It is said that simplicity is the virtue of removing the extraneous to reveal the essence.
The beginning of August is National Simplify Your Life Week. Entrepreneurs and business professionals can use this period to streamline their work and home life. That's because simplicity is a test of whether you're clear about your priorities.
Our immediate environment is a reflection of our mindset - a neat and organized office reflects the discipline with which we approach our vocation. Clutter, on the other hand, betrays our sloppiness.
In a complex world, simplicity wins because it helps your brain be freer to make better decisions. Here are 3 suggestions on how to simplify:
1. Automate and consolidate.
Think about all areas of your life and see what you can automate and consolidate. For example, make recurring transactions automatic, whether that involves 401(k) payroll deductions, bill payments, direct deposits or funding a retirement account. Technology can help with administrative tasks, so take advantage, and free up your time.
Consider consolidating investment accounts, card balances and other funds to eliminate redundancies. For example, Mint.com is a financial tool where you can track your bank accounts, investments, loans and credit scores all in one place and in real-time. You can also consolidate your family calendar so that everybody in the family is on the same page and has the information about what is going on with everybody else. There are too many apps to mention. Just find the one that works best for your family.
2. Clean out the clutter.
Less is more.
At the office (and at home), useless items are always being brought inside by various people and guests. The constant influx requires you to periodically clean house so the junk doesn't pile up. Either trash it; donate it; or sell it.
Better yet, prevent clutter by taking 10 minutes everyday before leaving to take a look around and take care of anything that could add clutter to your desk or office. If it's something you need to take care of the next day, clearly label it and leave it where you will not fail to see it tomorrow.
At home, recruit the whole family to take the last 10 minutes before bedtime for everybody to help clean out or put away anything that is out of place. Starting the next day with a nice looking environment helps with a positive mood for everyone.
3. Organize the paperwork.
Paperwork is just one of those things that you can't avoid. Not filing the right documents means you can lose some really important stuff - like IRS returns, pay stubs, official receipts, you name it. But on the bright side, technology allows you to scan documents so you can store them electronically.
Parents like to keep some mementos from their children's activities. You can scan and save electronically. That will decrease significantly papers lying around the house. Same for recipes, marketing ideas, or almost anything else that we used to keep on paper files.
Remember. . .
Adding stuff generally reduces the marginal utility of these extra items - it's better to stick to the essentials. Simplicity requires you to constantly focus on what's important, It's the 20 percent that counts. The other 80 percent usually just ads complexity and prevents you from being effective and efficient.