5 Ways You Can Improve Your Freelancing Work and Life with Minimalism

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Freelancing Work and Life with Minimalism

Want a simple way to improve your freelancing work and life? To have fewer headaches, more fun, more effective and purposeful work with your clients and projects, more freedom, and more time to do what you want?

Seems too good to be true? It’s not: you can improve your freelancing work and life with minimalism.

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Freelancing Work and Life with Minimalism

It’s not a magic pill, of course – such a thing doesn’t exist. You’ll need to put some initial effort in to tweak the way you’ve been used to doing things. But the payoff is that minimalism does simplify and improve your freelancing work and life.

What Minimalism Is?

Minimalism is eliminating the unnecessary. Specifically, it’s getting rid of the unnecessary stuff and activities from your life to free up time and energy for the things that actually matter to you.

That can apply to getting rid of junk from your life, trimming down your business and freelance work to the essential tasks that actually get you desired results, and not worrying about all those little things that bug you and keep you up at night.

How Minimalism Assists You, the Freelancer

Minimalism can help you trim down the amount of hours you spend working while still keeping the same level of quality and output.

And it can help you free up time, space, and energy to do more of what you enjoy outside of freelancing, although you should be doing what you love in the first place, right?.

Yeah yeah. Sounds nice and all. And it seems like maybe possibly it could work, right? So why actually consider minimalism, even if only to start off with small changes? How can minimalism assist you, the freelancer?

Well, I have the answer for you right here. Here are 5 ways minimalism can improve your freelance work and life.

1. Less Headaches

By trimming the unnecessary and focusing only on the things that matter to you, you’ll have less stuff and activities in your life. But the stuff and activities will be important to you. You’ll be living a simple life. And a simple life means less headaches.

  • Minimalism = simple living
  • Simple living = less things to do and own
  • Less things to do and own = less headaches

Clear Mind
Image credit: longo

Consuming only that which is required to sustain life. Adherents may choose simple living for a variety of personal reasons, such as spirituality, health, increase in ‘quality time’ for family and friends, reducing their personal ecological footprint, stress reduction, personal taste or frugality. – Wikipedia

Perhaps the most famous statement on minimalism ie. simple living is Henry David Thoreau’s book Walden, where he successfully lived and then reported a life of simple and sustainable living. You’ll have less activities that you’re doing throughout the day, but you’ll have more time and energy to do them. Less stress, less on your mind.

And you won’t be thinking about or worrying over tons of those little-but-ultimately-unnecessary things you accumulate throughout the day, very useful for when you go to sleep at night.

2. More Fun

Since you’ve trimmed the unnecessary out, or at least as much of it as you could, you have less to worry and think about now. With less to think about, you’re in the moment more. You have less guilt during “fun” time because you’re on top of the few tasks that are critical.

Fun Smile
Image credit: nanagyei

You’re in the moment more. You’re filling up your newly-freed time with that “fun” activity.

I’ve made space for what’s most important to me, by eliminating the unnecessary. That’s what minimalism is really about, at its core, not emptying your life. – Leo Babauta (Author and minimalist practitioner )

By eliminating all those things that ultimately don’t matter to you, you’ll do more of what does. And since you have more time for it, you’ll enjoy it more, be more in the moment. Whether that’s your work, family, sport, art, creative stuff, whatever.

3. More Effective and Purposeful Work

By being minimalist, you’re trimming down unnecessary tasks in your freelancing work. As a result, you’re more effective with your time spent working with clients and on your projects. Your work becomes more effective and purposeful.

Minimalist Office
Image credit: unimatrixZxero

You end up following the 80-20 rule: focusing on 20% of stuff that gets you 80% of results. You get more results achieved in less time, since you don’t waste time checking off an ultimately-meaningless to do list full of menial tasks.

You have more time to do the important tasks. Plus, you’re not thinking about busying yourself or concerning yourself with a bunch of small tasks, so your mind is more clear and focused on the actually-important task at hand.

Not tweaking this website design, or adding that social media widget, or installing plugins (the 80% of tasks that don’t matter). But split-testing and improving your copy and home page design to increase the conversion rate for your project or clients, which results in more sales or sign ups (the 20% that does).

4. More Freedom

By having less stuff, you’re not attached to as much. By having less stuff, you don’t need to lug around as much. You’re free to move around more. Whether that’s around town, flying across your country, or exploring the world. By having less elements on your website, you’re free to shape, mold, and expand as needed, rather than having to juggle tons of things on the home page, sidebar, menu navigation, and so forth.

Free Walking
Image credit: joiseyshowaa

By having to do less tasks, you’re not as attached to your work. You stop being one of those “always on” freelancers who’s at the mercy of clients and projects.

You become more nimble to take your work, business, or website to new directions, finally move into that next stage you “never had time for,” or simply expand. By having less, you have more freedom to do.

5. More Time to Do What You Want

You have less to do, own, and maintain. But by eliminating the unnecessary, the things you now do, own, and maintain are important to you – remember, that’s the key to minimalism.

More Time
Image credit: CodeMonkeyWithACanon

As a result, more time frees up. It’ll feel like having extra hours added to your day. And who doesn’t love that? You now have more time to do what you want.

You can use your newly-freed time for whatever you like: expanding your business, doing more of the effective work, having more “fun” time, more time for freelancing and getting new clients, pursuing pursuits you didn’t think possible or “had time for” before, traveling, whatever.

Some will spend the extra free time helping family or others… Others may spend the extra free time to improve their quality of life, for example pursuing creative activities such as art and crafts. – Wikipedia

Minimalism? Seems Like a Luxury for the Affluent

Nope. Minimalism isn’t about getting some minimalist-design desk or couch, or buying a Mac for your next big project, or buying some modern slick house.

Minimalist Living Room
Image credit: Wonderlane

All it is: getting rid of the unnecessary to make more room for what’s important to you. Anyone can do that, rich or poor. Removing doesn’t require money.

It doesn’t matter if what you’re getting rid of is a raggedy couch you found in an alley from your dump-of-a-living room or hauling off some $10,000 Italian work-of-art couch from your mansion – removing is removing.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using the 80-20 rule to trim down your multi-million-dollar-a-year-in-profit business or your one-person design firm or whatever – removing unnecessary tasks is removing unnecessary tasks.

In fact, minimalism can be a way to reduce debt, live more frugally, save money, invest money, be more lean with your work and business, and have lower overhead costs while freelancing.

Only good can come from removing the unnecessary, no matter what the cost of the item, how much money you already have, or how big your business is.

You’ve Sold Me – How Do I Improve My Life With This?

Leo Babauta has an excellent and appropriately minimal step-by-step checklist on how to get started with minimalist.

Moleskin Notebook
Image credit: Amir K.

Basically, simple steps involve:

  1. Stop buying unnecessary stuff.
  2. Cut down on buying other stuff.
  3. Get rid of obvious unnecessary things you own.
  4. Repeat but with less obvious things.
  5. Clear out your floor, shelves, closets.
  6. Emotionally detach and get rid of as many of those mementos and stuff you had as a kid.
  7. And so forth.
  8. Rinse and repeat.

Leo also has a useful follow-up about needing less than you think and offers specific examples of how to keep trimming your stuff and activities here.

But I Could Never Give Up

Just try giving up something for a few days or a week.

You’d be surprised at what you realize you can live without:

  • TV
  • Certain snacks
  • Certain foods
  • Clothes you rarely wear
  • Car
  • Video games
  • etc.

What? Give up video games? Are you mad? Again, this isn’t to become some monk or something, depriving yourself of worldly pleasure.

It doesn’t have to be those things specifically. Personalize it. Tailor the list to stuff you deep down know is unimportant to you but you just keep using or doing out of habit and attachment.

Then, and this is key, do a 1-2 week trial of not using or doing those things you think you could never give up.

You’d be surprised with just how much of those things you don’t miss after your trial.

Minimalism Can Improve Your Freelancing Work and Life

Minimalism can improve your freelancing work and life by eliminating the unnecessary. Start off by getting rid of as much stuff and activities as you can that ultimately, deep down don’t matter to you.

Minimalist Flower
Image credit: mindfulness

By doing so, you’ll free up time and energy for the things that do matter to you. The activities, people, and work that you love.

Even within your freelancing work, the 80-20 rule will help you identify and focus on the 20% of tasks and things that give you 80% of results for your clients and projects. Then, you can get rid of the rest of the 80%, freeing up time and space for that 20% that actually matters.

Minimalism will help you to have:

  • Less headaches
  • More fun
  • More effective and purposeful freelancing work
  • More freedom
  • More time to do what you want

Ready to improve your freelancing life and work? Be deep-down honest with yourself and start getting rid of all that unnecessary stuff.

Your turn: How has using minimalism helped you to simplify and improve your freelancing work and life? How much have you been able to increase desired results for your clients and projects while spending less time working?

Oleg Mokhov is a world’s most mobile electronic musician. Born in Russia, raised in US, traveling the world, living unconventionally, making music, building a business.


    • Drew,
    • October 28, 2010
    / Reply

    Getting rid of STUFF has taught me to put less emphasis on possessions and more on experiences. After all, life is about the journey, not the tally of all your toys when you reach the finish line.

    Not to mention, this approach lets me allocate more resources toward the things I really value — ie, a trip to somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit (and will remember forever) rather than yet another “thing” to add to the pile.

    This kind of talk might seem a bit metaphysicial and flower child-ish, but on the contrary, it actually turns out to be a very pragmatic approach. Thanks!

    • Steve,
    • October 28, 2010
    / Reply

    Excellent and thoughtful post.

    A quick thought or two about minimalism:
    Let need (in the broad sense) and not want dictate actions
    Go to any source of expertise other than the seller of the product or service for information.


    I am really into photography which is potentially an extremely expensive way to spend time.
    There is a whole industry, manufacturers, retailers, authors, bloggers who have a vested interest in parting me from my cash.

    I can either spend lots of money which keeps them happy or only spend money when my current equipment will not do something that I need it to do or a piece of my current equipment wears out. Americans spend their whole lives, literally from kindergarten, being brainwashed with the must have latest gear approach whereas the replacement/need approach is much more logical and much more satisfying.

    • Ken,
    • October 28, 2010
    / Reply

    If you have 2 kids and don’t live in a very large home, I’d like to see people live a minimalistic life lol. great concept though!

    • Ryan,
    • October 29, 2010
    / Reply

    I really enjoyed this post. Fortunately, I was raised in a family that valued keeping things simple and minimalistic. So I don’t need a lot to live on, which means when I really want to do something I have the means to do it :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  1. / Reply

    Minimalism is still something I struggle with, not just with physical possessions, but with personal goals and projects. It’s hard for me to combine the need for intense ambition to complete a myriad of projects with the need to slow down and pick out my real passions, do one thing well rather than a hundred things half-assed because there’s not enough hours in the day. I’m learning that it’s ok to have multiple passions, but it pays to focus on one passion at a time. Putting something on the back burner doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t care about it.

    Hope you’ve been well since BlogWorld, Oleg! Drop me a line sometime if you want to catch up! :)

    • Alex Y,
    • October 29, 2010
    / Reply

    Excellent post. I have been very inspired by minimalism. This will be bookmarked!

  2. / Reply

    Great article… thanks for sharing! it’s very original…

    • Niubi,
    • October 29, 2010
    / Reply

    Awesome article, and SO true! I also found that getting into MLM helped – once I put the initial effort in with DubLi, I was rewarded tenfold! Don’t get me wrong, I still have to work hard, but I’m working smart and get more me time. All in all, cool.

  3. / Reply

    Wonderful and very useful points discussed in this article. Actually, I am freelancer myself working from my home office and some of the points have already been through my life. Yes, i agree with minimalism of the things and certainly it is one of the best yet hardest thing to maintain. Thanks for putting your thoughts to help improve freelancing work and life.

    • Ivan,
    • November 4, 2010
    / Reply

    Great post! For a better life!
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. / Reply

    These are excellent tips! Thanks for the great info.

    • Prakash Ghai,
    • May 17, 2016
    / Reply

    Thank you for these wonderful insights on Minimalist Living. Very helpful.

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