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Leaving the McMansion for the Small Life

Leaving the McMansion for the Small Life
Small House

    Natives to pastoral areas know what it looks like. What was once a pasture with cows now looks like a small village — only the homes are anything but small. These McMansions are often well over 4,000 square feet large with plenty of luxury amenities for the average sized family. Interestingly, these mega-homes may not be all the rage in our future suburban landscapes.

    The Star Ledger, one of New Jersey’s leading papers, is reporting an emerging trend away from the huge-home-mindset and towards luxury apartment living. It turns out that life matters; when you have a huge home that requires lots of maintenance, some of the other important things in life can take a back seat. These might include: spending time with your spouse, your kids or investing in friendships that will last far longer than a house. The larger the home, the more it takes to keep it running in terms of financial resources and time spent keeping things up. One starts to wonder, “Do I own my house or does it own me?” This may be why more and more people are opting for small.

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    The other aspect of smaller living is the reality that small might actually add to your quality of life. I realize that a large family does require more space but for the rest of us, small just might do. Here are some benefits to owning a smaller home:

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    • Less space forces you to make decisions more often. When you don’t have a walk-in closet, there’s very little space for procrastination. Rather than hide clothes in a pile in the large closet, your small storage spaces challenge you to make a decision: put it away, do the laundry, fold it, etc.
    • Less space allows you to know what you have. When you can see what you have, you’re less likely to buy something that you already have.
    • Less space promotes family communication. Living in closer proximity to your loved ones means that you’ll see them more often and share little interactions that a larger home might not afford.
    • Less space allows for simpler decorating. Since more “stuff” around the house makes it feel smaller, a streamlined home encourages simpler style. Avoid small items, breakables and tiny collectibles and opt for items which will last, are durable and are stylish in their own right.
    • Smaller spaces encourage contemplative living. I know — this is a bit of a stretch but my home (which I consider to be on the smaller side) is something which I know, inside and out. I know every corner of it, all of its idiosyncrasies and finer points. My kids and I also get to work around the house together which is great for family bonding. Whenever you get to appreciate and know something well, a spirit of contemplation gradually grows.

    Living in a larger home is not something to scorn but opting to live in a smaller home certainly makes a statement. It teaches you to appreciate space, possessions and challenges you to make-do with what you have. Would you like to have more space? Probably. Can you grow in simplicity by living in a smaller space? Definitely.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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