The pandemic has taught us a lot about ourselves. Many of us have spent more time at home than ever before, which opened our eyes to the importance of slowing down and taking stock of how to effectively spend our precious time. It’s no surprise there’s a trend towards a slower-paced life that involves living with less. Some call it slow living, others refer to it as minimalism, but the premise is the same: Instead of being controlled by stuff and a to-do list, lean into prioritizing a meaningful life. If you’re hoping to get more intentional in 2022, check out some of these titles for inspiration and practical tips.
Minimalism is a more common term than slow living, but who has time to slow down? McAlary argues that in order to live a fuller life (and, counterintuitively, get more done in the process), everyone needs to make the time. In this book, you’ll learn basic tips on paring down your digital life, as well as understanding philosophical mindset shifts that help you take the time to enjoy the present moment.
Whether you enjoyed McAlary’s Slow or you simply can’t make time to completely overhaul your life (and you’re not sure you want to), try reading her shorter, simpler book, Destination Simple, instead. This short book is a mini-version of Slow, but more focused on daily rituals and routines that you can start to integrate into your life to feel a change. If you’re not ready to commit to slower living but want a taste of how it feels, this is the book for you.
This is the book for the workaholic who knows something has to give, but always needs one more week to get on top of things. If you’re struggling with the idea of slowing down because your to-do list is out of control, Tend to It is the short read you need. As a PhD and productivity coach, Litterer takes a straightforward approach to slower, more intentional living that actually helps you get more done.
Want to see someone adapt to a slower living lifestyle and thrive while doing it? Meet Cait Flanders, author of The Year of Less. While this book isn’t packed with specific actionable tips, it provides a blueprint for how to take control of your life and pare down. Flanders details a full year of downsizing her belongings while also taking stock of her work, health, and relationships. Her journey won’t be the same as yours, but it may inspire you to think about your life in a new way.
Simplifying your belongings, paring down what you own and use, is a tangible way to begin the process of living with less. As you start your minimalism journey, you’ll quickly notice a shift: Less clutter means less time wasted looking for car keys or bills. Fewer clothes in the closet means faster mornings getting dressed and out the door. You may find that eliminating some stuff leads to more energy and more time to do what you love.
Babauta, founder of the popular blog Zen Habits, was one of the first proponents of minimalism in its current iteration. In this audiobook, he focuses less on your clutter and more on why you have the clutter to begin with. It’s about how to start to undo years of programming that have you wanting more, more, more. The audiobook is only an hour, so you can listen to it within a single commute to work or on a walk, and feel inspired to make some changes in your life.
For Type-A personalities who want to win at minimalism, The 21-Day Minimalism Challenge provides small tasks that feel aligned with your ‘get things done’ tendencies. Minimalism can be daunting, especially if you aim to tackle your entire house of stuff in a single weekend. But these smaller, bite-sized chunks over three weeks are easier to integrate into a busy life.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up became a cult classic a few years ago when Marie Kondo’s book was first translated into English and suddenly, people all over the world were asking if the objects that they owned truly ’sparked joy.’ If you love a tidy house and have a specific way of folding your socks already, you’ll probably love Kondo’s book. Not only will it help you decide what to toss and how, it will also help you methodically store the items you end up keeping.
Forget FOMO, it’s time to get on board with JOMO — the joy of missing out. In this book, Dalton shares her best tips for saying no. Dalton’s book starts with assessing your current to-do list and helps you work through what really matters. It’s a great start to slow living for those who are currently overwhelmed and feeling guilty about it. As Dalton says, feeling overwhelmed is rarely the result of having too much to do, it’s more often caused by not knowing where to start.