Inspired by the Montessori method used at our daycare, we decided to start a toy rotation for our son Shilo to keep things fresh for him without having to accumulate too many new objects. So we chose a few toys and books and left them out in baskets so they could be accessible for him. The rest we have set aside so that every week or so, we can refresh the assortment.
While it seems counterintuitive, there are many examples of how constraints like this can actually unlock innovation and creativity.
One of my favorite examples comes from Phil Hansen, an artist who made incredible pointillism illustrations until he developed a shake in his hand and was no longer able to keep his hand still for the detailed craft. Disappointed by his inability to create pointillist drawings, he spent years away from his passion for art until one day a doctor encouraged him to “embrace the shake”. In his inspiring TED Talk, Hansen shares how the “disability” and limitation of his shaky hands became his path for exploring completely new forms of art and expression.
As we settle into this month's theme of Simplicity, I’ve begun to think about other ways I could experiment with limitations to get more out of less in my life.
Here are three limits I have been exploring over the past few weeks:
1 — Less clothes. I took any piece of clothing that I haven't worn in the past three months out of my closet and packed it away in a suitcase. Less clothes in my closet makes it easier to find, sort, and appreciate the things I enjoy wearing most. It also translates to less day-to-day decision fatigue and less clutter. And let’s be honest, for the past year I’ve pretty much been wearing the same thing every day anyway. >.<
2 — Less food. Our pantry is stocked with items we haven't used in months — that massive bag of uncooked beans, those sardine tins, the ras el hanout spice mix that was in the apartment when we moved in… Instead of constantly moving these items from one side of the cupboard to the other in search of our go-to staples, we’ve committed to cooking a few of them each week. This Iron Chef meets Marie Kondo practice is surprisingly fun. The biggest bonus? The question, “What should we have for dinner this week?” has become a little less daunting. Time to finally use that half-pack of risotto!
3 — Less time. Now that my time is split between work and childcare, I have learned to be more intentional about how I spend my time. So while I'm working less overall, I have gotten much better at prioritizing my highest impact work. With less time available, I feel I am able to be more impactful with my time and effort.
In what ways can you embrace limitations to get more out of less in your life? (Journal your response in Reflection.app → )
P.S. Speaking of kids toys, get a sneak peek at our new Reflection Cards for Kids →
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