300 Seconds: Simplify by Number

This ‘300 Seconds’ piece isn’t for everybody. Some of you have all areas of your life in order and I applaud you. Instead, this task is for anyone who at the very least considered a 2018 resolution to declutter, simplify, or organize some part of your life. I call this strategy “simplify by number” and here’s how it works:

  • On the first day of the month, purge 1 item.
  • On the second day of the month, purge 2 items.
  • On the third day of the month, purge 3 items.

I’m pretty sure you can catch the pattern here. Continue to purge the number of items corresponding to that month’s date. Add up a typical month of 31 days, and you have the potential to purge 496 items.

When my self-proclaimed life coach first instructed me to try this method, I didn’t think I had 496 items available to purge each month. And I was especially fearful of failing around day 28. But then I remembered that stack of magazines growing in the corner. And the galleys I’d been needing to send to my reviewers. And my email inbox that will never be at Inbox Zero. And the duplicate files in my Dropbox. Yes. Digital items count, too.

Some of the reasons this method has continued to work for me is because I tell myself that I can skip days and pick up again when I’m able, I can start the process on any day of the month, and the daily finite number gives me a stopping point so I do not become overwhelmed.

Today is January 4. File, toss, or distribute 4 items. One could even be this email. [grin] And remember, there will always be more available to purge tomorrow. But wait until tomorrow to do so.

Beth Golay

Beth is a reader, writer, marketer and Books & Whatnot founder. Even though she knows better, she's a sucker for a good book cover and will positively swoon if a book is set in appropriate type. @BethGolay