Downsize This: a Failure and a Temptation to Complicate (Notes About a Simple Life, Part 3)

Dear reader,

In the last post promised you the next post in simplifying our lives will be about the garden. Well, to be honest, life happened in between and since nobody is perfect, I failed following the Simple Life agenda for a day or three or a week.

Last week I was super busy preparing for the second part of the very first Slovenian Solution Focused Professional Training (link to the event in SLO language). Following the Simple Life Notes, I thought I would get the most ideas engaging in meaningful activities like gardening, walking in the nature or reading, but instead I was sitting in front of my laptop and about half of that time was mere nonsense. Though I do realize this is as well a part of creative process, I wasn’t particularly proud of myself. What was worse, I began to browse some stupid webpages with clothes and outfits and even ordered some things, though a new pair of jeans is the last thing I need.

I felt pretty bad. Though the training was awesome and I really enjoyed it (the participants as well, so they say), I knew deep down I’m not following the Simple Life Notes anymore and that bothered me.

Luckily yesterday we had some very nice friends coming over and I was happy for a while. But today again, not many productive or meaningful activities from my side. Again I noticed myself browsing and looking at some skirts I don’t need and blouses I won’t wear. So wtf? I decided to take a nap.

But couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t tired physically. My mental capacities were tired, because the training programme was hard intellectual work and also a huge responsibility, because I really wanted to make the most use of our training for our participants. Since this is the first training in Slovenia, I couldn’t draw upon existing experience, because there weren’t any. So naturally I was tired and empty afterwards.

What now? Should I continue blaming myself for breaking the Notes I wrote? Should I just drop the whole experiment and return back to the old habits? Should I not tell you about it and come back to you with some other posts about how fabulous our training was?

I listened to my inner dialogue for a moment. It was a nasty and rough monologue and my head was nearly exploding. So I got up. approached my piano and sat down. I heard a melody in my head, which cleared my mind and let my thoughts go away one by one slowly and gently. Started playing. It felt good, though I made several mistakes. Played some more. Pieces like Beethoven and Chopin. And then the sun came out from cloudy sky. And I smiled, because it was all good. I didn’t fail at anything. I’m not competing with anyone. I’m not trying to prove anything. Or accomplish anything. I just want to explore and play with simplicity. It’s work in progress. When you are ready, life gives you a lesson. When you are not ready, you won’t recognize it. The best lessons aren’t meant to be pleasant. And learning happens in many ways. Guess I was ready for my lesson.

My piano is a great way for me to clear my head and let me be in contact with my senses through balancing heart and mind. It has been like that since I was 4 years old and wanted to have a piano. Now I have one, a baby grand. And it helps me discover that I do deserve to talk to me in a gentle and supportive way, even though I “failed” my agenda for a couple of days. My failure was only contemporary, compared to the rest of the time when I was doing great. So why would I want to treat myself poorly for learning?

No need to complicate things. Even when you fail. A temptation is big, yes it is. And yet, it’s your choice, that only you can make.

Wish you gentle monologues, even during times when you are not proud of yourself. You are learning. That’s actually something to congratulate yourself!


My baby grand

My friend who never judges. Even when I make mistakes.

Downsize This: Offline is the New Luxury (Notes about a Simple Life)

Dear reader,

can you imagine life without your cell phone? Do you wish your day had at least 30 hours so you could manage your TO-DO lists? Are you craving for more and have many future plans of what needs to happen before you can finally be free/happy/fulfilled? Are you feeling guilty because you don’t visit fitness too often or because you don’t always eat like you are supposed to? Is your closet full of clothes yet you’ve got nothing to wear?

You are not alone in this. Most of us are facing these challenges. Especially the younger generation is overwhelmed with plans, speed and cravings. Thought you might like to join my little experiment, if you’ve reached the point where you want to make some change. During the next couple of months there will be a series of blogs titled

Downsize this: … … (Notes about a Simple Life)

You will be invited to go on a journey of downsizing and eliminating things and habits that make our lives complicated. In each blog I’ll share with you a story on a certain topic and you are welcome to add your own stories to it. Life doesn’t have to be hard, that’s the lesson I’ve already learned. But in practice, as said 3516865161 times already, there’s a huge difference between simple and easy. Downsizing and simplifying is far from easy. And yet I believe it can be done.

Throughout the following months I’ll share with you some ideas about what I might do to make my life simpler, what the effects were after trying it out and whether it has been worth it. Today I’ll start with eliminating online presence.

Internet is a great tool. So is a computer and a smart phone. About half of my clients have found me over internet and I work with people from many different continents. My online presence is therefore crucial. Further, internet enables me to be in contacts with my distant friends. That’s a great thing and I appreciate having this option. However I noticed I spend way too much time online, sometimes just clicking between Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Gmail, Outlook, Instagram, Ebay, Guardian, Academia, and many time consuming popular science articles I don’t even remember the title the next second closing the tab. I’m even beginning to notice that my attention can’t stick to more than two paragraphs. I’m not even sure I can manage to read a paper book for more than 20 minutes and not get distracted, especially when I hear a notification on my phone. Sometimes the first thing I do in the morning is checking my phone and the last thing before I go to bed. I have 5 mail accounts, two websites, two Skype accounts, a Whatsapp, Snapchat, Messenger, iMessage GTalk and even Doximity though I never use it. Not to mention that I would probably feel more naked if I left my phone at home than to forget to put my shoes on.

So I have to admit that it’s not me anymore who is in control and uses technology as a tool, but it’s become vice versa. And I don’t like it, so something has to change. It’s clutter and it’s consuming too much of my time and energy. Can somebody who works online manage to stay offline? I believe it is possible, but I’m not sure I can do it. But I’ll try.

Downsize this to:

  • two email accounts: one business and one private. Shut down gmail and other accounts and activate forward options
  • checking emails when I want to, not when they want to be read (resisting the urge, I’ll turn off the push option on my phone, but do that gradually)
  • using common software to share updates from one spot to all the social media
  • taking time for Facebook once a day and this will NOT be while I’m having a snack or a cup of tea. Turn off Facebook notifications on my phone and post updates only to Ribalon Facebook page, meaning slowly reducing the amount of info I put on my personal profile. Only accept friend request from people I call friends in real life
  • eliminating all the apps and accounts I’m not using weekly
  • working online on Skype days fully, but other days stay mostly offline. Working means working, not browsing.

Downsizing will be replaced by:

  • reading books and printed articles (or maybe on iPad if printing means waste of forrests – but iPad has to be without wifi)
  • fostering personal contacts (calling or meeting people or schedule a Skype)
  • handwriting innovative ideas, project outlines, passing thoughts that might need further investigation. I should buy a special book for this very purpose
  • learning a new language
  • playing piano more often
  • spending more time outside (even without phone)

This might sound unrealistic, however fortune favours the bold, doesn’t it?

So let’s see what I’m already doing that makes me confident I can do more?

  • I already don’t watch any TV
  • I’m using newsfeed eradicator on Facebook on my working computer, so I don’t see any newsfeeds (recommend it!)
  • I don’t pick up the phone calls if I’m in the middle of work
  • I try not to do other things while on computer, like eating or listening to radio.

I read somewhere that offline is the new luxury. Let’s see whether that’s true.

Are you on board with me? Thanks in advance for your thoughts 🙂



Found this photo on the internet. Can’t even remember where. This definitely calls for a change (sorry I don’t know the source!)