One of things that I have struggled with most in life is focus. I need to simplify my life because I have an unlimited amount of ideas, but I have limited time and resources to go after them. I used to believe this was a bad thing, but my perspective has since changed.
After reading the book, Good to Great by Jim Collins, I began to realize that focus is key. He tells the parable of the Hedgehog and the Fox. It seems childish at first, but the principle is so true. The fox is crafty and tries everything he can to attack the hedgehog but to no avail. Why? Because every time the fox tries to attack, the hedgehog curls up into a ball, the fox gets pricked and runs away. The hedgehog is really good at ONE thing: protecting himself. What ONE thing are you good at or do you WANT to be good at?
Once you determine the answer to that question, here is what to do:
1. Narrow your focus – On a piece of paper, write down what the one thing is that you want to be good at. Then write about how you can get better at it. Anything else that doesn’t fit, won’t help you achieve your goal and should be avoided.
2. Get organized – Start throwing away anything that would distract you. Do you have a pile of papers on your desk that you have been meaning to go through? Do you have a stack of mail that has been getting bigger? Take a weekend and start throwing away the junk around your house and file all of the stuff you wish to keep.
3. Sell items you don’t use or need – Not only will this simplify your life, but it is a good way to get some extra cash. If you have bigger items that are costly to ship then consider selling those items on Craigslist. If you have smaller or more specialized items to sell, then selling those on Ebay would probably be better.
4. Donate items that are cluttering your house – If you can’t sell an unwanted item, donate it. I like donating to Goodwill because their mission is to create jobs. The more you donate, the more jobs they can create.
5. Do the time management exercise by Stephen Covey – This will help you determine what activities to focus on:
Quadrant 1 – Activities that are urgent and important
Quadrant 2 – Activities that are not-urgent and important
Quadrant 3 – Activities that are urgent and not important
Quadrant 4 – Activities that are not urgent and not important
You want to start focusing on the first two types of activities which are important and begin eliminating the rest.
Do you live a simple life? What is it like for you and what have you done to simplify your life?