Manifesto: A declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives or motives.
It is my strong opinion that everyone of us who call ourselves minimalists should have our own, unique minimalist manifesto.
Here’s how to do so. Create a new document in a place where it will be highly visible and easily accessible to you. For me, this is Google Docs since I do the majority of my writing, work and brainstorming there. Now with that document open, start by typing what is most important to you in your life and list anywhere from 1-5 things. For me, they are my marriage, running, writing and cooking.
Those are still pretty ambiguous though, so let’s further define our manifesto. Take running for instance. That could mean anything from jogging x times per week to someone completing their first 5k to something audacious like 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days. The point being, beneath your list of 1-5 items, write a further sentence or two about each item to clarify exactly what it means to you.
What specific positives come from having a minimalist manifesto?
- A guide when minimizing possessions. Maybe you’ve thought about conducting your own 100 things challenge but are too intimidated by the thought of deciding which possessions to reduce. Having your manifesto gives you a handy reference about which items you actually need in your life. When evaluating your possessions, ask yourself if each item is helping you achieve your dreams. If not, then why do you own it?
- A reference list for how you spend your free time. If I didn’t maintain some discipline, I would have 200+ items in my newsreader and I would never be able to give my full attention to any of them. By having a manifesto that clearly defines my intentions in life, I am able to remove the fluff and keep only the sites and feeds that add value to my focuses.
- A not-to-do list. Are you spending your free hours during the day watching television or playing Farmville or reading celebrity gossip blogs? Every time you find yourself doing one of these time-waster items, think about your manifesto and what sort of step you could be doing right then to work toward your focuses. I actually have a not-to-do list, where I wrote down my weaknesses and time-wasters. By identifying our problems, we have a better chance of avoiding them.
- A list of specific steps or projects towards completing your goals. By having a not-to-do list, you free up time to focus on the projects that are important to you. Jotting down some specific steps to accomplish will provide focus and inspiration to work on those projects.
By referencing your manifesto daily, it becomes a tool to help you maintain focus and purpose. Your manifesto will help clarify what items and tasks are important in your life. Also, it will help you realize all the things you do each day that are not important in your life.