Tips & Stories

On Minimalism: A Solution to Gaining More Time

On Minimalism: A Solution to Gaining More Time

Posted by Lolitta Tracy on 01 Feb 2017

Posted by Lolitta Tracy on 01 Feb 2017

At Evernote, we love productivity, but we also care about maintaining balance in our lives. This month, we’ll dive into how experts on minimalism stay productive without losing focus on what’s important.

Busy is the problem

Do you ever find yourself answering the question “how are you?” with “Great! Really busy!”?

Wait, what? When did we start associating being busy with feeling great? Why do we do it? We live in a culture that values productivity, but too often we confuse the external signs of productivity (being busy) with the real thing.

At work and at home, we spend countless hours on lengthy to-do lists. We may not realize it, but we’re drowning, putting in more hours than ever. We can’t keep up with it all, and yet we try by compulsively scanning multiple social media feeds. Business Insider claims that this alone takes up about a quarter of our time spent online. With every new productivity app that launches, we’re encouraged to get busier, become even more productive, and get more done so we can feel “great!” Meanwhile, our health is declining, and we don’t even have time for ourselves. Busy can’t be great. Busy is the problem.

Minimalism, a solution to gaining more time

If you want to live a calmer life, but don’t know where to begin, consider minimalism. Maybe you’ve heard of minimalism and how productive and stress-free those practicing it are, but you don’t understand what exactly minimalism is, or how to get started.

Minimalism focuses on reducing consumption and possessions, improving work/life balance, and becoming more self-sufficient. Often referred to as simple living, minimalism emulates the lifestyles of ancient ways of living in a modern setting. Simple living is influenced by Buddhism, Taoism, and Monasticism–and all those philosophies that encourage simplicity, modesty, reflection, and embracing the art of letting go.

Minimalism has evolved into a growing trend around the globe, largely due to best-selling authors and organizing consultants like Marie Kondo who have captured the world’s imagination with the KonMari Method of tidying up: a creative way of decluttering and adding value to the material things in our lives.

Marie Kondo’s viral clothing folding tutorial.

Minimalism begins with philosophies about reducing possessions, but it goes beyond the physical. It’s possible to apply minimalist thought to other aspects of your life, such as your relationships and your work. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, better known as The Minimalists, have dedicated their lives to helping people adopt a minimalist lifestyle through the mediums of podcasts, documentaries, and books focused on topics like “Letting Go of Sh*tty Relationships” and creating meaningful work. Most of us want to do these things naturally, but have a difficult time achieving because we’re simply too busy getting things done to go about our lives in a more thoughtful way.

The Minimalists speaking at TEDxFargo about the benefits of letting go and living a meaningful life with less.

For some of us, taking on a minimalist approach to life is daunting. Maybe you have a large family or other factors to consider. But even if we have lots of commitments tying us down, minimalism is still an option.

Take Becoming Minimalist, another group of experts on simple living. They’re a middle-class family of four with a typical home, regular people with normal lives. And yet, over the years, they’ve managed to take significant measures to live more intentionally and with fewer possessions. Joshua Becker and his family now spend their lives inspiring millions of people to live with less through their writing about both the joys and the struggles of their journey.

Minimalism isn’t a goal that can be achieved quickly, nor is it a fad. Minimalism is a lifelong journey. It’s not an easy journey, and often, it may not even be very much fun. But with every life-decluttering change you make, you’ll find that you’ll have more time in your day to do what you love.

Coming up

From understanding the difference between being busy and being focused to working smarter instead of working longer, sometimes less is more. If you’re eager to learn more about living a minimalist life, stick around for parts 2 and 3 of this series, where we’ll talk with The Minimalists and Becoming Minimalist about how to get started.

Are you taking any steps to simplify your life? We’d love to hear about them.


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23 Comments RSS

  • Barry Dharia


  • Tracey Smith

    Definitely something I’m interested in. Been trying to simplify my life but it’s easier said then done. Thanks for sharing this info!

    • Lolitta Gevorkova

      Thanks, Tracey! I’m glad you found the post interesting and I’m excited for you to pursue your minimalism journey. 🙂

  • Shelly

    Live a life with less and you will get more!

    • Lolitta Gevorkova

      Agreed! Thank you for the read, Shelly.

  • Karalyne

    Love this idea. Less is more. What is left is love. Love to spread.

    • Lolitta Gevorkova

      Thank you, Karalyne! I hope you found this piece inspiring and please stay tuned for future minimalism posts.

  • Cat

    Thank you for this SERIES! Please keep it going! It is a very difficult thing to do but the reward of your time back to reinvest in yourself through whatever brings you joy, time with friends or family, sleep, exercise, cooking, reading, writing, volunteering… These things are so critical to finding happiness and usually we don’t do it until it’s become a required task. Life is far shorter than we think it is. Do what makes you glad to be alive. This is my goal anyway and this series is so inspiring so I’m writing to say thank you. I’m grateful to have stumbled upon this posting. And I’m grateful to you for saying no to something else so you could say yes to this! The timing was impeccable. I needed to see this today. Thank you!!!

    • Lolitta Gevorkova

      Hi, Cat. Thank you for your thoughtful comment! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the series so far. YES to the part about how rewarding it is to gain precious time back in our lives. I think we take for granted just how short life is, or perhaps we just forget because we’re constantly on the “grind” which is perfectly understandable because we’re humans, after all. It’s nice to have reminders of the importance of slowing down.

  • Catherine

    I’ve heard all three of these men throughout the years and they are very enlightening. I suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and I’ve created a burden on myself that only I can dig myself out of. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Lolitta Gevorkova

      Hi, Catherine. YES! I’m so glad you find them inspiring and I hope you stick around for our next post on minimalism. Thank you for reading our work.

  • Vjb

    I have a new term – decrapinating – applies to both physical and mental living

  • Elizabeth

    And this is EXACTLY what I want from Evernote – an elegant tool to simplify, minimize and digitally corral my stuff so I can actively live and enjoy my life.
    Thx for the article & videos – I’m psyched!

  • BrownSugarBritches

    I am trying to minimalize my life. I have three kids, make a median salary (which means I struggle), and we all live in a one bedroom apartment. Every corner, nook, and cranny is filled with something out of date, out of style, or out of season. Children grow through clothing, shoes, and toys so quickly that I’ve yet to be able to purge anything…while continuing to add more. I’ve been reading and yearning for a complete overhaul, but as has been stated: it’s much easier said than done. I recently started the process in the bathroom; as it’s much easier to let go of toiletries and other miscellaneous conveniences as opposed to sorting through beloved toys and treasures. I removed clutter, expired or “almost empty” products. And really tried to maximize space and productivity. We start our day in the bathroom and so it sets the tone with simple sleek clean design that has purpose. I hope to forward this on to the other parts of our home and our life… but I’m in no hurry because I want to develop methods and habits; not check items off the list.

    • Lolitta Gevorkova

      Hi, there. Thank you for sharing your story with us! Oh, man. I can’t image how difficult it must be to take on decluttering with kids because you have more than just yourself to think of. I’m proud of you for focusing on habits. This is so important and many skip this part. I recommend checking out Becoming Minimalist for resources on decluttering with children: – I hope this helps!

  • Juan

    Less is more!

    • Lolitta Gevorkova

      SPOT ON!

  • April

    Thank you for this reminder. We jumped started at Christmas. I just couldn’t do it anymore. Too much stuff and too many presents bought that were not important to further a person’s life! We backed way off giving and receiving. We chose to have a shared dinner at home with our friends for Christmas. We only exchanged one gift with our children and gave our grandchildren clothing and books. We are looking soon towards retirement so we need to pare down ~ we’ll be traveling in a tricked out van so possessions will be limited! We need to get focused this spring on getting rid of more things that aren’t creating joy and serving a significant purpose for our lives 🙂

    • Lolitta Gevorkova

      Of course, April! Thank you for sharing your story with us. I especially admire how you’re being more mindful around Christmas. I personally had a BIG culture shock around Christmas time when I began spending it with my husband’s family and it has been difficult for me to adapt to. This year, we’ve also began to slowly focus on experience gifts instead of physical gifts. For our parents, we also gifted a nice dinner. Great minds think alike. Keep up the wonderful work and don’t get discouraged!

  • Frank Zeek

    You might issue an explanation of how to use evernote, in the first place!

    • Pamela Rosen

      Frank, If you’re new to using Evernote, there are numerous online resources. is a great place to start, but you’ll also find terrific resources from our community and from professionals like Our forums give you a chance to ask any question, so you’ll be up and running on Evernote in no time. -Pam R

  • Gjermund Bjaanes

    This is exactly what I have been working on, but I didn’t think of the name Minimalism (even though it’s obvious, I suppose).

    I have always been into decluttering, but it never stuck. I never got into any good habits for it. This time though: it all started with a little book by Marie Kondo called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. This book is a bit wierd, because the author is a bit wierd – but the general message of having less stuff that doesn’t contribute to your happiness is key. I am currently on a journey to declutter and remove things in my life. I feel lighter after every step.

  • Gaelle

    Minimalism is very important now that our lives are definitely digitalized. I think it’s a good thing to have this technology, as long as we control it and not let it control us. Simplifying, being mindful helps us refocus on real life. Technology helps us gaining time if we resist the temptation of losing time on useless distractions