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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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How "Small" Trends Create Excellent Possibilities For You

New trends and concepts promote possibilities. They occur in response to challenges we’ve had. In our world of 24/7 access to information, connectivity, and consumption, I’ve noticed several ideas that have converged around the trend to “go small.”  Micro-trends, minimalism and mindfulness have gained traction as a reaction to feeling overwhelmed by too many choices and excessive acquisition. By focusing on small we have the opportunity to reduce overwhelm and allow possibilities to thrive.

Overstimulation is everywhere. That adds to overwhelm. Think about the constant barrage of entertainment in public areas. TV monitors are no longer just in bars, but in restaurants too. You can’t even wait in line at the bank without being entertained by multi-screen videos demanding your attention. Cars, buses, and waiting areas in airports are plastered with monitors. It’s a challenge to find public or private spaces that are without the intrusion of constant visuals and sound. And even when we’re not paying attention to the public monitors, most of us are engaged instead with our personal devices like our cell phones or tablets.

The trends that have emerged are in reaction to all of this.



The trend of micro, spans multiple disciplines and industries (think micro-entrepreneurs, micro-volunteering, micro-breweries, and micro-lending.). It’s a trend focused on something specific, smaller and more personal. They’ve emerged as a reaction to the many demands on our time and the overwhelming amounts of choices? The micro-trends offer micro-focus.



The rise of Minimalism has become more prominent, as a reaction to excess acquisition. The overfilling of spaces with stuff has created overwhelm and stress for many people. The Minimalist movement emphasizes lightening up, letting go, and filling our lives with people and experiences instead of things. There are many blogs and books on the subject including Joshua Becker, Francine Jay, and The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.)



This isn’t a new trend, although I’ve noticed that it's gained more popularity and attention in the last few years. It’s a frequent topic seen in blogs, magazines, classes, and social media. There are tons of apps like for practicing mindfulness such as Headspace, Mindfulness Daily, and iMindfulness. The idea of being present, taking that small moment to focus instead of being distracted and multi-focused is very appealing.


How does narrowing the focus help you? Does thinking in micro, small, and minimalist ways help you visualize other possibilities more clearly? Does “going small” reduce your overwhelm? Does it help you focus and eliminate the abundance choices? What have you noticed? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation.






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Reader Comments (14)

When I'm working on a project at my desk I clear it of everything that does not pertain to the task at hand. This helps me to focus on the one thing that I have decided to tackle. Similarly, if I'm organizing a room with a client I ask them to focus on one section of the room. That might be one wall, one bookcase, or we may even go as small as one shelf on that one bookcase. I also set a timer for a short amount of time - usually 10 minutes. It's amazing what you can accomplish in a short amount of time when focused on one task! Thanks for posting this, Linda!

October 11, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterdiane Quintana

I have practiced mindfulness, on and off over the years, and i find that when i do practice it, it does work, maybe i need to be mindful of that!!!!

October 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

@Diane- Thank you for so clearly articulating how the idea of "small' applies to your personal work patterns and those with your clients...and how it helps you with focus and completion. I'm sure this will resonate with many and inspire others.

@Jill- That's wonderful that you've had an intentional mindfulness practice over the years. You mentioned that you go in and out of practicing. Which methods or ways have you preferred to practice?

October 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I was just pondering megatrends last night, Linda! I think we are way overstimulated, and it has become an actual struggle to be able to enjoy a simple, slow pleasure. I worry about the younger generation growing up with phones always calling for attention. I wonder if we are fundamentally changing the way our brains work. All of the trends you discuss are something of a "push back" on the ramped up pace of life. I think we need to do whatever it takes to allow ourselves to focus, even force ourselves to focus if these seems difficult. Small chunks of time can be one way I find helpful. If I don't think I can sit still for an hour, I shoot for ten uninterrupted minutes. Often, once I get rolling, (and if I've put my distractions in another room), I find myself melting into a serene, solitary session - real treat!

October 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Seana- How interesting that you were thinking about megatrends last night. I bet you'll be writing some great posts soon about those. I can't wait to see hear more. I totally agree with you about the overstimulation, the effect it has on our lives to SLOW down and enjoy simple pleasures. And there IS some research I came across that suggests that we ARE changing the wiring in our brains, which could affect our DNA and future generations. Savoring is a word to hang on to. It suggests a certain type of mindfulness, being present, and SLOWING DOWN. I can appreciate your gratitude for the "solitary session," an all too rare commodity.

October 11, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Going small works for me in many ways. Working mindfully on one thing at a time rather than multi-tasking. Breaking big projects into bite-sized pieces to reduce the feeling of overwhelm. Limiting my clothes shopping to the two or three stores where I can typically find something that suits my taste, my look and my budget.

October 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Our brains may be geared to 'see' the big picture, but not to 'do' it. We can't act on more than one thing at a time. Multi-focus IS a myth (at best, it's quickly shifting focus). Small steps are critical to avoid overwhelm and make projects do-able. So much of my coaching is geared towards helping clients learn to apply this 'less is more' approach, including my new online group program where minimal time is spent on very specific tasks to get things done. Linda, I love the concept you brought up here, so I'll call it - micro work!

October 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Lasky

I have been reducing the clutter in our home for about 5 years now. Since our home is smaller than the average home for a family of 4, I got into the habit of staying pretty small with things. One in one out works best for our home. As the kids got older, we were able to reduce their toys and as I stopped having so many large parties, I was able to reduce my kitchen party items to items that were only able to store in the kitchen. By doing this, it has helped us not have to move and also helped us save money and go on trips more often. I rather have my children be exposed to various areas of the country and the world than worry about how to pay for the stuff in the home.

October 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

@Janet- It sounds like you've figured out practical ways to keep overwhelm in at bay through mindfulness and boundaries. It's awesome that you understand what you need and how to make that happen. Inspired.

@Susan- I like the distinction you make between multi- and shifting-focus. We aren't designed to multi-task. When we do, we short change both things we're trying to do and it disrupts our flow, focus, and enjoyment. I love that your coaching practice centers around the "less is more" approach. Wishing you all the best of success with your new online program. When you described it at our meeting, it sounded fantastic!

@Sabrina- Thank you for sharing your clutter-reducing story with us! I love the practical way you made this happen with your one in, one out rule...among other things. But what strikes me most is your commitment to quality of life, not quantity of collecting stuff. Your kids are so lucky to have you as a role model.

October 11, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I just thought about another "small" trend...the "tiny house movement." Talk about making living easier and less costly!

October 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I've always been a less is more person. I lived in a 400 square foot apartment for five years, so the one in, one out rule worked well. I'm simply more relaxed when there are fewer things around me. I like to decorate with living plants, cut flowers, candles and other consumables so that I don't have the need for storage.

I've also learned to dress in a more minimal way. I buy black shoes in three different styles (a low boot, a flat and a low heal) and then they go with everything. I have one pair of "nice" shoes for special occasions, and with the minimal use, they last a long time. The more I learn about the excessive waste of the clothing industry and the idea of disposable fashion, the more I'm inclined to limit my purchases. It's working well for me.

Your posts are always food for thought.

October 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAlys Milner

@Alys- Your ability to live with less is inspiring. I've often thought about how much I enjoy the confirms of hotel rooms...the limited space, the limited wardrobe, and accessories. And even though it's rarely for long periods of time, I'm aware of how much easier it is to have less...less stuff, fewer decisions, less space to maintain and organize. It's not that we live in a large home, but it's definitely larger than a hotel room. And while I don't feel like I have an overabundance of things, there's no question that we have more stuff than we need. I aspire to have less and work regularly to reduce what's here. Kudos to you for making "minimal" work.

October 13, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Love the micro concept. It's all about how small changes make a big difference. In terms of trends, I think we are overloaded and overstimulated, which is not how our brains work best. Grab on to something micro to think best.

October 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Ellen- Small changes CAN and DO make a big difference. We are overloaded at this time in history. Everything is fast. Fast changes. Fast paced lives. Fast amounts of information coming at us. Perhaps over time our brains will adapt to the speed of things, but it will probably take generations for that to happen.

October 14, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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