The Secret To Being More Effective? It’s Simple.
Here’s a challenge.
It will take one minute – and it WILL make a huge difference to your ability to achieve success in everything you do. Up for it?
I remember visiting one of our offices a couple of years ago. A colleague presented to the team an impressive plan for the first few months of the year – a plan to improve performance across the business. It was well thought out. Comprehensive. All the right actions were there. About 12 things that needed to be done. The team understood, and were aligned.
Now, at this stage I would normally have said “EBNE – Excellent, But Not Enough.” Instead, I yelled to myself “EBTA – Excellent, But Too Ambitious!” So I challenged the team to do something extremely difficult: To do LESS. Here’s why:
SIMPLICITY IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF ACHIEVEMENT.
It’s as simple as that.
The plan was great – except it was too extensive, and it was notruthlessly prioritized. What I asked my colleagues to do was simply this:
“Select three things – just three. The most critical things, that will make the most impact. And put every ounce of effort behind those three things. Make them outstanding…and do them before you do anything else on the list.”
We HAVE to simplify everything we do.
Here’s the point. You can do anything – but not everything. Stop trying to do everything better. Instead,do fewer, better things.
Do less – and get more from it. You see, clarity comes from simplicity. Our lives are frittered away with detail and complexity. Complexity creates pressure. STOP. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, said De Vinci. And, dammit, it is! Simplicity demonstrates remarkable elegance, intelligence and focus.
HOW DO YOU SIMPLIFY?
Not easy. Unless you take the greatest step you can take – and that is to learn to let go.
The best writers will tell you they edit, edit again, and keep on editing. If a word can be left out, then delete it. If in doubt, take it out.
Arianna Huffington is a big fan of simplicity. She relieves pressure on herself by deliberately, regularly selecting projects to drop: Things she had planned to do and isn’t, things that are creating unwanted pressure. She just drops them off her ‘to do’ list altogether, with no regrets.
Now, I am certainly no poster child for simplicity.
But it’s okay. While I still struggle to drop things – to let them go – at least I am getting better at ruthlessly prioritizing. And ensuring razor-sharp focus on the ‘right things’ (fewer, better things) is a bloody good start.
MY CHALLENGE FOR YOU
What are you going to do to simplify your work and life? Make a start right now. It’ll take just sixty seconds of thought:
- What is hanging over you that is causing some angst that you simply don’t need to do, or have, or aspire to?
- Can you just drop it off your list altogether?
- And what are the three most critical things you need to put more, better focus on?
Sixty seconds of thought…ready, steady, GO!