You might have noticed, if you haven’t been living under a rock somewhere, that the term “minimalist” has become increasingly popular over the last few years.
The basic concept underlying this label is, well, simple (excuse the pun). It suggests that life is too complicated for a huge number of people — likely more complicated than ever before in history, when all factors are considered. These days, we not only have the stress and worry of our jobs to consider, but that stress follows us home in the form of work emails, LinkedIn and professional WhatsApp groups.
The news reminds us of every crisis developing in the world, while our personal lives are often split between juggling our meticulously-maintained social media image, while also trying to make plans with friends, navigate the complex world of modern dating and apps such as Tinder, and all the rest.
And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Far before the days of the internet and other such modern techno-marvels, Henry David Thoreau implored us to slow down and treat simplicity as the great goal in life. Here are a few reasons why the pursuit of simplicity might indeed be the key for improving not only your work life, but your personal life too.
A minimalist or “simplicity-oriented” ethos helps you to do the essential things better without getting distracted
When we are surrounded by a never-ending swarm of all the thousands of tasks we could potentially be engaging in at any given moment, we can often lose track of the most essential parts of careers and lives, or at the very least, give them less attention than they deserve in the constant rush to always iterate and optimize.
The concept of the 80/20 principle holds that eighty per cent of the positive results you get in business will come as a result of twenty percent of your actions. The other eighty percent of your actions will, therefore, be, for all intents and purposes, wasted time.
If you’re trying to get the best possible website set up for your company, you may easily be carried away with all the exotic features you might want. As Steve Jobs said, though, design isn’t just about how a thing looks; it’s also about how a thing works. Getting in touch with the top web design agencies and getting them to build you a highly functional and accessible site will go much further than spending all your time and energy trying to think of the smartest way to include an interactive visual on your landing page.
The fewer things you focus on, the more you’ll be able to give each item your undivided attention
The book “The One Thing” is considered a major success in the productivity sphere. Unsurprisingly, the point it makes is fairly simple and self-explanatory. The more things you focus on in business, the less likely you are to actually do any of them particularly well.
The book’s authors take a somewhat radical approach to resolving this. They encourage you to focus on only one thing that you want to achieve most of all, above all else, in your business and also to focus on the one thing that you really want to achieve in a given day.
The logic behind this is sound. One thing that you have in common with some of the wealthiest and most successful businessmen in the world — people like Warren Buffet, for example — is that you both have the exact same number of seconds, minutes, and hours in a day. The difference is purely in the fact that they leverage their time much more effectively than you do.
To a large extent, that is a matter of knowing when to say “no”, and where to focus your efforts. Simplicity, in other words, might be the key.
Simplicity reduces mental stress, which in turn improves your quality of life
Have you ever noticed how incredibly stressed you get when there’s just too much going on around you, and you’re struggling to an extraordinary degree to try and make sense of it all?
Business productivity guru, David Allen, argues convincingly that our minds aren’t very good at storing lots of information, but are really good at generating lots of new ideas. His solution is a system whereby we record and organise all of our tasks and thoughts, externally, and then decide which subjects most deserve and require our attention, in a systematic manner.
When you reduce the endless mess and noise that comes with over-complication, you will likely find that your peace of mind is as good as, if not better than, it’s ever been.