Coworking: What's Minimalism Got to Do with It?

minimalism, coworking, community

If you’ve been following my posts on Facebook lately, you know I’ve been thinking about less. Actually, more. I mean how less is more.

A friend turned me on to these two guys who are all about getting more out of life by collecting fewer things, and focusing on experiences and people instead. According to these guys (and lots of other people) this is the basic mindset of “minimalism.”

Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution. –The Minimalists

In my personal life, I’ve been looking to do just that: clear away the clutter so that there is room to see, do, and enjoy the things I truly love. At first, I was just focused on things (like the 400 empty picture frames in my hall closet, or the drawers full of clothes I haven’t worn in three years), but then I realized minimalism isn’t just about purging or denying yourself material posessions.

I started to notice a common thread between coworking and minimalism regarding intention. Coworking is about sharing (not owning) space and always has PEOPLE (not things) as a focus. Coworking is about choosing how and where to spend your time, WHO you want to be with, and most importantly, what career or work or mission is important to you. In fact, this focus on intention has always been a part of Cohere’s definition of coworking:

We believe coworking happens anytime more than one motivated person gathers with the intention to work and create shared value for the benefit of the community.

angel minimalism

I love this mindset, and want to infuse it into all aspects of my life. I feel that if and when we judge a thing (whether it’s a DVD or knick knack or potential client) by its practicality or ability to bring us joy, it becomes much easier to decide what has value and what doesn’t. What we NEED and what we truly don’t. And with all that extra physical, emotional and financial space, we’ll be free to collect the things that fulfill the minimalist criteria: friends, family, the right technology, and high quality goods that will stand the test of time.

Here’s how one of my Facebook friends (and former Cohere member) put it: “Minimalism is more an ethos than a set of rules. I think of it as resisting marketing / advertising of the purchasing lifestyle. That said, when I do buy something, I feel liberated to spend top dollar on it because I know that it will be high quality, last a long time, and that I truly, actually need it. Minimalism doesn’t mean ‘cheap’ or “frugal’. To me, it’s more like ‘simplicity.’ 

Sounds awesome, right? More than a couple other Cohere members agree with you.

Naturally, I’m not content to keep this adventure to myself. So here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to try something radical in the way of focusing our intentions and making space for the experiences that matter.

We’re going to give up our internet for a week.

Did you break out in a cold sweat? Yeah, I don’t like it either. But don’t worry–there are some rules that make it manageable. First of all, we’re only talking about internet at home. (You know, that place that’s supposed to be your sanctuary, where you enjoy your free time and family, but usually just end up pseudo working in front of the TV until it’s time to sleep? Yeah.) Second, we’re only trying it for a business week–that’s five days, M through F.

Some more rules of the Minimalist Challenge:

We’re foregoing only HOME connectivity for 5 days. This includes, internet, wifi, broadband, cell data and hotspots. It does not include cable TV, or regular old phone calls/texts. Google voice/skype is probably a grey area. The idea is to let your home be home, and spend time on the internet elsewhere (hopefully coworking).

Dates are July 7-11: Work hours vs. home hours are set individually based on each person’s work style and habits.

Anyone who wants to participate in the challenge is welcome to. All current members will get UNLIMITED access to the community and both spaces for the duration of the challenge. Non-members can get unlimited access for the week of the challenge for just $19. Email Angel to coordinate.

Want in? RSVP on Meetup (yes, I’m aware of the irony of doing this online).

We’ll publish a list of tips and thoughts for preparation as the Challenge draws near. Until then, please let us know your thoughts on minimalism, coworking, and what it might be like to live without home internet for a week! 

Image: johanbrook

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