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Give Yourself the Gift of Zero

Ways to take care of yourself this holiday season and remember that less is more.

The National Retail Federation predicted last year that sales in November and December (excluding autos, gas, and restaurants) were to top out at $630.5 billion. That’s a lot of zeroes!  But wouldn’t it be nice this season to focus more on the zero than on the dollar amount?  In the season of busyness, overspending and stress, let’s try to get back to baseline and remember that less is more. 

Here are 5 ways to do that:

Work to get your inbox to “0” messages daily.

Digital clutter can be just as bad as physical clutter. Spend time unsubscribing to emails you no longer use or need. Use, a service that manages a user’s junk email and subscriptions. Rather than grazing and checking messages continuously throughout the day, set aside certain times to tackle email where you send replies, rsvp, file for reference or archive.  

Aim for “0” items on your to-do list at the end the day.

This may seem like an impossible task, but if you’re only listing no more than 3 items a day, this should be manageable. What happens is that we often overload our to-do list of everything we feel needs to get done, when in fact, these things may need to get done, but not all in one day. Doing a better job of prioritizing and estimating how long a task will take will help with this. Pretty soon those to-do lists will turn into ta-da lists!

Have “0” items on your launch pad.

We all seem to have that spot by the door, whether it’s a basket, shelf or bin where we have stuff with which we have to act on. A book to return to the library, Tupperware to drop off to a friend, the dry cleaning ticket for your coat, or your child’s field trip permission slip can all end up in this area and are all things that need follow-up. Condition yourself to make a plan to follow through on these items by the end of the week so you can return to an empty launch pad by Monday.     

Carve out a day with “0” commitments.

Are your days packed with meetings, appointments, and errands? Can you carve out a day, a half-day or even just an evening where you have nowhere to go and no place to be? Could you do this on a regular basis to make it seem like a mini-vacation? Taking a break and just resting are things we need physically and mentally to help us perform at our best. Let’s stop glorifying busyness.

Allow for “0” items on your kitchen countertops.

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, but it’s also known as the dumping ground of the family. By the end of a week, let alone a day, there can be piles on every flat surface. Aside from the kitchen appliances you use on a regular basis, there should be very little on your kitchen counters. Designate a drawer for mail and bills, devise a command center using wall-mounted bulletin boards and file holders, and institute a 10-minute nightly pick-up routine where everything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen gets put away. It’s amazing how much more productive and energized you’ll feel waking up to a tidy kitchen. 

Spend “0” money on purchases.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention money with holiday deals and Christmas markdowns lurking! Challenge yourself to spend $0 on at least 1 person's present this holiday season. Choose to make a gift or give the gift of your time. You could aim to go a whole weekend spending nothing on entertainment, instead taking part in free community events or enjoying the outdoors. Or you could take part in a no-spending challenge whereby you give yourself a certain period of time ie; week, month, 6-months where you aim to spend nothing aside from food and other necesseties. Might be a good New Year's resolution! Your bank account will thank you!

These are just a few ways that having zero is better than having billions. I ask that in the hustle and bustle of the holidays that you try to pick one item from the list above to work on. I guarantee that getting down to nothing will surely make you feel like something! 

How else could you score a “0” in your life?

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