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The Benefits of Simple Productivity

The Benefits of Simple Productivity

Simplicity is often perceived as boring, unattractive and unremarkable.  Majority of people want something striking and complicated.

But as Leonardo da Vinci has said,

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Different to the common belief, simplicity is not boring, unattractive or unremarkable.  In fact, simplicity represents elegance and complexity.

The Misconception of Being Productive

The common error of people who aim to succeed at something is the tendency to make the process complicated, such as over analysis and accepting responsibility beyond one’s capacity.

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Take for an instance when an individual or company spends too much time planning and perfecting a product.  By the time the product is completed and released in the market, competitors have already dominated it.  Another example is when an individual accepts a lot of responsibility that is beyond their capacity.  They think that having many work responsibilities and working long hours are marks of a productive and fulfilled life.

However, being productive neither needs too much analysis nor working long hours. If only we knew how to keep things simple.

The Benefits

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. ~ Henry David Thoreau

If you want to be more productive with minimal effort and stress, learn how to simplify and stay focus. Here are the benefits of simple productivity:

1.  Clarity

Simplicity aids clarity; the directness of expression and purpose. It contributes to the ability of having a clear description of what needs to be done, why it is important to accomplish, and how it will be accomplished.

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2.  Focus

The majority of people are incapable of staying focused. They get easily distracted and lured away from their goal. They lose attention to what is important and needs to be done. This leads to an unproductive and stressful life.

Focus is the next benefit of simplicity. By keeping things simple, it helps you keep an appropriate amount of attention on the most important task at the appropriate perspective and time. By itself, staying focus creates more output with less effort and time.

3.  Elimination

A key to eliminating queasiness is to focus on the horizon. – David Allen

Diseases can be caused by stress and exhaustion. In order to succeed a person tends to abuse oneself in exchange for hard work. They have a habit of sacrificing most areas of their life such as family, social, financial, physical and emotional health.

Another benefit of simple productivity is that it allows you to leave things undone. It encourages you to say no to unimportant things and focus your whole energy to the important ones. It saves you time and energy. You no longer have to sacrifice areas in your life in exchange for work. Remember that the wisdom of life consists in elimination of the non-essentials.

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4.  Effectiveness

There are people who sacrifice quality in exchange for quantity. In order to accommodate and accomplish more tasks they tend to overlook some important process which leads to poor quality and error.

The next benefit of simple productivity is effectiveness in getting more things done. When you are clear and focus on what you want to achieve, you can concentrate on producing quality work. Your attention and effort is centralized; you are able to produce quality and efficient output.

5.  Tranquility

A disease shared by people who desire to succeed is the inability to rest, relax and achieve peace of mind. They tend to carry the weight of their work responsibility and stress wherever they go. It becomes evident in the expression of their face, body and tone.

The benefit of simplicity is that it provides more peace in your life. Simplicity assists you in creating clear goals, focusing on your actions, and getting more done. These factors help in eliminating the clutter and stress produced by undefined goals or purpose. It provides peace and tranquility in your life.

6.  Work-Life Balance

In the past, I couldn’t imagine how it was possible to achieve work-life balance. I’ve spent most of my time working long hours in the office in order to get ahead in the corporate world and achieve my definition of success. But after I learned the value of simple productivity, I learned that life is not all about work. There are other areas in our lives that are as important as career and financial success.

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The last benefit of simplicity is that it helps you have more time on your hands. You are able to achieve work-life balance when you are clear about your goal and staying focused on what needs to be done. This eliminates the unnecessary activity that leads to stress and fatigue. It also gives you more time for other important areas in your life.

People who are able to enjoy life while reaping success at the same time are the ones who understand the value of simplicity in productivity.

I hope this article has somehow enlightened you to the reality that you don’t have to sacrifice so many things in your life just to be productive and successful. All you need to do is to keep things simple and try your best to avoid making it complicated.

For a final note, let me leave you this phrase from the late Steve Jobs, founder and former CEO of Apple, Inc:

That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. 

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Stop Information Overload

How to Stop Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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