Complexity Loves Company

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overcomplicateAn observation I’ve made over the years might not immediately be apparent: Those who go about the workday, or their private lives, over-complicating their days are perturbed by others who prefer to have things simpler.

Consider that the individual who subscribes to DirecTV or Dish and receives 200+ channels has trouble understanding the person who only wants 10 or 12 channels. The person at work whose desktop contains 58 items, including open file folders, is confounded by the colleague who works on one task at a time on a relatively clear desk. If you are among those who seek to minimize complexity when you have the option, beware: complexity loves company.

Heal Thyself

If you recognize yourself as being in the first camp – those who seem to over-complicate their work lives and even their personal lives – here are steps you can take:

1) At work, develop the habit of focusing on one task at a time and bringing tasks as far as you can, hopefully to completion, before turning to what comes next. Muster the mental and emotional strength to focus on the task at hand and, only then, turn to what’s next.

2) Remove yourself from as many mailing lists as you comfortably can, especially mailing lists from which you receive hard copy items that you do not want, never read, and immediately recycle. Remove yourself from online lists, from where you receive zines, e-blasts, and updates from websites you rarely visit.

3) At home, take back your castle, reduce clutter whenever you can. Hold a yard sale, and whatever you don’t sell, donate immediately to charities. Reclaim your spaces and places. Rummage through your closets, drawers, cabinets, and other compartments that might be jam-packed with more items than you want, need or can use. The watchword of the day is pare down. Reclaim your living spaces.

4) Constantly assess the ways that you might unknowingly complicate your life. Are you placing your business card in the meeting punch bowl, which is a guarantee that you’re going to be added to more lists? Are you competing in sweepstakes where you virtually have no chance to win while handing away your vital contact information? This all but assures that you’ll be contacted by many other groups.

Are you over doing it when it comes to magazine subscriptions, cable television subscriptions, and so on? Be wary of the insidious, creeping phenomenon of taking on too much and then pretending that you had no hand in it.

In Summary

It’s easy today to find yourself overwhelmed by all that competes for your time and attention. Understood – you’re a human being and when confronted by tantalizing and tempting choices, sometimes you succumb. We all do. A little awareness, however, will go a long way.

You don’t need to over-complicate your professional or personal life. You can keep things simpler. You can regain your peace of mind, as well as your spaces and places. This is within your grasp.

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