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23 Sep

Make it simple


Date: 2009-09-23 23:41 Comments: 0 st

A consistent theme in creating a good personal or organizational structure is simplification, to make things simpler.

When things move too slowly forward and even when we get totally stuck, we and our business can get going and accelerate easier if we make things simple.

But, how?

Here are six kinds of simplicity to utilize.

  1. Few instead of many

    When you write an e-mail, how much can you simplify by using fewer words than you usually do, i.e. if you get right to the point and phrase what you want to convey shortly and concretely? Often, you only need some background information and a clear request.

    In your product portfolio, how few offerings could you possibly have? What would happen if you focused on fewer products, so that every variety got more of your attention than today?

    How much quicker would you find what you are looking for if you had but one place for every kind of information, e.g. one single place where you collect all information about a certain customer?

  2. Build on what you have instead of beginning from scratch

    When you write a letter, an offer or when you calculate a new possible deal, at what extent do you write phrases that you have already written before? How much could you simplify if you used templates that as much as possible is already prepared, so that you fill in the unique information rather than create the whole thing from a clean slate?

    Those tasks that you do on a recurring basis (though not very often), how much faster could you complete them if you had a checklist of the steps to walk through instead of everytime trying to remember how the task was done the last time?

    When you are about to create some new textmaterial of any kind, what of today’s existing material could you refine in order to not have to invent the wheel yet another time?

  3. A short while instead of for long

    What if you took one, short moment to start working more efficiently (e.g. to start using to-do-lists, to start using a tickler file, to start using a template for taking meeting notes)? You do not need a lot of spare time to enhance your productivity so that you get more time at your disposal. Start with one, short moment once. If you are hooked, take another short moment soon.

    If you are about to do something that you tend to procrastinate, decide to work maximum five minutes on the task, after which you are free to do something else. When you are ready to, work five more minutes. And then five more. Before you know it, you are done.

  4. Subtract instead of add

    Let’s pretend that you have a task that you think you ought to do, but you can not do it now, since you think you have to complete another task first. What would happen if you refrain to do that other task first and instead to the first mentioned task immediately? Could you live with the consequences of this simplification?

    Are you doubtful about throwing away or saving something? Throw it away. If you want to be certain, use a “wastebasket with returning rights”, a concept that I will present in a forthcoming post.

  5. Good enough now instead of perfect from the start

    When you intend to create something new and have a hard time getting started, make a quick sketch first, containing the most important components. Lose the ambition to create something perfect from the start. Create something simple now and refine it often.

    Do not hedge today for every possible need in the future. Do something quick, that you really could use now and in the near future. You can not foresee what will happen beyond your control before you will be able to utilize all those clever solutions to future problems that you included from the beginning.

  6. Small instead of large

    Get going with at least something of that gigantic task that lie before you and that you have gotten stuck in. What small step can you take immediately, that you will be able to complete in the next 60 minutes?

What is the smallest step that you could take right now? Take it.

There is always at least one simpler way to do anything. Seek it and find it.

How did you simplify?

What is the latest thing you made simple and what effect did it have? E-mail me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and share your experiences, or post a comment below. They are immensely valuable for me and for others that I share my knowledge with.

Listen to this post.

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