“It’s wonderful out here! You’ll love the weather.” I encouraged my brother and his family to move to the Ozarks. Three months after they settled in, their house was leveled in a tornado. He and his wife and two kids were huddled in the basement as the storm lifted their house, stick by brick by copper pipe, right off the foundation. They lost everything. However, they survived without a scratch (and with the family’s best story).
I don’t want to diminish the tragedy of disasters that level people’s homes and lives. Yet, there is a certain freedom that comes with having all the stuff removed, so that you can decide anew what belongs in your life… and what you are better off without.
So many of us struggle with too much to do and too little time. An overstuffed calendar and email Inbox. Stacks of papers on the desk. And a basic frustration that we are missing the boat with all this… stuff.
What if we just started over?
With that in mind, I offer my Top Tips for making your business and life simpler:
- Start with Zero. Consider what (and who!) you can DUMP. Then, dump it (or them!)… and see if the sky falls.
- Delete everything. Delete every email that has been in your inbox prior to 30 days ago. Even if you attempt to keep up with email on a daily basis, messages get lost or filtered or accidently deleted. So, let’s give each other a break and resend a communication if we haven’t heard back.
- Keep ONE calendar and ONE to-do list. Ignore all previous missed appointments. Rip up your previous to-do lists. Start over.
- Create a Top Projects list with no more than 5 projects on it. Ask team members for ideas. They know what needs to be done.
- Get caught up with your accounting. It’s soon tax time! Prepare your documents! Don’t worry about fixing every weird thing. Make lump entries, good guesses… whatever it takes to get current. Work with your CPA and do what needs to be done to be fairly audit-proof. This tip is gold, because it reduces the anxiety created by wondering and worrying about the money.
- It will get done, or it won’t. Every time I get wound up with stuff I HAVE TO DO I realize it could all just blow away. My value as a human being won’t diminish one jot. Life will march on whether or not we get that sale made or power point presentation done.
Consider that the important stuff tends not to be something that is written on a sticky-note and buried under a foot high stack of papers. Let it ALL go… and trust that the important things will present themselves as you move forward, unencumbered by past inadequacies. Start with zero and notice how what you need to do will show up.
After the tornado cleanup, I asked my brother, “Do you miss it? The stuff? Are you thinking about paring down? Do you really need all the crap you had accumulated?”
He replied, “You know, I like stuff. I’m going shopping.”
So, there’s that.
“There is nothing quite so complicated as simplicity.” ~ Charles Poore