Extreme Minimalism – Picking Three Objects

For years I traveled with a titanium spork, gifted to me by Betsy Weber, who at the time worked for TechSmith, which is the company behind Camtasia. More than once it in came in handy at conferences and on day hiking excursions. I sent it on a camping trip with my daughter once and since then it spends more time in a drawer than adventuring in my backpack, so clearly I can live without it.

My iPhone seems an obvious choice to make any list of things I can’t live without. It’s my connection to far away family. It’s my pacifier while standing in lines. It’s almost always the best camera I have with me. I’ve written thousands of words through a combination of voice-to-text and typing with my thumbs.. And yet, I suspect there are things I value more.

What are three objects you couldn’t live without?

I don’t normally do writing prompts, but this one caught me at a moment where I needed a distraction from a quarterly planning exercise. So if I can live without a spork and my iPhone, what are three objects I couldn’t live without?

Topping my list is 3-quart stainless steel pot. Ikea is not the place I would ever think to buy kitchenware, but this pan has outlasted some purchases that were four times more expensive. I bought an older version of this pot over a decade ago and let my ex-wife keep it in our divorce. When it came time to re-supply my kitchen, I had to get another one. Most days I cook at least two meals. This is an amazingly versatile pot that handles everything from pasta, to soups and stews, to popcorn cooked in coconut oil. The size is perfect for any meal that feeds 3-4 people. If there are leftovers from things like chili, the size fits perfectly on a shelf in the fridge without over crowding. It might be the most frequently used $20 purchase I ever made.

3-quart stainless steel IKEA 365+ Pot with lid

In place of my iPhone or a computer, I’m going with a paper notebook as the second thing I can’t live without. Paper never runs out of battery life and isn’t dependent on cellular reception in order to be useful. I’ve experimented with numerous notebooks over the years and I tend to favor A5 hardbound volumes of paper, with an elastic band to hold the pages closed, and a cloth bookmark that maintains your place. Moleskin and Leuchtturm1917 seem to be quite popular, but plenty of competitors are available at a fraction of the price, like the ones from Deziliao pictured below.

Deziliao notebook journals in a variety of colors.

A notebook is limited in function without a writing utensil. I debated making that my third object for this exercise, but it’s so easy to find free pens that I have two coffee mugs overflowing with freebies acquired in convention halls and hotel rooms.

While I’m willing to forgo my iPhone, I’ll include my Apple Watch as my third and final selection. While I ditched my Fitbit ages ago, the Apple Watch has become an indispensable fitness tracker for me, especially because it makes it easy to leave my iPhone behind when I go for a run. With cellular service activated, it can act as a communication device for both text and voice. I use it as a timer when I’m in a focused working mode or prepping something in my Ikea pot. My Apple Watch tracks my vital signs and It also has the ability to call for help in an emergency. While I don’t expect to need that last one anytime soon, you never know.

Cluster of three Apple Watch devices