Pandemic Productivity

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m starting to see it. That was my big breakthrough recently. I surveyed the piles of paper on the bed and they seemed small. There weren’t a lot of boxes around me anymore. Decluttering stopped seeming endless, and started to appear finite. I’m getting there at long last, and you will too. I’ve been quite busy during all these months at home. While others are relaxing with family and house mates, playing games and puzzles and lego, I’ve tried to end years of hoarding and clutter with a firm view of a different future. Here’s the gist of my progress in productivity.

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Holiday

I found this old reflection from a holiday I took in 2016. It is so odd to read it in 2020. After I travelled so much in 2019 that I longed for a home, for the comfort and security of a place to call my own. After a pandemic shut down the world, shut down borders, rendered travel impossible. After a second wave of virus hit Melbourne and made it illegal to travel more than 5 kilometres from your doorstep. In a twisted way, it’s like I got my 2019 wish to an exaggerated degree. I look at those words below, about being passionate about travel, about living in the moment, about living an intentionalist life, and I feel it is a nice way to end the last month of Intentionalism posts.

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Travel

My final piece on intentional living – travel.

Intentional travel is something of a careful blend of fun experiences, thoughtful money-spending and mindful values during a time you’re supposed to be relaxing and enjoying a break from everyday life. Can you really stay true your way of life when you are miles from home? I have learned the hard way that it’s indeed a very delicate balance.

I set off on a year-long overland holiday last year with a plan to publicly blog about how to travel sustainably. It had been suggested to me that to travel so extensively, it was best to have some ideas about what I was looking to get out of the trip, and that turned into a quest for sustainable travel. In short, I quickly found myself questioning what’s possible and how much value I’m bringing to myself and my destinations when I can’t get the balance right. Continue reading

Values

In the third instalment of this month of Intentionalism posts, I’m delving into an important part of the journey from minimalism to intentionalism. That is, the reflection and reassessment of one’s values. Along the journey, it is natural to want to shed old, unhealthy habits and mindsets in favour of a fresher outlook. Many turn to meditation, yoga, mindfulness, creativity and other kinds of self-reflection to think about what’s really important to them. The wise will evaluate and regularly re-evaluate themselves on a Wheel of Life* to notice when their values are falling out of alignment.

An intentionalist will then try to live life with their truest values at their core. In their daily routines and practices, they will work hard to keep balancing and re-evaluating their wheel as much as they possibly can. Continue reading

Frugal is Not a Dirty Word

Last week I introduced a month of posts dedicated to intentionalism, and I kicked off with a post about what it means to be intentional. This week looks at the first logical step, intentional spending. Which is basically, asking yourself a lot of questions before you buy. Many would say it is about living frugally. Frugal is not a dirty word. Yes, there are some people who take it to the extreme, but there can be many advantages to consciously thinking about, spending and saving your money. I went off to the Middle East for three years after living in poverty as a university student. And the money I saved from living frugally in that time paid off an old car purchase, bought a new car on my return home, paid off two credit card debts, two university degrees, saved enough to travel for months after I left, and all the while, flew business class and stayed in apartment hotels each year during vacations. How? Everything I did, came from intentional thought. Continue reading

Intentionalism

Isn’t this year just flying by and going snail slow all at the same time? I can’t believe it’s August and there is still so much uncertainty. Here in Melbourne we’ve just entered a stage 4 lockdown amid COVID-19 numbers spiralling. Well, I thought I’d break from the norm and, in keeping with my silver linings optimism, focus on something a little different this month: Intentionalism. Similar to minimalism, the journey a person takes typically starts with decluttering then going into minimalism, and then reaching intentionalism. That’s how I see it anyway. And each week this month, we will delve a little bit into the benefits of a life lived intentionally. This week, we’ll look at the journey and what it all looks like, so that the next posts featuring the benefits make a little more sense. Enjoy. Continue reading

Data

I have this drawer full of electronic data. By far, almost all of it is made up of copies of copies of copies. This is the problem with data, isn’t it? You back it up here, then you back it up again there later. My drawer tells the story of 20 years of technological evolution. Much like my videos, that I kept for years because I moved overseas while they were still in circulation, and never had the time, my own place and VCR to clear them, data storage was something that just kept evolving onto new devices and I never had it all together to sort out once and for all. Bet you’re not surprised about that! So how does one try to tackle years of photos, documents, videos and other data on a multitude of storage devices? How far back are we talking? Continue reading

Videos

In recent years, my book carton full of video cassette tapes has bothered me. The thing about moving overseas in 2002 is that we were in the crux of a great technological change. I had no idea what lay ahead, how the world would evolve in my time away. Yes, compact discs were emerging but they certainly hadn’t yet dominated the market. So, when I moved, my precious video tapes got boxed up for later. Occasionally when I returned home for visits, I would think about tackling them. But I didn’t make any great strides until last year. How? Continue reading

Film negatives. Also old home movies.

If there was one declutter task I was keen to do once I returned from the Middle East, with a bit of spare cash in the bank, it was to finally, once and for all, get my old negatives and home movies digitalised by a photo service. For one, to declutter negatives, cassette tapes and photos. Two, in case of any emergency or loss, I had a copy. Three, because I wanted to add them to my photobook project, someday that I would tackle that. Unfortunately, it didn’t prove as straightforward as I’d hoped. But, what I did learn was useful because if you’d like to do the same, I’ve got some tips and tricks for you. Continue reading

Small Steps

Small steps make big progress. It’s a fact. All the minimalism and slow living folk talk about it. Joshua Becker. Courtney Carver. Brooke McAlary. The Art of Decluttering podcast ladies call it, micro decluttering. Small actions, when there are enough of them, do lead to a big change. This applies to anything really. Grassroots campaigns sweeping the world even. I live by mottoes of similar mantras “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” (Lao Tzu, on my fridge magnet), “A job begun is half done,” my teacher used to say. “Done is better than perfect”, a friend told me last year.

Below are some of my small actions that are getting things done in my life this year and last. File under REPAIR AND REUSE. Continue reading