Minimal Monday: Muji House inspiration
Akira Takayama: McDonald’s Radio University

Minimalism and stopping cues


If you were moving into a new place and you wanted to keep it simple, minimal, and uncluttered, you'd probably stop before there was too much stuff.

Similarly, if you wanted your wardrobe to be as minimal as possible, you'd stop before your wardrobe and drawers became stuffed.

This seems pretty obvious, but I didn't really think about why it was obvious until I saw the Ted Talk by Adam Alter on screen usage (embedded below, and well worth watching). The reason is stopping cues. Alter explains:

Stopping cues were everywhere in the 20th century. They were baked into everything we did. A stopping cue is basically a signal that it's time to move on, to do something new, to do something different. And -- think about newspapers; eventually you get to the end, you fold the newspaper away, you put it aside. The same with magazines, books -- you get to the end of a chapter, prompts you to consider whether you want to continue. You watched a show on TV, eventually the show would end, and then you'd have a week until the next one came. There were stopping cues everywhere. But the way we consume media today is such that there are no stopping cues. The news feed just rolls on, and everything's bottomless: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email, text messaging, the news.

I wrote recently how I'd limited the amount of time I've been using on my phone and with other screens, and how much better I feel for it. I had introduced my own stopping cue, which Alter discusses in his talk (seriously, watch it if you haven't already seen it).

I tend to be minimalist in most areas of my life, but some could do with work. These areas might be the ones without obvious stopping cues, so it's something I'll be working on from now on, and something I plan to implement on the site by posting on a weekly basis rather than haphazardly.

In the meantime, enjoy the talk.


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I has to cut this short - it was cutting into my screen time.


That reminds me of a separate issue I've noticed, with websites now marking average articles as "long reads". Our attention spans are seemingly become ever shorter.

No doubt there is good stuff obscured by all the poorly-written manipulative nonsense.

I do get Mr. Alter's point - screen time is taking away from meaningful activity.

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