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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. 

More by this author

Lou Macabasco

Lou Macabasco aspires to spread positive motivation.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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