Reading Less to Do More

FG_AUTHORS: Alyssa Davis

I read a lot of blogs. It's a pretty entertaining pastime, and it always gives me something interesting to think and talk about. A friend of mine asked me how I find the blogs I read, and the answer is I hardly even know. Sure there are some I subscribe to, others I just check up on, and sometimes I follow links to other authors or articles, or just read the comments and check out new sites that way. It's usually good times - I learn lots and enjoy seeing people's different perspectives on the world.
However, all this internet reading can also be a time suck, and a number of ideas I've read recently are conglomerating in my brain to make me more critical about how I spend my time including time online.
One piece of the puzzle is minimalism and the journey Matt and I are on changing our relationship with stuff. Rather than taking our identity from it, we want to filter what we own by what we value, love and use. It has been a big deal to question, "If it doesn't relate to who I am, why keep it on my shelves or in a box in the closet?" and it has been refreshing to find that removing excess and distracting belongings creates more space and appreciation for what's left. Since letting go of the cheap jewellery I never wear, I've begun actually wearing the jewellery I love. Now that my jewellery isn't "organized" so that it fits packed in a certain space as long as I don't. touch. anything. I can actually see what I own and decide what to wear.
When it comes to the internet, a lot of the reading I do is not very purposeful, but I have all kinds of blogs in my reader that I just read to keep on top of. It's a habit, and it's comforting because I don't have to sit around thinking of my own ideas, I can just soak up other people's. Lately though, I've been feeling like my mind is so full of stuff that there isn't room to take in more new information. I don't want to spend my free time living 9 lives vicariously through strangers on the internet. At this point I have been exposed to a lot of ideas and lifestyles, and now I should probably give more time to living things out than just reading about them.
Related to this is an interesting point I've learned in frugality, and another piece of my time puzzle, that if you don't shop for it you won't buy it. And when you don't buy it, very often you can do without it. A great practice (especially since Matt and I are only two people and both adults) is to skip a week of grocery shopping and eat the food you bought because it was on sale/you had a coupon/you thought you'd use it for that new recipe you never actually made. I am all for having things on hand, but it is so easy to forget they are there when they are stacked at the back of a cupboard and you're buying new food you actually want to eat. I am doing Jello penance this week because I discovered four boxes of it that I don't even remember buying. I am sure it was on sale because I know myself, but it literally could have been last Fall that I bought it (I can imagine my train of thought exactly: "sale! and it won't go bad! and... we eat jello... sometimes....? I'll take FOUR"). So I made a box and have eaten two cups of jello this week. So far. Three boxes to go. And next time I want to buy Jello on sale, I will remember how it's not THAT good and that I left one box in the cupboard as insurance. And not later eat 8 cups of jello in a week.
How does Jello relate to me and my time? I have a ton of ideas, things I want to do and write and learn, but there is such a constant flow of new content to my mind, that I never get to do real justice to those sparks of true inspiration that pop up every once in a while. If I don't spend so much time "shopping" for new ideas, I won't fill my mind-cupboards up with stuff I don't really want to eat. And maybe I can finally fulfill some of those ideas I've been thinking of for so long!

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