Simplify Your Work Life

he joy of simplicity.

In “Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More”, Morten Hansen conducted a five-year survey of 5,000 managers and employees. One of the major conclusions focused on simplicity. Professor Hansen wrote, “we should seek the simplest solutions—that is, the fewest steps in a process, fewest meetings, fewest metrics, fewest goals and so on, while retaining what is truly necessary to do a great job. I usually put it this way: As few as you can, as many as you must.”

Deloitte Insights found “more than 7 out of 10 surveyed organizations rated the need to simplify work as an ‘important problem’, with more than 25 percent citing it as ‘very important’. Only 10 percent of companies have a major work simplification program; 44 percent are working on one.”

Simplifying your work life can help you to work smarter, not harder. By simplifying complex or inefficient work practices, you and your team can focus more on getting the job done. Simplification can increase efficiency, improve productivity, reduce costs, and improve employee satisfaction.

7 steps to simplify your work life:

  1. Get your app on. There are apps that can help you simplify everyday processes such as project management, accounting, scheduling, tracking time, and much more. If you’re looking to automate processes, do some research. There might be an app for that.
  2. Evaluate processes. Simplicity Expert Lisa Bodell recommends holding “Bureaucracy Buster” and “Cut the Crap” sessions to review processes which take considerable time and effort. In these sessions, team members are empowered to identify and eliminate barriers to productivity and efficiency.
  3. Delegate. Hold an honest review of what you and your team are spending time on. If you find some team members have bandwidth to take on additional responsibilities, delegate and redistribute tasks. If you don’t use one already, consider using a project management platform to allow you and your team to keep track of projects, assign tasks, set due dates, and mark tasks as completed.
  4. Simplify decision-making. Some businesses tend to overcomplicate the process of decision-making. This article on Forbes explains that simplification of this process “is one of the best ways to free up you and your team’s time to focus on the more creative and strategic aspects of running your business”.
  5. Outsource. If you or your team are spending too much time on tasks for which you are not suited, consider outsourcing. Invest in a consultant, partner with an agency, ask a specialist, or hire a freelancer with expertise in that field. These partnerships can often save time and money in the long run by allowing you and your team to spend more time and energy on the projects and responsibilities you are actually in the business of handling.
  6. Fewer and shorter meetings. Business meetings are important and necessary, but to the extent that it’s possible, try to reduce them. Perhaps a weekly meeting can be done bi-weekly instead. Or consider changing some hour-long meetings to 45 or 30 minutes. Some businesses consolidate their internal meetings to one day a week, which can free up time for the remainder of the week. Others institute company-wide meeting-free Fridays.
  7. Just say no. We get it. This one is much easier said than done. But sometimes you may have to say no to taking on a new project if you and your team are already overwhelmed with what is on your plate. If you can’t say no, try saying “not right now” if a new task can be delayed until one you are working on has been completed.
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