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Overwhelmed By Too Many Choices? Here’s How To Simplify

Overwhelmed By Too Many Choices? Here’s How To Simplify

National Simplify Your Life week occurs during the first week of August and it reminds us that less is more.

Simplicity is an age-old practice. Proverbs 14 states that “the simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.” That is, an effective person prunes out the unnecessary in order to forge a better path. Islam teaches Muslims that there is “dignity in humility and grace in simplicity.”

Cut the clutter

Choice is good: We love freedom and choice gives us more. But at what point does too many options lead to complexity and stress? How often have you stopped at the grocery to buy a couple of items before eventually finding your shopping cart overstuffed with a dozen purchases. Supermarkets on average carry over 42,000 products, according to the Food Marketing Institute—reflecting the myriad choices we’re forced to make each day.

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“Paralysis is a consequence of having too many choices,” says psychologist Barry Schwartz in this popular Ted Talk presentation. Schwartz, who is the author of The Paradox of Choice, explains that too many options—i.e., complexity—lead to people feeling overwhelmed. And according to his research, that causes non-participation or delay in taking action.

Here are key considerations for simplifying your personal life.

1. Decide what matters (and what doesn’t)

Clutter prevents you from getting organized and being efficient. Simplifying is an exercise of prioritization—so as you focus on what’s important, you’ll ignore what doesn’t matter as much.

Be specific in what you’re trying to accomplish each day and remove all items and activities that serve as distractions. That may mean doing any of the following:

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  • Cancel irrelevant magazine subscriptions
  • Delete apps that waste your time
  • Consolidate your accounts
  • Unfollow people on social media who flood your feed
  • Limit your technology to ones that are actually useful
  • Use all-in-one applications that present most or all of your personal information
  • Donate or sell items that don’t add value
  • Eliminate clutter and organize useful belongings

If you need help, here’s a free app that prioritizes your goals and to-do lists in a priority matrix. And a similar app, Prioritize Me!, lets you select which of your goals are most important.

2. Focus on the 20 percent.

Follow the 80/20 rule which states that 80 percent of effects come from 20 percent of causes. In layman’s terms, that means 20 percent of your activities lead to 80 percent of your effectiveness. If you’re a homeowner, 20 percent of your possessions are associated with 80 percent of your activities. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, we wear just 20 percent of our clothing. Perhaps it’d be prudent to donate or sell the rest.

If you want technology to help you simplify, the Tody app lets you organize and prioritize tasks. And to keep you on the right track, the mobile app will prompt you when a chore is due.

National Simplify Your Life Week
         July 2016 Capital One Simplify Your Life Survey (1,000+ U.S. respondents, ages 18-54)             

     3. Be practical.

    Love life and personal finances are the two most challenging areas to simplify, according to the July 2016 Simplify Your Life survey by Capital One. A majority (60 percent) of over a thousand respondents said a practical approach is the best way to simplify their finances:

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    • Practical (sensible and straightforward): 60%
    • Mindful (reflective and introspective): 14%
    • Optimistic (positive and hopeful): 14%
    • Ruthless (strict and unrelenting): 6%
    • Creative (unique and unexpected): 6%

    According to the same survey, 41 percent said a mobile app—with access to all account information—was their must-have tool. Most smartphones are littered with random apps. However. it’s essential to know which ones boost your productivity. For example, one tool that comes with Capital One’s Quicksilver and Venture cards and consolidates your account information is Capital One Wallet. It’s a mobile app that allows you to keep track of all your purchases in real-time.

    The paradigm of simplicity requires attention to important matters, and treats the rest as noise.

    National Simplify Your Life Week

      The takeaway

      When it comes to purchasing decisions, consumers often succumb to buyer’s remorse because of unmet expectations, says Schwartz. Moreover, people often have unrealistic beliefs that better alternatives exist—even if the original selection of a product was a great one.

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      Our gadgets and possessions should guide us toward our goals rather than distract and steal our precious time. It’s interesting to note that in the Simplify Your Life survey, only 6 percent of Americans surveyed said that creativity is the best approach to simplifying their financial lives.

      So forget the fancy methods. Rather, do the important stuff and weed out what no longer needs to be done.

      Featured photo credit: Stokpic.com via stokpic.com

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      Marvin Dumont

      Entrepreneur, Disruptor

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      Published on November 8, 2018

      How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

      How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

      After a few months of hard work and dozens of phone calls later, you finally land a job opportunity.

      But then, you’re asked about your salary requirements and your mind goes blank. So, you offer a lower salary believing this will increase your odds at getting hired.

      Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach.

      Your salary requirements can make or break your odds at getting hired. But only if you’re not prepared.

      Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers will perceive as you offering low value. The trick is to aim as high as possible while keeping both parties feel happy.

      Of course, you can’t command a high price without bringing value.

      The good news is that learning how to be a high-value employee is possible. You have to work on the right tasks to grow in the right areas. Here are a few tactics to negotiate your salary requirements with confidence.

      1. Hack time to accomplish more than most

      Do you want to get paid well for your hard work? Of course you do. I hate to break it to you, but so do most people.

      With so much competition, this won’t be an easy task to achieve. That’s why you need to become a pro at time management.

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      Do you know how much free time you have? Not the free time during your lunch break or after you’ve finished working at your day job. Rather, the free time when you’re looking at your phone or watching your favorite TV show.

      Data from 2017 shows that Americans spend roughly 3 hours watching TV. This is time poorly spent if you’re not happy with your current lifestyle. Instead, focus on working on your goals whenever you have free time.

      For example, if your commute to/from work is 1 hour, listen to an educational Podcast. If your lunch break is 30 minutes, read for 10 to 15 minutes. And if you have a busy life with only 30–60 minutes to spare after work, use this time to work on your personal goals.

      Create a morning routine that will set you up for success every day. Start waking up 1 to 2 hours earlier to have more time to work on your most important tasks. Use tools like ATracker to break down which activities you’re spending the most time in.

      It won’t be easy to analyze your entire day, so set boundaries. For example, if you have 4 hours of free time each day, spend at least 2 of these hours working on important tasks.

      2. Set your own boundaries

      Having a successful career isn’t always about the money. According to Gallup, about 70% of employees aren’t satisfied with their current jobs.[1]

      Earning more money isn’t a bad thing, but choosing a higher salary over the traits that are the most important to you is. For example, if you enjoy spending time with your family, reject job offers requiring a lot of travel.

      Here are some important traits to consider:

      • Work and life balance – The last thing you’d want is a job that forces you to work 60+ hours each week. Unless this is the type of environment you’d want. Understand how your potential employer emphasizes work/life balance.
      • Self-development opportunities – Having the option to grow within your company is important. Once you learn how to do your tasks well, you’ll start becoming less engaged. Choose a company that encourages employee growth.
      • Company culture – The stereotypical cubicle job where one feels miserable doesn’t have to be your fate. Not all companies are equal in culture. Take, for example, Google, who invests heavily in keeping their employees happy.[2]

      These are some of the most important traits to look for in a company, but there are others. Make it your mission to rank which traits are important to you. This way you’ll stop applying to the wrong companies and stay focused on what matters to you more.

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      3. Continuously invest in yourself

      Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Cliche I know, but true nonetheless.

      You’ll grow as a person and gain confidence with the value you’ll be able to bring to others. Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can read books to expand your knowledge in different fields.

      Don’t get stuck into the habit of reading without a purpose. Instead, choose books that will help you expand in a field you’re looking to grow. At the same time, don’t limit yourself to reading books in one subject–create a healthy balance.

      Podcasts are also a great medium to learn new subjects from experts in different fields. The best part is they’re free and you can consume them on your commute to/from work.

      Paid education makes sense if you have little to no debt. If you decide to go back to school, be sure to apply for scholarships and grants to have the least amount of debt. Regardless of which route you take to make it a habit to grow every day.

      It won’t be easy, but this will work to your advantage. Most people won’t spend most of their free time investing in themselves. This will allow you to grow faster than most, and stand out from your competition.

      4. Document the value you bring

      Resumes are a common way companies filter employees through the hiring process. Here’s the big secret: It’s not the only way you can showcase your skills.

      To request for a higher salary than most, you have to do what most are unwilling to do. Since you’re already investing in yourself, make it a habit to showcase your skills online.

      A great way to do this is to create your own website. Pick your first and last name as your domain name. If this domain is already taken, get creative and choose one that makes sense.

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      Here are some ideas:

      • joesmith.com
      • joeasmith.com
      • joesmithprojects.com

      Nowadays, building a website is easy. Once you have your website setup, begin producing content. For example, if you a developer you can post the applications you’re building.

      During your interviews, you’ll have an online reference to showcase your accomplishments. You can use your accomplishments to justify your salary requirements. Since most people don’t do this, you’ll have a higher chance of employers accepting your offer

      5. Hide your salary requirements

      Avoid giving you salary requirements early in the interview process.

      But if you get asked early, deflect this question in a non-defensive manner. Explain to the employer that you’d like to understand your role better first. They’ll most likely agree with you; but if they don’t, give them a range.

      The truth is great employers are more concerned about your skills and the value you bring to the company. They understand that a great employee is an investment, able to earn them more than their salary.

      Remember that a job interview isn’t only for the employer, it’s also for you. If the employer is more interested in your salary requirements, this may not be a good sign. Use this question to gauge if the company you’re interviewing is worth working for.

      6. Do just enough research

      Research average salary compensation in your industry, then wing it.

      Use tools like Glassdoor to research the average salary compensation for your industry. Then leverage LinkedIn’s company data that’s provided with its Pro membership. You can view a company’s employee growth and the total number of job openings.

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      Use this information to make informed decisions when deciding on your salary requirements. But don’t limit yourself to the average salary range. Companies will usually pay you more for the value you have.

      Big companies will often pay more than smaller ones.[3] Whatever your desired salary amount is, always ask for a higher amount. Employers will often reject your initial offer. In fact, offer a salary range that’ll give you and your employer enough room to negotiate.

      7. Get compensated by your value

      Asking for the salary you deserve is an art. On one end, you have to constantly invest in yourself to offer massive value. But this isn’t enough. You also have to become a great negotiator.

      Imagine requesting a high salary and because you bring a lot of value, employers are willing to pay you this. Wouldn’t this be amazing?

      Most settle for average because they’re not confident with what they have to offer. Most don’t invest in themselves because they’re not dedicated enough. But not you.

      You know you deserve to get paid well, and you’re willing to put in the work. Yet, you won’t sacrifice your most important values over a higher salary.

      The bottom line

      You’ve got what it takes to succeed in your career. Invest in yourself, learn how to negotiate, and do research. The next time you’re asked about your salary requirements, you won’t fumble.

      You’ll showcase your skills with confidence and get the salary you deserve. What’s holding you back now?

      Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

      Reference

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