Optimization is key to making the most out of our time and resources.
Optimization applies to virtually any area of life, from buying clothes to choosing what friends to keep close. You see, everything impacts your life and its perceived quality.
It is said that we are the average of the 5 people we keep closest, the ones that we interact the most with. So, it’s paramount to understand that when we choose to spend time with someone, it will influence not only the moments spent together, but also us in general.
We’ll go into details on the mechanics of optimization in one of the next chapters. We’ll go over what strategies to follow, and how to identify the most wasteful activities you’re involved in (and maybe even not aware of it).
Optimization is ultimately about gaining time. You need to break the cycle of being busy, and bring awareness over all of your activities. What are the ones that are redundant and do not bring lasting value? Break the habit that empower these now.
Optimization is an ongoing process. After years of doing it, I still find new things to optimize every single day. I optimize the space I live in, my interaction with my friends and family, the activities I get involved into, what things I need and buy, the way I pack and travel, the food I eat, the way I exercise, the content I read, the way I think and my Observer.
I find true quality and purpose in minimalism. I always pick the things that have multiple functions. I surround myself with only the things I actually use. Any object that takes up space in my home must have a clear function, and I must have used it at least once in the previous 6 months. If I find I didn’t, then it’s clear to me it’s outdated. When I find such a thing I have 3 options: sell it (if it still has market value), give it away (if it has personal value, is in perfect shape or can be of use to anyone) or simply throw it in the trash bin.
My focus is creating a space that is highly practical, a space that serves me and not the other way around. I find no point in giving up space to things and meaningless objects. I keep my books in PDFs, I keep my music online, I keep a maximum of 10 trinkets, I do not own any collections of coins or stamps or any other useless stuff, and when I buy new furniture I get rid of everything that’s old.
I’m only interested in the practical nature of an object, and dismiss expensive ones that have inflated/fake value. My focus is spending the least money, while getting the best reasonable quality. The less I spend on vanity, the more time I free up (by not needing to work more to make extra money). I find no reason in working for 3 months to buy a new sofa. I’ll invest 1 week of work into that, and move on.
The more I optimize, the more time I gain, by wasting less on provisional things. Things are things. They should be simply used, and never become attached to them. There are far more important things to invest your time in, than objects.
Try to understand what part of it is your structure (that is, how much are these objects worth to you, personally), and how much of it is the given structure (that is, you wanting the particular objects out of a need of social confirmation, and because at some point you were tricked into believing that they bear true value).
Optimization will bring you closer to the things that offer real value to you.
We all find true value in different things. This is why considering what other people use and suggest is not good enough. We should spend time researching such things as this is time well invested.
Shift from wasteful to optimized, by bringing awareness on what bears true value and meaning to you. Break the inertia of pursuing things that are simply sold by outside social structures, as it’s a very destructive path to be on.
Identify the things that are worth keeping close, and get rid of the rest, because they’re just wasting space. You don’t need bulk. You don’t need more stuff. Less is more. Truly, having less things competing for your attention brings a great feeling of freedom.
For many months in my life, I’ve only had a backpack. That was it; no other possessions than a laptop, a phone and 20 items of clothing. That was the time I felt the freest – I could have been anywhere and do anything (and I was and did) and I had no stuff to keep me their prisoner. No fake responsibilities and no waste of my time.