— Steve Jobs
ONE THING we all have in common is the need for more, better and faster results.
And that’s where the problem starts…
The truth is…it’s 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 and technology 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 your 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 messages, Push notifications, Facebook updates, LinkedIn requests, Instagram, Snap, Twitter feeds, and mindless YouTube videos all scream…LOOK AT ME.
• TV ads, Magazines, Bumper stickers, Car wraps and Billboards all want you to stop what you are doing and FOCUS on them.
• Colorful banner ads, pop windows, click bait, fake news, unwanted survey’s, useless quizzes, 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.
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.
The crazy part is that if you followed every one of these directives…you’d quickly be obese, stressed out, unfocused, broke and in a constant state of fear and paranoia.
Is it really much of a 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.
I’m talking about…
Thieves of our time.
Thieves of our attention.
Thieves of our money.
Thieves of our productivity.
Thieves of our privacy.
Thieves of the truth.
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.
IT’S TIME TO SWALLOW HARD AND 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 finally 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 it’s 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’s a type of intellectual pollution that smothers clear thought and which has direct negative benefits on your 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 we must exert control over our environment and engage in radical acts of simplicity.
Simplicity is a good thing. It does not precede complexity, but follows it.
Simplicity removes waste of every type.
It saves time and money.
It improves decision making.
It stimulates productivity.
It empowers focus, and get this…simplicity 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 purging and pruning away the unnecessary and getting back to basics.
Of course, achieving absolute simplicity is something none of us will ever be able to 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.
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 protocols for 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.
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.
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