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The Minimalists

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers. As featured on: ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, TODAY, NPR, TIME, Forbes, The Atlantic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and National Post. They live in Missoula, Montana.

Killing Time: Over Time I Got Rid of Time

Killing Time

Somehow I got rid of time without even noticing it.

Last week, I was walking the streets of Dayton, Ohio, the scorching peephole sun overhead, and someone stopped me and asked me for the time. I looked up at the sun-kissed sky and responded with two words: “It’s daytime.”

I didn’t mean for my answer to sound glib or off-putting in any way, but it was the only answer I had. I didn’t have my phone with me, and I don’t own a watch. And the truth is I didn’t have any idea what time it was.

Throughout my minimalist journey, I’ve learned manythings, often experimenting and forcing myself to change and grow: I stopped buying junk, I got rid of my TV, I killed the internet at home, I stopped using a dishwasher, I started questioning my possessions, I donated 90% of my stuff, I left corporate America, I cleared my plate, I stopped trying, I got into the best shape of my life, I got rid of my goals, and I started contributing to other people in meaningful ways.

I did many of these things to test my limits, to grow as an individual, but I wrote about these experiences to show you they are possible, and often easier than we think.

Sometimes, however, my changes are accidental, as was the change I noticed most recently: These days, I rarely keep track of time.

Over Time I Got Rid of Time

I sold my watches.

I donated all my clocks.

I removed the clock from my computer.

I got rid of my microwave, which had a clock.

I donated my alarm clock (I use my phone when I need an alarm).

Now my apartment has no clocks at all. None. The only clock I have is the one on my phone, which I usually leave in a separate room if I’m home, and I often leave at home when I’m away. There is a clock in my car, but it’s intentionally set to the incorrect time so I purposefully can’t rely on it.

Now I wake when I want to wake, write when I want to write, exercise when I want to exercise, eat when I want to eat, and live life every minute of every day, irrespective of time.

I realize this time-free approach isn’t practical for many people, but maybe it still has a practical application for everyone. Maybe you can take one day per month (or even one day per week) and kill the time. Or maybe you can get rid of any redundant time (e.g., Do we really need a watch and a phone with a clock? Do we really need clocks in every room of our homes?)

Lessons Learned

Without time, I can focus on the task at hand. If I’m spending time with a friend, I can acutely listen to the friend and not worry about the time. If I’m writing, I can get lost in the act of writing. If I’m exercising, I can focus on the specific exercise. And so forth.

Do you think you would be more focused—and perhaps enjoy your days more—if you were less constricted by time?

It’s at least worth thinking about, isn’t it?