RAOKA: Simplicity

January 5, 2011

This month’s RAOKA (Random Acts of Kick Arse) topic is simplicity.  Each month a new theme is explored.  To get involved, please visit Positive Provocations.

Let’s face it – we live in an incredibly complex world filled with more choices and more demands than ever. In addition, we now have access to more information than ever which can lead to information overload in our brains. Which is why I love the RAOKA topic for January – simplicity.

If you’re like me, you can sometimes make things more complicated than they are. I remember, several years ago, a co-worker of mine stopped into my office to tell me that I tended to ramble on too long in my voice mail messages to her. There was a part of me that felt offended that she brought this up to me. My ego wanted to say, “shut up!” But I soon began to think of our conversation as a gift. It made me realize that I tend to make these voice mails more complicated than I needed to. I needed to practice simplicity in my correspondence.

Which got me to thinking: all of us do things in many different ways and areas to make our lives a little less simple. A few examples:

  • Putting too much copy/too many words on PowerPoint slides
  • Talking too long in our speeches, presentations and stories
  • Having too much clutter or too many ads on our blogs (is the money you’re making worth the annoyance to your readers?)
  • Multi-tasking – are you doing any one task well or are you doing five things sort of good?
  • Work projects – are you providing more details and information than is needed to complete a project? Are you too detail-oriented?
  • Holding onto too much stuff in our closets or storage at home
  • Surrounding ourselves with too much stuff and clutter at our desks
  • Not organizing our e-mails into folders

My simple suggestions to simplify our lives is to first become aware of the many ways we make life more complicated.  Then make positive changes.  Believe me, I’m no expert and I’m guilty of many of the above areas.  But, I’m getting better at realizing how I can sometimes make life more complicated.

I’m beginning to realize I like a clean, sometimes minimal design style.  I like a clean coffee table with only limited amounts of coffee table books.  I enjoy presenters who stay on topic and on time.  I like my counter space in my kitchen clean at all times.

Yes, life can get complicated and messy – there’s no doubt about it. But yet, if we can become aware of how we sometimes make it that way – it can be simplicity amazing!

How about you…how do you make your life more complicated than it needs to be?

1 Gayze (Gazehound's Animal Communication) January 5, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Lots to think about here, and you’re so right about how we “clutter” our lives in so many ways, and make things more complicated than they need be. I think we as humans often have a hard time letting go … and I mean that in so many ways. Not only letting go of “stuff”, but of ideas, of extraneous details, of the need to over-explain, and of the fear of being mis-understood (among others). I love your advice to take a look at things, and be aware of how we’re making life more complicated than it needs to be.

Wishing you wonderful adventures!

2 The Exception January 6, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Ah, I could relate to this! I grew up as the kid of few words and much silence – the friend that listened – the “still waters run deep” person. At some point I found myself talking, and talking, and talking… forgetting the wonders of few words and simplicity of expression and open heart to hear. I am returning to that idea. I no longer talk and talk and talk in the belief that people will listen if I keep talking… I now listen… and there is much in that action while it is simplicity… to really… just… listen.

Wonderful post Tim!
I wish you a wonderful 2011

3 Tim January 6, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Hi Gayze: I know what you mean…when you talk about humans’ apprehension to letting things go, well that really describes me. I’m a bit of a pack-rat. But I’m working to get past that and I’m aware of it. That’s the first step. Thank you for your good wishes and best of luck incorporating more simplicity to your life!

Hi Exception: Thank you for your kind words. I know when I spoke of people talking to much or too long, I was mostly referring to my Toastmasters experience. As someone who can get a bit wordy in my speeches, I use a stop watch to time myself and really work on cutting down my speeches down to their essence. But it’s tough because we sometimes think every word is important. I also flash back to a presentation made by a very famous motivational speaker that went 2 hours over time at an event I was working. But you bring up the importance of listening as much as talking which is great and makes everyone feel involved in the conversation. Thanks for the new year’s wishes and I hope you have a great 2011, as well!

4 Zeenat{Positive Provocations} January 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Hi Tim,
I’m totaly with you on this. We DO over complicate everything. In that hustle bustle complication we actually miss out on a WHOLE lot without even realising it!
Simplifying is far simpler and easier on our complete being. Yet we run form it..cause of our dependancy to these so called externals.
I too am learning…learning to simplify everyday. Its a process…but an awesome process 🙂
Thank you fro your superb raoka contribution Tim! Appreciate your support 🙂
Lots of love,
p.s. sorry it took me so long to get here…just got home yesterday from winter break 🙂 Am back to my blogging schedule..and loving it!

5 Tim January 16, 2011 at 7:56 am

Hi Zeenat: You hit on something huge, I believe. This simplification is a learning process…it’s something that’s going to take time to adopt. As our world gets more complicated every day, this process becomes more challenging. Thank you, Zeenat for hosting the RAOKA and I’m very glad I could contribute. Have a great day!

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