How Minimalism Can Make You More Productive

How Minimalism Can Make You More Productive

one of the biggest benefits I’ve received from living a life with less has been that I’ve been able to create more I know it sounds ironic so hear me out eight years ago just after graduating college I decided to become a minimalist it forced me to ask some important questions about the life I was pursuing and eventually led me to redefine my idea of success instead of the house tucked behind the white picket fence I imagined a life where I had enough I had work that was fulfilling and relationships that fueled me sometimes I think people get caught up in the rat race because it’s just an easier target to aim for an intentional life requires a bit more thought and it’s not as easy to find b-roll for here’s the thing about minimalism a lot of people think that once you become a minimalist you no longer have ambition they picture someone sitting quietly in their home happy to watch the world pass them by but that version didn’t really sit with me even if I had millions of dollars and all my bills paid until the end of time I’d still be driven to create so for me I quickly realized that I could apply some of these minimalist principles that worked really well for my personal life to help me with my creative work here’s how minimalism has made me more productive setting priorities when you identify what you really want to create say to direct a documentary or write your first book you need to drop every non-essential work task that doesn’t support that how many phone calls meetings or lunch dates are distracting you from achieving your goal someone wants to have coffee to pick your brain sorry your friends want to go out drinking on a Thursday night not this time you need the discipline to say no so that you can put everything you have into the few things you say yes to eliminating distractions have you ever opened up your web browser to search for something real quick and then all the sudden two hours have gone by and you’re on your 15th time of watching that Karma’s a bitch video [Music] the same tools that allow us to create our work are also booby-trapped with infinite distractions for half the population it’s literally a booby trap Instagram Twitter even email I found that I couldn’t use these in moderation since I compulsively check them so I cut out the distraction I schedule all emails in social media for a small block during my workday and sometimes I fall back into my old habits but when I’m doing my best work or I’m closing in on a deadline I will be vigilant about this practice feeling productive and being productive are two completely different things staying organized one of the first benefits people find from clearing away their physical clutter is they remove friction from their lives less cleaning less distractions less things to bump into I applied that same approach to organize my digital files online when I created a system for editing and organizing my files each project had a similar workflow I was able to fall back into these pathways that I’d previously paid at the time of making this video I’ve filmed and edited over 50 podcast episodes each one has an almost identical structure of folders tags and deliverables create a process that can carry you through all your work adjust when necessary but don’t reinvent your approach for each project focusing on the essentials I once had a job interview with CollegeHumor back when I was still a junior at Temple University I’d impressed them enough with my real and some of the videos that I made that they decided to bring me in this is a photo of my actual trip up to New York from Philadelphia I bought the t-shirt and tie from a thrift store the day before anyway as a part of the interview they had me edit a project of theirs to see what I could do in 30 to 45 minutes and I completely it up I spent all my time tinkering away with the audio and the sound effects in the transitions completely ignoring the story and here’s the lesson you gotta save the polish for the very end imagine writing a book chapter by chapter making each sentence perfect but then three chapters in you decide to take the story in an entirely different direction now you’ve wasted all your time perfecting things upfront when you could have saved it for the very end focus on the essentials first finding passion I only chose to work with clients and projects that I was truly passionate about when you find work that you love it’s still work but getting started it takes just a little bit less effort procrastination is rare and I find myself naturally drawn to create rather than forcing myself to sit down to just knock out another video if you find yourself constantly complaining about the work you’re doing pissed off or annoyed at the clients of God or your boss if you hate your job make a change productivity isn’t about cramming as much work as you can into one day you’ll burn yourself out before you ever develop a routine true productivity is about creating a sustainable and balanced life that you can keep up every day thanks for watching if you like this video check out my podcast the ground-up show it covers the intersection of these two ideas minimalism and creativity I interview some amazing guests about their stories how they made things happen and practical lessons for building something for yourself get it at ground-up show calm


99 thoughts on “How Minimalism Can Make You More Productive”

  • yes, I have become more minimalist during the last few months. But as a creative, a designer and crafter, I do find sometimes it's hard to be minimalistic, then again, i've donated many art supplies to friends who need it and other things im selling right now. But I completely understand about routines. I just sleep in too much at times. But on other days, I am productive, I write out everything I want to accomplish, I even keep a journal, I do skillshare classes and separate days out for certain things. I think I should be a bit more strict on myself. Thank you for this video.

  • "When you find work you love, it's still work" I find this mindset to be flawed. We are groomed since birth what the word "work" entails, labeling something you enjoy as "work" gives it a negative connotation. Referring to your work as "tasks" makes it seem easier to manage, get done and pushes us to achieve. As humans we are only satisfied with progress and achievement and going to "work" doesn't feel like either of those. Change your mind, change your life.

  • thank you so much for this. I'm in the process of creating a presentation for our office on how Minimalism can inspire Productivity and this video has really helped me bring forward the message i want to send.

  • Dang Matt, you're spitting truths.

    I first watched this video about six months ago. Now, coming back to it, I realized how I've come to implement a lot of what you mention in my own life. I am in a way better place now, and would credit much of it to the things you bring up in the vid.

    So thanks man, you're a big inspiration! All the best from Sweden!

  • Andrew Osorio says:

    Gran video, me gusta colocar en práctica, conceptos de este vídeo sobre minimalismo y con ello ser más productivo.

  • there's a difference between you and other youtubers

    you,I wanna watch the video you uploaded
    other youtubers,I just listen to them

    and it's not a bad thing…I think..but you're different and it's great
    I was kinda young when I found your channel
    idk why but I subscribed even tho I wasn't interested in your vids
    idk,they looked nice to my 13 year old brain

    now,3 years later,my mom wants to buy a new house,your minimalism is really helping me to deside what I need and what I don't

    so thank you Matt for helping me organize my life a little better

  • Jakub Wiśniewski says:

    Hey Matt! I've started watching Your videos daily. Im going to inject Your wisdom and experience into my life. Stay true.

  • Hi Matt, i doubt you'll ever read this but i want to say thank you. this video has both inspired and giving me something to reference in my journey to be more productive and creative.

  • Amber Clarvit says:

    Matt, you have the coolest and cleanest video format. Your videos, as I'm sure you know, are so appealing to watch because of their high quality and unique angles. Plus, you add humour and most importantly meaning to your "food for thought" videos. Thanks for sharing your creative eye, wisdom, and biceps.

  • Nice self-stroke job you privileged bitch. No actual practical tips here just some douche showing off his apartment.

  • A Question: Is YouTube considered social media? If, Yes, should I put it off…. or I ….. I'm even too afraid to write it.

  • Love these super meta yet obvious takes on productivity – this is the kind of elegantly-presented insightful thinking I signed up for!!

  • “Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.”
    ‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

  • So, I've got a story about this, but I hope it helps others find their way to a better way of living that is healthier for them and what they really need to pursue using their talents.

    I am a senior in college and "graduate" in a few weeks. Lately, I've been finding myself just seeing less need for the material things in my life that took me away from being creative as well. I've never really thought about until now, but I've just been removing myself from the things that were distractions and started getting the cogs moving towards a more minimalist lifestyle. There are so many seniors who graduate college and say they want to attend graduation for closure, they want all their friends to know on social media, etc. They're all caught up in the world. They want bigger houses. Bigger salaries. All the latest gadgets at their fingertips. The latest fashions—you get my point.

    But I've never had social media…unless YouTube or Bēhance counts, I guess. And my "closure" with college wouldn't even be in finding a job necessarily in my own career field. It's about working towards a better me—learning how to embrace myself for who I am or was before I had let society impact my lifestyle. How I can drive forward with those creative ambitions I had without sitting in a cubicle with them? Would I be happier in the pursuit of less vs. more? Instead of wanting to upgrade something just because it's old tech, why not find a use for it? Why spend thousands of dollars or work-out myself to the bone to be someone I'm not.

    Sure. I could be some hotshot freelance graphic designer with clients lined up outside of my doors, or some big wig, white-collar corporate exec, but is that really the end-game? Is that what I want for my life? As Matt says here, it's a rat race. And a lot of us don't realize how caught up we get into it all until we realize what is most important to us truly. We're encouraged to have the latest gadgets, biggest homes, high-paying jobs, etc. But what really matters in the crux of it all?

    Yeah, you can get rid of everything that isn't necessary in your life and then call yourself a minimalist, but minimalism is not just about the material possessions you have. It's a lifestyle, and it's different for everyone. Ask yourself what adds actual value into your life. You need to be happy, for instance—what makes you happy? For instance, one of my favorite hobbies is playing video games; however, I had let it interfere with my creative work by becoming too engrossed in playing games—and I didn't notice that until college studies hit the fan for my graphic design degree.

    Suddenly, I didn't have time for that hobby anymore and realized that I didn't need to waste as much time or money on it as I did playing games that I often didn't enjoy or would only enjoy sometimes. I didn't need to own multiple consoles. A bunch of different games I'd never have time to play. A bunch of old games. Physical copies of games I could've downloaded. I didn't need to talk to random people in voice chat online who would just get irate when losing a match in a game. You get my point.

    Oh, let's talk health too while we're at it. I'm a little different to Matt's line of thinking. Very different, actually. I had a lot of unnecessary regulations in my life each time I started setting schedules for my workouts, diet plans, etc. To me, that made my life more complicated, and the things that were actual tasks for me to do always ended up being shelved for later. I kept giving up on myself when those schedules became too much for me to follow and would feel terrible afterwards due to burn-out. I guess you can say I'm not only transitioning into a minimalist lifestyle in terms of the physical space, but also the mental, emotional, spiritual…the whole nine yards, really. And, yeah. I'm not worried about my weight or looking trendy any longer or having washboard abs. Let people think what they want to think. I'm focused on just health now, and if I had to make a change to something in my life going one way or the other, then I'd make it out of necessity to live a long life. I made that change because I found out I had to love myself first if I ever wanted to be happy…and society pushes us to change that about ourselves and be someone we're not. It's why I never had an actual social media account in the first place.

    So, I want people here to know that you don't have to fill a particular checklist to be a minimalist. Minimalism is different for everyone. You're not a robot—you're human. That's my point. So I urge people to change their perspectives. It's not just about having less—it's about finding out what makes you, you. Who are you really? What are your talents? What do you really need to do in your life to be happy? Maybe it's traveling, love with a significant other, being creative, minimizing the impact of technology on your life, etc.

    In many ways, I wanted to better myself as a creative, but letting these thoughts of self-doubt and a lack of confidence in that I didn't have enough, didn't look the part, or needed a particular kind of job, grade, or salary to be happy for the rest of my life made me lose a part of myself each time in the process.

    After this college semester ends for me in two weeks, I'm going to change my life for the better and embrace that minimalist way I've approached a lot of things in my life in the way that suits me. I hope others find a way that suits them, too.

  • MIT. Most important task. I live off a calendar (for work) I schedule blocks of time to tackle my most important tasks, everything else falls to the wayside during that time. Then all my little tasks are tackled towards the end of the day.

  • I never comment so just wanna say thank you for the amazing content, your videos are made in impeccable detail and are extremely enjoyable

  • This may seem random, but from someone who struggled w/ sleep issues for many years it's true… you have WAY too much light entering your bedroom!
    Best advice on the topic – in your bedroom, you're ideally trying to recreate the environment of a cave (where humans slept for 98% of our history 😀 )… dark, cool and quiet

  • Second time seeing this! Completely missed the "Karma is a bitch" XD I totally have done that multiple times, and on top of that, the one you showed is my favorite!

  • What camera would you get for 1000? I have a fuji x20 or xt20? not sure about the full name and im not satisfied with the screen(cant turn it) looking for an alternative.

  • Tun Karnjanakul says:

    I want to share this with you I used to leave a minimalist life far off my life but what I found I think it is boring life at some point. Now I can say I have things Not too much and not too little and I happy with it now

  • Private Private says:

    I don’t know that ill ever become a minimalist but, it isn’t that I don’t get what you’re saying. It’s also good that you’re young. It’s very difficult to go from a lifetime of accumulation and working for it all, to just letting it all go. It feels as if you’ve thrown away so much of your life. Perhaps, it’s just been easier to “think” that I’m not throwing away my life by keeping unused items. But, inch by inch, I do try to work past it and I do get better at it. Although it’s a bit of a dark note in a way, getting rid of things, at least for me, also allows me to let go of people. It’s just like a muscle you have to flex of getting rid of things to gain happiness and freedom.

  • taylor leeanne king says:

    So I deleted all my social media (except youtube) and I have been mindfully binging all your content. This is just the beginning, but I think you might be changing my life.

    June 7th, 2019

    Let’s see if I’m right.

  • Bianca Tamura says:

    you went to TEMPLE?! omg we went to the same school i cant believe this. i just graduated from temple and i look up to you so so much

  • "True Productivity is about creating a sustainable and balanced life that you can keep up everyday." I love your ending.

  • Mikael Åmark says:

    Informative video. Speaking of clutter: What questions do you ask to guide a minimalist approach in any area?

  • my main takeaway "true productivity is creating a sustainable and balanced life" not burning yourself out by craming as much work into one day. I've theoretically known this for about a year now. and i have tried several "now is the time" attemps that never lasted over two weeks…..but yes, it is about doing it gradually, consitently and sustainably. minimalistic possibly. thank you so much for this unbelievably helpful video, which brings it to the point in a beautiful way!

  • One of my friends just doesn't know what is the thing that he's passionate about. He's 24 years old and hasn't figured it out yet. How can he deal with it? What kind of advice can I give him?

  • Hey its Ryan from the office. something about you bro haha. Keep inspiring you've helped me out a lot and gave me plenty to think about since I followed you. Amazing work as always

  • Just have a life that you are comfortable with. God has stopped creating things millions of years ago. We humans never stop making things but look what we have done. The world is now riddled with rubbish and pollutants. Just enjoy the simple things that you do and forget about what others are up to …

  • Most of the people who I think live better lives than me have one thing in common , they all have their House Walls painted White

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