I’m slowly progressing to a simpler way of life. A life with less complexity… at least I have a drive for a less complex existence. It makes me feel free! It makes me happier. It lets me see the wood for the trees. In a work sense it undoubtedly makes me more efficient – when you simplify projects, tasks & process, you identify proper purpose and you can then get back on track pretty quickly. What’s not to like?
Here are a few examples of how striving for a simpler existence has cropped up in my life within the last month:
- I have recently finished a large chunk of work – I called it a “sustained peak” (it lasted a while!) When I surfaced the other side I was overwhelmed by all the tasks I had dropped (quite rightly I had prioritised and these seemingly lowly tasks simply didn’t make the “cut”!) Too conscientious for my own good, I had planned to just “dig a little bit deeper” and trawl through it all; but the task was so immense I simply couldn’t tackle it that way. Without giving it too much thought at the time, I simply created a 2013 archive folder in email and moved entire inboxes into their new home. I have visited a couple of times – but how liberating to just start again! I also unsubscribed to all emails relating to shopping (did you know most sites actually email you daily? Exactly how often did I think I would need to be buying snow outfits?!!)
- I felt so good simplifying my Outlook on life, if you’ll excuse the pun – that I gave my documents the same treatment. Wow, on a roll…!
- Next – old (paper) work projects – ALL of them – had to warrant their very existence. That’s where the shredder came in. Actually this is still an ongoing process – the more I do, the more I realise – I just don’t need all the clutter!
- Taking “simplicity” in its wider sense – I was planning a day out with grandparents today - we had a couple of ideas and then found ourselves adding to it – “while we’re in the area” – in fact “over-designing” our trip. My children are fortunate enough to get lots of days out – for them it would be much more beneficial to slow down, do less rushing around and spend time just chatting to their grandparents – much simpler! And a much more enriching experience!
- I have recently joined Lucy Eckley (marketing extrordinaire) in her Marketing MeetUps. It’s a small group of local sole owners who choose a marketing project they have been meaning to get around to implementing but for whatever reason haven’t yet started. It’s amazing what some external accountability and a monthly deadline can do for you, ha ha! I’m so grateful to Lucy and fellow punter, Jo – for both giving me the prompt to get on and start this blog (“Thank you”!) I want to relate that to my thoughts on simplicity – there have only been a couple of MeetUps so far and I thought I knew the exact steps I wanted to deliver; however, when I pared back – simplified & clarified – I drew some quite surprising conclusions!
So, here’s my challenge to you this week -
Try and simplify everything for a week – see how much time and effort it saves you. Also see what you missed in terms of your “old ways” (I’ll bet it’s not much!)
Here’s what I’ve found since making moves to simplify:
- I ate better
- Some tasks didn’t actually need doing (result!)
- A colleague complimented my clear approach to an email she had been struggling to draft to clients – she actually recognised that her “overload” at the time was clouding her ability to communicate in simple terms (“I’d like to be more like you” was her response – what a compliment!)
- I started again on some tasks – and did a much better job
- I have recognised that under (immense) pressure I default to relying on process – quite natural and definitely adviseable to use a “checklist” approach when under pressure – but sometimes a step back, simplifying the task – can get you there quicker.
- Some things don’t need doing straight away (my priorities may differ from those around me)
- Saying “no” really isn’t that bad
- Simplifying things somehow makes me more confident; my capacity for doing “just the right things” has grown
…And just like T’ai Chi’s principles around perspective, confidence & living life in the moment - life’s little concerns just got smaller… and the detail of the simple things just got more important. Simplifying things has left me feeling re-aligned. I have more time for people; I am more connected. Life’s a whole heap more fulfilling!
What do you think? I would love to hear from you