Are you in good working order?

On my quest for a deeper sense of minimalism, I’ve begun to recognize what small needs I require not only for my space, but also for my brain and body...the minimums I require day-to-day for a small sense of peace and flow. In the past, I’ve split things up into different lists of attempts and requirements — like a morning routine that’s usually too time-consuming, or a house cleaning list that I procrastinate on. Instead, I threw together my most important things from each of those ongoing areas to create what I’m calling my Good Working Order. On a day where the following things are true, I feel like life is giving me a better launchpad to thrive.

My Good Working Order:

  • Generally getting 7.5 hours sleep (or have gotten it the night before).

  • Completing 15 minutes of yoga/stretching in the morning.

  • Deeply breathing in the outdoor air at least once during the day.

  • Earning enough income so I don't go back into debt.

  • My car can fit two passengers (as a professional declutterer, my car is often filled with other's clutter to be donated) and has at least half a tank of gas (yes, it calms me to know I could get across town and back without stopping).

  • The floors of my home are swept.

  • My desk and kitchen table are clear, and all paper is in a tray--with any related actions written on my to-do list.

  • All of my tasks (and wishes) are categorized in my to-do list. (And if I'm really lucky: plotted out in my calendar on a weekly/monthly basis.)

  • Email inbox count is below 40.

Note: I haven’t added things like “playing music 15 min a day” or whatever other creative wish I hope comes true on a daily basis. Because it’s usually only when I’m swimming in that bare-minimum Good Working Order, that I’m more compelled to, you know, make my dreams come true. Same with eating healthy meals or having great communication with my [insert family member here]. Those are things that I have an easier time completing if — yes! — I can see my desk clearly, not be distracted by the dust on the floor, or am not stressed about meeting my current expenses.

None of my GWO bullet points are necessary to get the harder stuff done. I’ve given lectures to packed audiences after three straight nights of insomnia. I’ve written book chapters while my car was a disaster. I’ve cooked healthy meals while thousands of dollars in debt. But having that sense of my personal Good Working Order gives me something to shoot for. Something concrete. Something that allows me to better know myself, then make changes as I see fit. And something that can absolutely help that harder stuff to get done better, faster, and more often.

Your turn: have a think on the things that might be on your own Good Working Order list. What are the small things you like knowing are done? Write ‘em down. Make them known. Make them happen. And then bask in your flow, however teeny tiny.

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    Fay Wolf