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The Beauty of Simple

What comes to mind when you think of simple?  Boring, not smart, unattractive, unremarkable?

We seem to want to complicate our work.  We create complex spreadsheets, write in well crafted, long, complicated sentences, and deliver complex multi-optioned answers.  In this way, we demonstrate how smart, sophisticated, and complex we are.

Leonardo da Vinci once said.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

His works of art and machine designs were complex but reflected a level of simplicity that is hard to achieve.  There were no wasted brush strokes, and each design included only what was needed and nothing else.

Live Simply

Who would you rather mimic, Tim Ferris and the 4-Hour Workweek or Elon Musk and his notorious 120 hours per week work schedule?

I cannot answer for anyone else, and although I like to work, I’d like a schedule closer to Tim Ferriss than Elon Musk.

And I’m not alone.  Many people would like a less complicated work schedule as evidenced by successfully selling books like Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek.  Unfortunately, most of us are too busy to do anything about it as evidenced by recent statistics showing most of us work over 40 hours per week.


I think we could all use some help in simplifying our work life.  So here are several steps to help you get started in simplifying your business.

  1. Find time. That is what it is about—finding more time to do the things you want. A recent poll reported that 61% of people feel rushed for time to do the things they want to do.  The reason we don’t have time is we agree to do things that require us to spend time on things we don’t want to do.

For example, you have a large lawn, yet spending time mowing, trimming, and pruning seems like a waste of time.  Hire someone to mow your lawn or move; it’s that easy.

  1. Discover what you can do less. First, improve your productivity, such as batch email responses and phone calls.  Second, don’t do what someone else can do.

Do all your banking on one place, find a 401-K provider you can rely on and quit reviewing every investment and prospectus, and pay all your bills as soon as they arrive so you don’t have to worry about who to pay when.

  1. “No” is a great response. When asked for your input on a project that is not yours, the answer is “no.”  Can you consider making an exception to a company policy that will require you to evaluate how you manage your company, the answer is “no.”  And can you head up a school committee, the answer is again “no.”  And it needs to continue to be “no” until you have freed up enough time to start thinking about doing things you actually like to do, such as head up a school committee.

The forgotten part of the answer “no” is that it does not automatically require an explanation. “No” as an answer it completely sufficient.

  1. Define what really matters. Focus on keeping the important things the important things.  Maybe you do not need to be one of the fastest growing companies listed in business magazines.

The Bible

Defining things that matter is a specialty of the Bible.  We are created by God to work and to enjoy our work.  If that is not what your life is like, then something is amiss.  The easiest way to simplify your life is only to do what is asked by God.

There is a great story in Luke about Jesus sending out his disciples.  He called His twelve disciples together and sent them off saying.

 “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.  Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town.  If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”  So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere. (Luke 9:3-6)

“Take nothing” with you is a great image for leading a simple business life.  Rely on your skills, focus on your clients, and get results or move on.  That is pretty simple.  Everything else is a detraction from your core business purpose and needs to be eliminated.

Let God help you define what matters and cut the clutter from your life.  Make your business like the machines imagined by Leonardo di Vinci, complex yet consisting of only the bare minimum to work efficiently and effectively.