ONE THING we all have in common is the need for more, better and faster results.
And that’s where the problem starts…
The fact is… its hard (and getting harder) to be efficient, to maintain peak levels of productivity and to remain focused.
Is there a conspiracy going on, are people really out to get you, should you be paranoid…perhaps even afraid?
Yes, Yes, Yes!
Just a few moments of reflection will provide enough evidence that we are all spending more of our time in environments that have their own agendas…agendas that are in direct conflict with our own.
The world is not acting in our long-term benefit, and it’s highly unlikely that it ever will.
Phone calls, Email messages, Text notifications, Facebook updates, LinkedIn requests, Twitter feeds, and mindless YouTube videos all scream…LOOK AT ME.
TV ads, Magazines and Billboards all want you to stop what you are doing and FOCUS on them.
Colorful banner ads, pop windows, unwanted survey’s, sensational and misleading headlines, as well as endless hyperlinks all BEG for your click.
Our new normal is the relentless, aggressive chain of siren songs from our environment.
As to their agenda, it’s actually very simple…to distract you just long enough to divert your attention so that what was once yours is now theirs. In other words…they actively work to pick pocket your focus.
The strategy? Old school divide and conquer.
Much like a jealous lover, all of these agendas CONSPIRE to separate you from whatever it is you are doing so that your attention, energy, money (whatever) is now completely focused on them.
And, the crazy part is that if you followed every directive from your surroundings these days you’d quickly be obese, stressed out, broke, and in a constant state of distraction.
Is it really any surprise that we are becoming less efficient, lagging in productivity and getting more and more unfocused?
Technology and innovative breakthroughs promise to help make our lives easier and more productive, and in some cases it does. But why is it so often such a hassle, wasteful of our time, and a killer to our productivity?
We must all wake up to the reality that the wagons are circling and we are all being surrounded by scheming thieves: thieves of our time, thieves of our attention, thieves of our money, thieves of our productivity, thieves of our privacy, and other forms of creative thievery.
At the risk of being a broken record…the world is NOT acting in our long-term benefit, and without a serious and sustained intervention on our part the distractions, interruptions and loss of productivity and privacy that we are experiencing today are ONLY going to accelerate and exacerbate tomorrow.
TAKE YOUR MEDICINE
So what’s the solution, how do you remain focused and deliver more, better and faster results in an environment which is bent on doing just the opposite?
If you’re ready to take your medicine and do what needs to be done in order to be more productive, then here’s a simple solution to a difficult and systemic problem.
ENGAGE IN RADICAL ACTS OF SIMPLICITY
Simplicity by its mention alone, creates a sense of relief and freedom in this increasingly complex world, and its reason enough as to why it must become your primary strategy for taking complete control of your environment.
Complexity is the curse of the digital age. It is a type of intellectual pollution that smothers clear thought and which has direct negative benefits on individual productivity, customer delight, and corporate profitability.
Throughout history, the tools and technology we use have always shaped our bodies, our arts, our architecture, and us. Now, many of the digital tools we are using, and those being used upon us are confusing and controlling us while also undermining our quality of life and overall productivity.
And, that is precisely why, which is why we must control our environment and engage in radical acts of simplicity.
Simplicity is a good thing. It does not precede complexity, but follows it. It removes waste of every type. It saves time and money. It improves decision making. It stimulates productivity. It empowers focus, and it is a sustainable competitive advantage.
Simplicity doesn’t just happen on its own. In fact, without conscious, sustained effort focused on simplicity, the opposite – increased complexity – is almost certain to manifest itself.
No matter how you look at it, you and I are left with two choices:
1. We can be swept along on this wave of complexity, becoming increasingly rushed, stressed, and unfocused as we try to fit everything in and absorb everything thrown at us.
2. Or, we can make conscious decisions and hard trade-offs to start simplifying our businesses and our lives, to start pruning away the unnecessary and getting back to basics.
Of course, achieving absolute simplicity is something none of us will ever achieve. However, if we don’t make some concerted effort, if we don’t train ourselves to look for ways to simplify, we can guarantee our lives will become more complex, busier, less efficient and far more stressful.
The opportunities for radical simplicity abound when we know where to look, which of course is right under our nose.
Engage in Acts of Radical Simplicity
Decide to control your environment with an iron fist, or it will control you.
Reduce your options by creating a short yes list of key priorities, and then have the discipline to stick to it.
Set firm boundaries on what you will and will not tolerate from people and technology.
Enforce time rules and protocol of how and when you will utilize technology.
Inform and educate your staff, family and associates on these new rules.
Schedule quiet time each day to think, plan, and reflect.
Optimize your workspace and entire environment for what you need to achieve.
Exterminate productivity termites, which mean the elimination of anything that does not support and strengthen your focus.
Have a deep reverence for the fundamentals as success in any endeavor is built on a foundation of simple, timeless, universal, and pragmatic principles.
Set clear and compelling goals as not having a plan, goals or a system in today’s world is dangerous because the default isn’t neutral.
The goals you set must inspire you, seduce you, and challenge you so that you resist the temptation to cheat and to give into the beckon call of distractions.
Importantly, the simple life is not simple. Temptation will always present itself in new shiny objects, bigger and better features, greater speed, cool design, luxury, and other fascinating gimmicks.
But, if we are to create instead a significant bounce or leap forward in the quality of our lives and overall productivity, it will surely include a shift toward simpler, more sustainable and satisfying ways of managing our environment.
In closing, remain paranoid and always remember that when it comes to simplicity…
Gary Ryan Blair
P.S. Learning how to keep it simple is just one of the 100 strategies you’ll learn once you begin the 100 Day Challenge.
Enrollment is opening soon and you can get all the details here along with a killer Manifesto titled Unleash Your Greatness.