No-No-November 2020 - Week 1: Do Less & Live More!


No-No-November 2020 pre-holiday life declutter has officially begun. Things might be a little different this year going into the holidays but there will still lots of opportunity for joy & celebrations. Join me in my quest so that together we can fully embrace the holidays when they arrive.


Implementing a “NO” philosophy can mean different things to different people but, overall, it is about having free time instead of a packed schedule, enough sleep to better enjoy the best of what every day offers, organized spaces instead of cluttered corners, peace of mind instead of stress and anxiety, a smaller environmental footprint instead of hyperconsumption, and much more (or much less as the case may be).


To get the most out of No-No-November, we start by minimizing in Week 1. Ditching pointless, unrewarding, or redundant tasks will free up time for more traditional decluttering in Week 2. Week 3 will focus on removing virtual clutter leaving Week 4 to finish off anything still needing attention after Thanksgiving (regardless of what Thanksgiving looks like this year).

Everyone’s list may be a little different but removing these 8 activities will move you in the right direction. Consider quitting, reducing, or postponing these things until after the holidays… or indefinitely:


1.) NO watching screens – It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you watch 2 hours a day, consider cutting it down to 1. If you are a Netflix binger, consider limiting yourself to weekends only and for a set amount of time. Commit to not jumping into a new series immediately after you finish your current one. Pandemic added bonus: Minimizing screen time can improve sleep which is a problem during stressful times.


2.) NO attending nonproductive meetings (Zoom or otherwise) – Some would suggest most meetings are unproductive. If you are in a position to cancel nonessential meetings - do it. If there are meetings that you could skip without penalty, skip them. Consider incorporating a strategy of SCRUM-inspired 5 minute standup meetings which keep meetings short and focused. Pandemic added bonus: Depending on your work setting, fewer meetings mean less exposure and less Zoom burnout!


3.) NO housekeeping unnecessarily – Does it really make a difference if you make your bed perfectly every morning and put all 10 decorative pillows back in their perfect little places? If it doesn’t bring real joy or function to your life – stop doing it. Don’t put dishes in the sink just to put them in the dishwasher later – just put them in the dishwasher in the first place. Place a moratorium on any meal that uses more than 5 ingredients – which will keep your kitchen tidier with little effort. Pandemic added bonus: The option for fake backgrounds in Zoom or Google Meet makes your house HGTV ready in a click.


4.) NO playing on your phone – Are you one of the last people in America still addicted to Candy Crush? Do you doom-scroll Twitter for hours? Is TikTok your Achille’s heel? Have you ever texted “what’s up?” to 10 different people in a row? Maybe it is time to give it up. Studies show you’ll be happier & less stressed with a little less phone time, especially if you use the time you save for something you actually love.

5.) NO waiting in line – Do you find yourself waiting in lines either in person or in your car? Stop going to the store during peak hours. Plan better to avoid rush. Make appointments or reservations when possible. Do you go to the store multiple times a week? Make a personal commitment to go less often and ALWAYS have a list. Consider a personal policy to never go to the store unless you have at least 10 things on your list. Consider exploring more online ordering options so that you don’t have to go to the store at all. Pandemic bonus: It’s a lot easier to social distance or minimize expose with these options.

6.) NO consuming “fast” food – Going through drive throughs or carrying out is usually not so fast all things considered. By the time you decide to go, get your coat on, get to where you’re going, order, wait, wait some more, get the food, return, set the food out, and realize they forgot napkins you probably could have spent less time, money, and effort by either proactively packing a lunch, just microwaving something yummy out of the freezer, or keeping it simple out of your own pantry. Pandemic thought: If you are going to get carryout consider supporting smaller local restaurants that really need the patronage.


7.) NO browsing online - Notice that I didn’t say shopping online. Shopping online, when done right, can save lots of time, money, fuel, and frustration, but browsing online is a whole other thing. In truth, it’s pretty much just a hobby, that frequently leads to unnecessary purchases and wasted money. If you are going to shop online, always have a specific goal, list, budget, and time limit.


8.) NO over doing it – A 5-course meal that leaves you stuffed and lethargic should be avoided. A night of excessive drinking that leaves you groggy, dragging, and unproductive the next day is something to be resisted. Pulling an all-nighter for work or school can lead to days of feeling like garbage & even leaves you more susceptible to sickness. The candy binge that leads to the sugar crash will probably be regretted, so why do it? Save the time. Save the money. Save the aftermath.


There you have it. Try them all or some or come up with your own, but think about what you can avoid or reduce or quit. These changes are investment in time-saving that will pay out big dividends for the rest of the year and beyond.


There will be good things ahead. Let’s be ready for them.

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