Triple Your Performance & Productivity with Simplicity

by @deanyeong | Sign up to weekly newsletter here

Simplicity isn’t easy.

About two years ago, I decided to simplify my life – get rid of junk and focus on things I really want to do and matter to me the most. This dramatically improved my overall performance and productivity in many areas of my life.

I’m still trying to lay out the whole “simpler-life-step-by-step” approach, but for now, I’m going to share two strategies I personally think work best to apply simplicity into your life.

Proiritize & Eliminate

I do a lot of these. To make my life simpler, I first eliminate things aren’t so important to me. But before you can do this, you need to understand your visions and priorities.

For sure, most of the time, we will have quite a few things on our list that are all important. The truth is that they are probably not equally important. With that said, you need to create a prioritization system for yourself.

Try not to make priority based on what you have to do now. Instead, prioritize things in your life based on how you want them to be, even it seems impossible to change for now (It’s impossible with tiny little actions bit by bit).

With your priorities laid out, you can now proceed to the following steps:

must do and want do

1) Divide your tasks to must-dos and want-dos, and then eliminate everything else.

must do and want do

2) Take a closer look at the must-do list, identify any task that goes against your priorities. You still have to do them because they are your must-dos, simply find ways to reduce the need of doing them slowly. Or you can delegate them to someone else to do them for you.

must do and want do

3) Take a closer look at the must-dos list again, there are always tasks you might not want to do (but must do). Find ways to delegate them to someone else who can do them better than you, or automate them with technology.

must do and want do

4) Now, take a closer look at the want-to list, eliminate any task that goes against your priorities. For example, you prioritize your health, but you want to drink 3 days a week, then you need to fix that (or live in guilt and feeling unhappy for the rest of your life).

must do and want do

5) Focus on tasks that both appear in must-dos and want-dos, and then extra time on the want-dos within in your priorities.

With this, you now have better focus and control of your life. If you look at it again, it actually re-creates your priority list by narrowing down your must-dos and want-dos. This is the cycle that helps me to gain better clarity.

Amish Time

The second strategy I took to simplify my life is stupidly simple. It is far less complicated compared to the previous step.

I write a lot. Each week, I create around three to four pieces of content for my personal blog (some of them go to guest blog) and my coffee business. With that said, I’m always in front of screens all the time. I’m definitely fine with it since I enjoy the process of writing and coding (sometimes).

But at one point, I think that’s not right, I can’t explain it, I just felt it was not right to spend 90% of my daytime in front of screens. That’s one of the reasons why I prefer reading printed books over digital books.

Therefore, I set out a time block that I called Amish Time – it’s the time block that I will get off from any screen, including my phone. Usually, I do this twice a day, an hour each.

While I’m not allowed to go on any screen (no one banned me for that but myself), I will spend the time to read. And reflect about recent months and weeks and daydream about some future plan. Or spending quality time with people around me.

To make this works, you need to discipline yourself to really do it. And replace your screen time (usually surfing social media or consuming unimportant information purposeless time) with some relaxing but healthy activities such as reading or working out.

I found it best to do it an hour before sleep because that helps me to sleep better. I got this idea from Neville Medhora, you can read more about it here.

Define Simplicity

That’s it… My two thoughts on simple living.

My definition of “simple life” doesn’t mean to have a lower par goal, lower expectation, or doing less. For me, It’s about defining life philosophies and put my focus on a few things that truly matter to me the most.

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