Have you heard of the saying “Keep it simple, stupid”? It’s actually something the Navy coined in 1960 and refers to design principles, but I think the rest of the world would agree that it also works as a life mantra. So it’s especially fitting for today, which is National Simplicity Day.
National Simplicity Day falls on July 12 because it’s meant to honor Henry David Thoreau, the author, poet and philosopher (among other things), and today’s his birthday. As you might remember from back in school, Thoreau retreated to a small house in the woods on Walden Pond for two years to immerse himself in the ways of living simply, or minimalism. I’ve visited those same woods before and I can assure you they’re still a great place to unwind and get away from it all.
Of course our team here at Redbox is all about this “holiday,” as we built our company on the premise of simplicity. That’s why we have lots of ideas for how you can make the most of this day.
But the funny thing is, making the most of National Simplicity Day is all about doing the least. Putting in the least amount of effort. Spending the least amount of money. Taking the least amount of time to do any given task. Dealing with the least amount of “stuff.”
Here are some specifics around what we mean:
- Attempt to unplug. We know it’s hard. And it doesn’t need to be for the entire day. But surely you can survive without your phone for a few hours?
- Get outside. Better yet, get outside for a few hours … without your phone! I’m a naturally high‐strung person, and I stand by “experiencing nature” as the #1 thing anyone can do to force themselves to shift into a lower gear. Take a deep breath, look up at the trees or the sky, feel some grass or sand beneath your toes, and then literally stop and smell the roses on your way home.
- Do no housework. Obviously this isn’t something most of us can get away with every day, but on National Simplicity Day, you have an excuse to let things slide. The dishes, laundry, chores and errands will still be waiting for you tomorrow, but odds are that nothing is life‐and‐death urgent. Spend that time outside instead, or enjoying your friends or family members.
- Cook nothing. Again, this might not be something your family could keep up for longer than a day, but in my house it’s not only National Simplicity Day that we take a break from meals that require more than a few minutes to throw together. If you all spend one day eating nothing but fruit, toast, cereal or whatever else you have around the house that takes minimal effort to prepare, it’ll be fine, and it’ll free up even more time to chill. You could also always let someone else do the cooking and eat out!
- Toss things. Aside from maybe New Year’s Day, I can’t think of a better occasion to take stock of your belongings, go through drawers and closets and chuck things in the trash or start a charity pile. Nobody needs more “stuff.” And there’s something so satisfying about clearing things out that you never use or haven’t worn for months (or years).
- Unwind before the return to the grind. As National Simplicity Day draws to a close, do something that requires minimal effort but brings a lot of satisfaction. We are partial to popping in a movie from the Box or streaming something from Redbox On Demand, but listening to a podcast, reading a book or magazine, doing a crossword puzzle or playing a board or card game are great options, too.
Our hope is that you’re able to do at least a few of the things above to celebrate National Simplicity Day. Our other hope is that going forward we all try to do those things more often than just once a year!