourself in that area.
  3. Writing and sharing: Another deathbed regret: “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.” When we write our stories, we express ourselves. We teach others. For me, writing is something I do for the sake of writing itself. If you’ve visited my Dan Erickson blog, you know that I wrote a book about my struggle with forgiveness after being a child victim of a cult. Writing can be therapeutical. Sharing your writing can help others who have experienced similar events.
  4. Nature and exercise: Living simple allows you to spend more time in nature. When you stop spending time in the fast-paced world of commerce, you open up time for slow walks in the wilderness. You don’t have to drive far. You can find a local trail and take a walk or a run. You can go out in your backyard and practice karate or plant a garden. Get outside. Breathe the fresh air. Exercise.
  5. God and meditation: You might think that all minimalists practice Eastern religious rituals. That’s not true. Jesus was as much a minimalist as any Zen master. In my book, Get Back To Where You Are: A Guide To Finding Yourself In The Present Moment, I point out that prayer and meditation can be done as we do simple tasks. Prayer and meditation connect us to something greater. Can you think of a better use of our time than this?

Have You Done Your Own Wrestling?

Take some time to evaluate your own life. Could you free up more time by living more simply? If you had more time, what would you do with it? These are important questions for all of us to ask. I encourage you to do your own wrestling with time. I know I’ll keep thinking about the best use of my time. You only get one chance to live. Make sure you don’t have regrets on your deathbed.

Here’s something simple you can do with your time. Get my free ebook, The Happiness of Simple. It only takes about an hour to read, but the lessons can last a lifetime. No sign up is required. Just click and read.

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James Ewen
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