In the moment

Today’s post has been brought out of the archives as a timely reminder to stay in the moment. We all spend far too much time “multi tasking” and thinking about what has to be done next, which often will result in poor quality output and stress. So I wanted to reiterate the message that we need to strive to keep our minds in the moment, as the only time we have is right now.


I want you to take one minute now to do exactly as I say. Read the full set of instructions below and then act them out immediately before you forget…

  1. Stop what you are doing.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Take 5 slow deep breaths.
  4. Listen to the sounds around you.
  5. Stay in the moment for one minute.
  6. Open your eyes and read on. Slowly and deliberately.

Lately my mind has been all over the place flitting from one thing to another hardly taking time out to savour the moment. A few of times I found myself really concentrating on what I was doing and it was a very good feeling. I slowed down, focused and took time to really complete my task to the best of my ability. I found myself actually enjoying these tasks even though they were chores like ironing, cooking and cleaning.

Instead of thinking negative thoughts like – ‘I would rather be doing something else’ – I honed my mind onto the positive feeling I could get out of the situation.

  • Instead of rushing through the ironing like a crazed maniac I slowed my movements and really focused on pressing out each wrinkle. I gave myself  time to think what was the best way to lay the article of clothing, across the ironing board, to get the best result. I think I actually got finished sooner because often in my haste I iron the odd crease in by mistake which can take some effort to get out.
  • When cooking I gave full attention to each step of the process. I prepared the ingredients ahead instead of trying to chop, measure and stir all at once while cleaning as I go. We all know what a disaster that can be.
  • With the cleaning I focused my mind on how good it feels to have a clean and tidy home and how good each area looked when completed. I concentrated on one small task at a time and as a result didn’t find myself running up and down the stairs or between rooms extra times because I forgot what I went there for in the first place.

Basically I slowed down and savoured the moment. I know you may be thinking that you are a busy person and you can’t afford such a luxury but you really can. Have you ever heard the expressions “The more haste the less speed.” or “Haste makes waste.” I am sure they were words of wisdom quoted from experience. Not only can it be counter productive when you aren’t focused on what you are doing but there is a good chance you aren’t getting any pleasure out of it either.

I wrote this post late on Wednesday night after I had given up trying and let my husband do a guest post for me that day. It suddenly occurred to me that I couldn’t write because my head wasn’t in it so I took 5 deep slow breaths and listened to the crickets outside in the night. That was enough to bring my mind out of its fog and get me back on track.

So remember to take 5 to refocus your mind and be in the moment. You might actually find that is saves you time in the long run.


And how does this post even relate to decluttering you might ask. The philosophy of the 365 Less Things approach to decluttering is all about going slow and steady. Spending at least ten minutes each day to find something to add to your pile of decluttered items. So if you take the time to set aside those then minutes it is also helpful to stay in the moment during that time. This way you can focus your mind completely on the task of finding and letting go of that item. Focus just on that one item you want to find and release today.

Do not focus on, what may seem like, the mountain of other items that you still need to deal with once this item is relinquished. They don’t matter until it is their turn to be in your spotlight, in their moment.

Today’s Mini Mission

Think for a minute which drawer in your home is the messiest or most difficult to use due to how much stuff is crammed into it. Take ten minutes now to focus on finding and decluttering some things in that drawer that you don’t need. Things that, once removed, will make that drawer far more functional.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Eco Tip for the Day

If you have take-away coffee on a daily or regular basis take your own reusable cup.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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Continue reading with these posts:

  • Clutter Maintenance Every time I have moved house I have had a reasonable length of notice. Although, sometimes the definite ~ "Yes we are moving." ~ may have come a little last minute but the maybe had been […]
  • Mini Mission ~ Friday 22Dec2017 Declutter a couple of old shabby shoes that you no long choose to use.
  • How little we really need Every time I go on a long vacation I am reminded of how little one really needs to live a comfortable and functional lifestyle. My husband and I often stay in Airbnb places when on […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. I enjoy your blog so much! It is proving to be a real blessing to me, as we continue our journey towards simplicity and living more minimalistically. Have a great day!

    • Thank you Cheryl, it is aways a pleasure and inspiration to know that what I do makes a positive difference in people’s lives. You also have a great day!

  2. Spoken like a wise old sage, Colleen.

    I shed the “multi-tasking” about a decade ago. I accomplish just as much with zero stress. One thing at a time.
    I am a pen-paper list maker. On my notebook I have attached the following found in a magazine last December:
    New Years Resolution….Get rid of the To Do list.
    I am not quite there yet, but that is my goal 🙂

    • Hi Kimberley, I like list making as well, it helps me keep my ducks in a row. The older I get the more often I forget things. Although I think that has more to do with the multitasking and the stress it evokes. Maybe if I work at getting rid of one I could eliminate the need for the other. 😉

  3. Colleen, I had sat down to rest my feet/back/legs (which are a problem for me) for a few minutes after preparing dinner and cleaning the kitchen. I was happy to see a new 365 in my mail so I opened it immediately. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Just as I read “listen to the sounds around you”, I had 3 dogs lying nearby panting as loud as possible. They had just come inside after having a big chase of the rabbits outside. Ha!!!

    I enjoyed this post!

  4. Hi, Colleen. I, too, enjoyed this post and I particularly like this: “Do not focus on, what may seem like, the mountain of other items that you still need to deal with once this item is relinquished. They don’t matter until it is their turn to be in your spotlight, in their moment.” I must do this more often.

    • Hi Nicole, I am glad you are going to try to take that advice. I have to remind myself of this strategy often. Especially on Mondays when I do the housework for the week. I did it so well this week that I found myself cleaning and reorganising several extra areas.

  5. Hey, not something I’m overkeen on talking about, but I wanted to thank you: the journey of minimalism you’ve guided me down since I got here has made living with abuse much, much easier. The support from everyone here has been literally overwhelming – and I know in the back of my mind that, if I ever get the courage to run, one thing I won’t have to worry about is “stuff”. Somehow that makes the idea a little bit less scary. So, thank you, Colleen and everyone else, for making my life just a little easier.

    • Hi Níriel, I am glad that getting your stuff in order may one day give you the courage to run. Although I don’t know you that well yet, I am sure you deserve a whole lot better from life than abuse. No one deserves that. However often people in your situation tend to “stick with the devil they know” rather than take the scary chance on trying to find a better life for themselves. And I understand how scary that can be. Knowing now how little you can manage to live without makes that new life seem a whole lot more doable and affordable. So as your clutter disappears around you I hope in the space left behind you fine a pair of wings.

      • That’s so sweet, thank you 🙂

        • Niriel, You already HAVE the courage. Now you are just working on the plan. Go girl, we’re the wind beneath your wings! Wendy (and all the others who have flown)

          • Correct, I am working on the plan actually. That holiday to New Zealand? It’s no coincidence that New Zealand is the exact opposite end of the world from my abuser… 😉

    • Niriel – praying for you! So glad to hear you have a plan. All the best to you, you can do it!

    • Nuriel, Colleen said it well. I’m concur. I’m praying for you.

  6. Ann in Boston

    Colleen has stated it best. May you find those wings and the courage to fly away. I will keep you in my prayers. I’m sure many others will too.

    • Thank you so much; having so many people being supportive does wonders for people like me. It’s that little voice which tells me not to post what’s happening here because everyone will ridicule me for it… even though I *know* you’re all amazing and supportive. 🙂

      • Hi Níriel,

        It’s not your fault that you are being abused! It is the fault of the abuser! There is no reason for you to be ashamed… I know everyone here is on your side <3 xoxoxo <3

        • That’s the thing with abuse, especially emotional abuse – it’s drilled into the victim that it IS their fault, they ARE stupid, and anything short of agreeing 100% with their abuser WILL get them ridiculed by ANYONE. I’m conscious of it and actively avoiding it, no matter how hard it is, but it’s still that little voice in the back of my mind I’ll probably have for the rest of my life. Thanks for the amazing comment 🙂

  7. Colleen,
    “So as your clutter disappears around you I hope in the space left behind you fine a pair of wings”. This was so beautifully stated!

    I was on a brief vacation this past week with my sister and her friend/neighbor. I know how this 3rd party does everything fast and is always early. I know my sister would wish to be more like her; but I am happy to be where I am…being present and mindful. She does everything fast, including eating.

  8. You were on my heart Niriel, didn’t know what to say. Colleen said it with so much hope and grace. My best to you & you will be in my prayers.

    • Thank you very, very much Calla. People like you being supportive can make all the difference, so thank you 🙂

  9. i love this post. thank you. in the moment. hearing birds and wind chimes. feeling a soft breeze on my arm. my body is relaxed and my mind is calm. thank you.

    • That sounds lovely creative me. All I can hear right now is the tapping of the laptop keys and the traffic outside. However I don’t mind that as there are people out there who have never heard a thing in their lives so I know I am blessed. I also love living downtown and the traffic is all part of that liveliness.

  10. I have really seen the advantage to decluttering mindfully over time in my own life and my family. When you set aside a little time every day you can think through each item. If you decide to part with an item you can make it ready (clean it, wash it, repair it) to go and also make sure it gets to the best location – charity, library, friend, family member, recycling, art room at the school, nursing home, etc. When you do a huge clear out all a once so much just ends up in the trash because it takes time and thought to get things cleaned up and to the “right” place. Sometimes it has to be done but I think you have better peace of mind afterwards if you can declutter slowly and thoughtfully.

    • Thank you for that great comment Claire and thank you for being the sort of considerate person who cares about doing the right thing by society and the environment. Have you always been this way with your decluttering or has 365 Less Things inspired this kind of thinking?

      • Hi Colleen, thank you!! You’ve definitely been an inspiration to me! It has been such an encouragement to me to find 365 Less Things and just keep plugging away at downsizing our stuff a day at a time.
        Ironically it is also partly due to my parents. They have always been dead set against wasting resources or polluting the environment. They are very generous people but they have usually been just a few years behind getting the stuff to the right place after they were done with it. I think they did not realize when their things began to crowd them out of their space. It took a medical issue to jump start the decluttering. But by then it was nearly an emergency and we had to dispose of so much to make the house walker-accessible. That was a hard pill to swallow. However, since then they have been telling me that they have been working on the rest a little bit at a time. Books gone through and donated, work bench cleared, tv recycled, etc. all after I left. I know that they will feel much better about that than a massive decluttering. They really cringed to see so many of their old things go to the landfill, and so did I. But, there was nowhere else for all of it other than the backyard with rains approaching and a parent waiting to come home from the hospital. Charities took all that they could but much of it they wouldn’t take.

        I also learned from my own experience of moving a couple years ago that even though I had been clearing things out regularly there was so much more that we couldn’t take with us when we started filling the moving truck. The seven contractor bags of misc. garage stuff we left for the trash pickup haunts me. I don’t want to have to dump stuff like that again. So now I am trying to get ahead of the game for whenever we move again so that I won’t move things we don’t use or be stuck dumping things because the moving truck is full and we can’t get more in. It has been a learning curve but I feel better about the future and I’m pretty sure that we do not have the volume of stuff anymore that will require a large decluttering. I visit 365 daily to stay motivated – thank you, thank you, thank you! It really is a huge benefit to our future – you are making the world a better place Colleen – bravo!! 🙂

        • Thanks you Claire for that lovely comment. And don’t feel bad about those times when lots of things went to the landfill. The fact that you are doing your best to avoid that now and in the future is enough. Be proud of that. And I am glad to have been a part of the positive changes in your way of doing things. What a formidable team we all are here at 365 Less Things.

  11. Niriel – I have indirect experience with your situation. Go now. Thinking of you.

    • Hi Moni, thanks for the reply — I’ve got a multi-step plan that (hopefully) results in me escaping soon while my *darling* mother doesn’t know I’m onto her abuse — let’s just say it’s no coincidence that New Zealand is literally as far away as I can get without joining the Mars One program! Should be a lovely, safe holiday that gives me plenty of time to heal…

  12. Niriel,
    One of my favorite empowering quotes comes from the movie, The Wizard of Oz. At the end of the movie, Glinda the good witch of the north tells Dorothy that she has always had the power 🙂 You have all of the tools inside of you, now you are using them to make your life happen on your own terms.
    Never look back. You’ve got the 365 tribe supporting you.

    • You ever seen the David Bowie film Labyrinth? Sarah’s “You have no power over me” from the end has stuck with me recently — I’ll not say more than that in case you’ve not seen the film, but apparently our minds think along similar lines with film quotes! I’ve got a plan, I’ll be out soon if all goes well.

  13. Niriel, I just want to join in the chorus of well-wishers and supporters. May you find courage and peace in the journey that lays ahead.

  14. What you wrote about the clutter disappearing and wings was lovely, Colleen!

    • Thanks Nicole. Thank goodness I am in form for that kind of writing as I also sent out a card today to an old family friend who I haven’t seen in many years. I just found out he is dying from cancer. And when I say old I don’t mean aged, I mean from days gone by, he is only in his early 50s. Fortunately I make my own cards and had him in mind when I made a set yesterday to fit with just such a sad occasion. I was really pleased with what I wrote inside and hope it warms his heart a little during such trying times.

  15. Hi, Niriel. Give yourself credit for what you have achieved so far and have faith that you are capable of much more. I wish you well. God bless!

    • Thanks – sometimes I do need to stop and remind myself that. I’ve seen the abuse for what it is, and, in a *huge* step, I’m labelling it as abuse to other people – not easy! Thanks for reminding me again 🙂

  16. I admit that I read this post a few days ago, and then flitted on to something else. Did I do the 5 things that Colleen suggested? No. I AM A FLITTER. Flitter. Flitter-er. Whatever. I call it “wandering off.” The more things I have to do, the more I wander off. LOL.

    I always remind myself to focus on one thing at a time, but when everything needs your attention at once it can be hard to do. Don’t get me wrong…..I get things done. But dang, sometimes it’s hard to focus. I am really working on that this week. Why, I only thought of 12 other things while writing this comment. LOL.

    • Hi Melanie, I am a flitterer too. That is why I need to remind myself of this on a regular basis. So good luck to you while you are working on it as well.

  17. To Niriel:

    I don’t know you, but I wanted you to know that I said a prayer for you. It’s not easy to start over in life, but I hope you will keep in mind two things: If you are running away from something, you are also running toward something better. Keep your focus on that something better. And most importantly, courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is knowing that something is scary and doing it anyway.

    Good luck to you.

    • Thank you Melanie, I need to remind myself about the courage one more often. A simple lesson, but one all too easy to forget.