Being Able to Focus by Minimizing My Life

August 13, 2017 Posted by Tyler Cruz

I am doing pretty well and making good progress in my 30-post challenge as this is post #7 out of #30 (the final order may vary), which means that I’m keeping in pace with my 1-2 posts per day goal pace.

This is on top of taking care of other work and errands at the same time. So what changed? Why am I able to write 7 posts in 4 days when a couple of years ago it would have taken me 4 weeks?  Part of it is definitely due to taking a 1.5 year break from blogging and coming back fresh and with a lot to talk about, but I only attribute that to part of it. The other reason is because I have made a very conscious and deliberate attempt to minimize and simplify my life.

In fact, one of the main reasons I waited so long to get back to blogging was that I wanted to make sure that I had as little distractions as possible. I used to have my hands in so many cookie jars at once that I could never focus on anything properly, and so I knew I had to minimize and simplify my life.

Tackling Procrastinated Projects

It’s no secret that I’m a procrastinator. I mean hell, I abandoned my blog for a year and a half.

In order to tackle my procrastinating tendencies head on, instead of avoiding the things that I had been putting off forever, I challenged myself to make them my priority instead.

Tending to Hundreds of E-mails

I had let hundreds upon hundreds of unprocessed e-mails build up, and I very gradually tended to them all over a very long period which was a seemingly neverending job. I am happy to report that I now have only one e-mail left that I need to deal with (it involves creating a complicated blog post, so I’ve been putting it off forever). After that, I will be at inbox zero – a place I haven’t been in probably 5+ years.

Took Care of Income Taxes

This was by far the most stressful thing I had been putting off and was constantly causing me stress in the back of my mind. There’s nothing I procrastinate more with than getting my taxes done.

Despite taking them all to an accounting firm to get processed, it still requires a lot of work from me since I have 3 income taxes to process each year: my operating corporation, my holding corporation, and my personal taxes. And since I work online, it can be very difficult to obtain and organize all the proper paperwork since online sources often don’t have proper reporting options, don’t let you report by a custom date range (needed for my fiscal year), etc. In addition, when I was doing affiliate marketing, I had literally HUNDREDS of various income and expense sources. It is a herculean task to simply prepare the paperwork to give to my accountants.

Fortunately, I spent a significant amount of time creating an extremely organized “to do” checklist and system that lets me create and organize all the proper paperwork, which dramatically reduces the amount of time I need to spend on this in the future.

I am now up to date with all my taxes and am currently waiting for my accountant to get back to me to tell me the results of my latest year’s taxes.

Updated My Blog

Another reason I hadn’t blogged in so long is that the affiliate link plugin I had been using suddenly broke and I was having a hard time finding a suitable replacement, and I wanted to get that done before I started posting again. I finally got that sorted out now.

I also updated every single of my side pages such as my About and Recommended Resources pages.

In addition, I upgraded my plugins, WordPress, and even upgraded some of the icons on the side menus of my blog (some of the ones that were still referencing poker from way back in the day!)

I am still in the process of cleaning up spam (I’m currently caught up to late 2016), and getting rid of broken links (280 left to go).

Made Computer Backups

I had to find a new system for backing my computer up as my old method couldn’t be used anymore since the encryption software I used to use, TrueCrypt,  stopped being supported due to potential security issues. I ended up going with a pretty weak replacement, but I’m also not making much online anymore so it’s not that important. I’m aware of cloud-based backing up solutions, but I have ISP bandwidth limits to consider, plus I don’t want to shell out $120 a year for a back-up service.

Minimizing My Life

In addition to tackling my procrastination issues, I also minimized my life as much as possible, both offline and on. While I was actually already very organized beforehand, I wanted to minimize things even further, just to clear space both physically and mentally.

  • I went through every damn physical thing I owned that I hadn’t used in a long time or realistically planned on using in the near future and was effectively just clutter, and sold it on Craigslist and other online classified websites.
  • I went through old photos and threw out duplicates, digitized others.
  • I went through every program on my computer and updated it or removed it if I hadn’t used it in ages, and also went through every single file on the computer and deleted anything I didn’t need anymore.
  • I cleaned my office from head to toe (which was already extremely organized to begin with), even disconnecting cables and wiping them down, etc.
  • I even took my computer apart and used my air compressor to clean it.

I did all this not because I was having a Danny Tanner moment, but because I wanted to start things back fresh and new.

Sold Off Old/Dead Websites and Domains

Apart from tackling my taxes and tending to all my e-mails, this was probably the hardest thing I did to minimize my life.

Once upon a time, I had literally dozens of web properties, many of them actively (or passively) making cash. Over time, I sold most of them, but I still had a bunch lingering about. I kept onto a lot of them because I had owned them for a long time and put in countless hours and effort into them, and I knew that they would not fetch much or anything if I tried to sell them. I was essentially just holding onto them for sentimental reasons, which is a pointless business move. All they were doing were taking up space and wasting my time – they weren’t growing or bringing in any money, so I should have cut the cord on them years ago.

I actually ended up selling Movie-Vault.com for only $2,500 – which the guy never did anything with and left it to completely and truly die. I put more work into that site that you can fathom; it was my oldest site and I actually started it close to 2 decades ago (I believe the website was 15 years old when I sold it). But I had to cut the cord.

As I write this, I currently have another site up for auction with no reserve. I won’t link it here since by the time I publish this post, it will be sold. The high bid is currently at $25.

Other domains and websites, I simply abandoned completely, letting the domains expire.  Various websites I spend tens of thousands of dollars on and countless hours.

It’s a shame and sad to see all that hard work have to be thrown away, but there was no point in keeping them. They were just a leech on my resources.

Benefits

So as a result of all of the above, my head is now a lot clearer and I have a lot less “pending anxiety”. I’m not 100% done all this and where I want ultimately want to be, but I only have a couple of things left to do, so I’d say I’m 97% there.

If you are in the same boat as I was, perhaps you might want to try minimizing your life as well. Cut out everything that you don’t need or provides no value to you, face things you’ve been putting off, clean up a bit, and you might be surprised how much more clear-headed you feel.

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Posted: August 13th, 2017 under Miscellaneous  

13 Responses to “Being Able to Focus by Minimizing My Life”

  1. Bigtime says:

    Nice to see you back Tyler. Now that Google just lumps all sites like this one into the “personal blogs” bin and shows them little search engine love it’s even more important to reach out to real people and form real connections, search traffic is more often than not reserved for people with deep pockets or known brands/corporations.

    I knew a lot of the bigger bloggers were going to take a traffic hit right around the time Google signed a contract with that company I won’t name to produce content in copious amounts…. who in turn outsourced it to a company that used people who barely spoke the language for $5 a pop. The google deal gave the company a free pass on quality by elecating them to trusted status…. they went to wall street and became listed, and rich. Bloggers who actually knew their stuff meanwhile… meh.

  2. Bigtime says:

    Oh and my tip to minimizing(and saving) buy a phone with a cord and answering machine built in and hook it up to a landline, then ditch the expensive cell plan/phone. Not only will you end up with a surprising amount of money saved with one less bill but your life will no longer be tethered to a device. If people are important enough to leave a message and wait, you can get to it on your terms/time.

    I grew up before email, mobile, home computer, social media etc… trust me, life was less stressful then. Kids today will never know a time like that again.

  3. roberto says:

    Been reading your blog for so long. Popped back up on my feed reader, glad to see you back. From what you’ve shared so far, I’ve taken a similar tack — taking a full time consulting job rather than full time web properties. I’m excited to hear more of your story, and see how it is similar to mine. Keep it up!

  4. Rahul says:

    Living Minima life is good life. Apart from your real estate businesses, Which car do you have?

  5. Craig says:

    If I were you, I’d buy the new Lambo SUV…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Kk7fxUxe4c&feature=youtu.be&t=127

    It will get you around the Island pretty quick…
    and I think your wife might like it too.

    check it out!

  6. Durga says:

    Hey Tyler, I need a suggestion from you. I have more than 3 blogs but these days I am not able to update them regularly. The problem is, I have started losing interest due to Writer’s Block. How do you deal with it?

  7. Hi Tyler, Thanks for the post, I also facing the exact same thing but your post have given me the clue how to deal with them. thanks

    Annie

  8. Alisha says:

    Do you have a lot of Domains?

PeerFly

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