Tune into Episode 30 – keeping (sh)it simple right here in your browser, find it on your favourite platform (head here for the links) or keep reading for a transcript.
Links mentioned in this episode:
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Hi. Hello and welcome to this episode of The Rules Are Made Up. Also Happy New Year because at the time of recording this, it is early January and I hope you are listening to this when it comes out, which means it’s still January, so it is the beginning of a new year, and what that usually means for a lot of us.
Setting or resetting goals, reviewing the year that’s been, and figuring out what we want to do in the year ahead. Now, what it means for me personally is that I also choose a theme or like an intention for the year around this time, and I’ve done this practice for the last. . Yes. And I’ve personally found it really helpful because it’s allowed me to have a bit like a guiding light, a north star, right?
When I’ve worked through decisions, I’ve been able to fall back on that intention or that theme that I’ve set for the year, and it’s, it’s helped, it’s really helped. But that doesn’t mean that you must pick a theme or a word for the. That’s a practice that is incredibly personal and individual. And if you are someone who doesn’t really wanna do that, that is totally okay.
And that is also not what this episode is about because in this episode I will be talking about simplicity. The reason I talked about the word or the theme of the year is because simplicity, keeping it simple is my intention. For 2023, it is my guiding light to help me in my decision making because I am someone who likes making shit complicated.
I like adding steps, adding thousand whistles to things when I don’t necessarily even know that that’s what I, that’s what’s called for. That’s what I need to do. Like, let me illustrate this with a prime example that happened towards the end of 2022. In my business, in my my client support systems, I primarily use an app called Notion, which is actually like a productivity tool.
It’s incredible. And maybe there’s another, another podcast on that. I may actually link a podcast in the show notes that kind of explains it a little bit more. Not mine obviously. But anyway, I use notion as the way to capture my check-in responses and prompts and questions and links and things for my clients instead of using like a, a coaching app, right?
Because notion is free and that works for me. But all of a sudden I stumbled across this other app. I was like, oh, maybe I should, you know, maybe I should have like an actual coaching app. And I started to look at it and play around with it. I even like created some stuff for myself to, to, you know, have a, a play with it from both the, the coach experience and the client experience.
And then as I was really reflecting on my year and thinking ahead and really thinking about this theme of simplicity, cuz by that time I’d already chosen that this was going to be my intention. I’m like, what the fuck am I. Why am I making this more complicated when it doesn’t need to be? I have zero information, zero data from my clients in particular, that what we’re currently doing, how it’s all going, isn’t working.
There is no comments, no feedback whatsoever. That tells me that they don’t like the setup as it is. So why am I trying to make it more complicated or trying to fix something that really isn’t? , and if that resonates, then maybe simplicity and keeping shit simple is something that you need in your life too.
And a lot of the times, like, there is no formula that I can give you in this podcast to help you simplify. Right? It’s a lot of, it feels like it’s a bit of a buzzword sometimes that gets thrown around. and it is very nuanced and very individual. So the only thing that you’re gonna get from me in this episode are a couple of questions that you may ask yourself if you notice that you’re making something a lot more complicated than it needs to be.
And those are basically the questions I’m going to be asking myself as well when I am noticing that I’m. Something more complicated, and I remind myself of the theme, the intention I’ve set for 2023, which is to keep it simple. And the primary prompt, or the primary question that I’m gonna be asking myself, I think is, do I really need to do this?
Do I really need to add this thing on my plate, or do I need to make this more complic? , right? Because I also have a tendency to just add more things to do onto my list, right? I work full-time, I run my business, I coach my clients. I do this podcast, I study part-time. You know, I don’t need to also volunteer.
I don’t need to also do this. I don’t need to also do these other things because at the moment I just don’t have the head space for it, and I know I don’t have the head space for. But every so often I still find I’m being pulled towards adding something, and so focusing on simplicity means I can remind myself and ask myself some of those questions, right?
It’s a great way to put a bit of a buffer in between. Noticing some of that stuff come up and then actually making the decision as opposed to making a decision from the, oh my God, I need to really do this. like I did with that app example. I didn’t think it through. I just did it right. And sometimes that’s, that’s what you need to do.
You need to do shit and you know, just take action and figure it out as you go. There’s sometimes you need to give yourself a buffer. You need to give yourself a pause to think it through. And so the, that’s what these prompts are there for. Another question, a really good question you can ask. Is, what will you gain from doing the thing or adding something else, right?
What will I gain from doing or adding this thing? What is it going to help me do? Do I think it’s going to, you know, make something easier? Is it, you know, in a business context, for example, if you automate something, is it actually going to, you know, you might have to spend some time upfront to, to put it all in place, but down the track it might make life a bit easier.
And so that, that, that is a really genuine good question to ask yourself because as much as for a shorter period of time you might be adding shit to your plate, is the payoff down the road greater than the additional headspace, the additional energy it’ll take you in the short term? That is a genu that that is a good question to ask yourself, right?
Because there could be genuine reasons to actually do something, make it more complicated, add more stuff to your plate right now. Because in a month’s time, two months, three months, six months time, you’ll be reaping the rewards and it’s all about just really pausing and asking yourself those questions.
Right? On the other hand, another question you can use is what will you gain from not adding it? So it’s, it’s basically the same question just with a very important word in there. It’s what will you gain from. . Adding the thing, doing the thing. Is it time? Is it more mental energy? Is it joy? Is it some, you know, it could be a lot of things.
It could be , mostly time probably. But it could also be, you know, not feeling as frazzled not feeling as overwhelmed because you’re actually removing shit from your plate. And so, , ask yourself, take a pause, ask yourself those questions. Last one, which we’re probably going to dig in, they, they’re gonna dig into shit a little bit more, is why do you think that adding something or making something more complicated, right, use your own like personal example here, but why do you think that that’s what you need to do?
Where’s that coming? , is it because you think you need to do it because you see other people do it? Right? Like with that coaching app example, I know lots of other people use coaching apps, and I’m like, Hmm, maybe I should do because can I really call myself a coach if I don’t use a coaching app? Well, it turns out, yes, I fucking can.
So rules are made up, right? As per the name of this podcast I get to. what the rules are for how I service my clients. And so that is a, another genuine good prompt to ask yourself is why do you want to make it more complicated? Where is that coming from? Is it that you are afraid of something? Right? Like another thing with freaking having internalized hustle culture myself for a long, long time, half the time if I, I just wanna keep adding shit on my plate because I am afraid of.
I’m afraid of having free time and what my brain will do when I’m not busy doing something right, and so if that is you as well, then these prompts can be really, really helpful, right? Because that is partly why I’m focusing on simplicity, because I know my go-to is to add stuff, is to take on more work, is to take on more things, is to try and redo my website five times.
but half the time there is no genuine feedback or causal info data that I’m basing a lot of that on. It’s genuinely because I wanna have shit to do, I can’t like vegging out on the couch watching TV or reading is a very hard thing for me to do, is very hard for me to switch off. And so again, ask yourself where that drive to make it more complicated is coming from.
And if it’s because you’re afraid of something, , or is it that is it’s your perfectionism showing. It’s like you need this thing to be perfect. You need it to be polished. You need it to be amazing and simple. You know, the simple version of it just won’t cut it like that again, with the freaking app example, part of my brain was going, well, the way that you’re doing it is not really like, is it a great user experience?
Is it a, you know, I don’t know if I would want to use it this. , but I don’t have any fucking feedback telling me otherwise. So why am I trying to tinker with it if I don’t know that it’s ne it needs tinkering. Right. And the last point I want to make, or the last reminder I want to give you as we are wrapping up this episode, is that all of those prompts and the decisions that you’ve.
To potentially not add something right away or to not make something more complicated. As you’re making that decision, you can always add later, you can always make it more complicated later, right? You are making a decision for right now to keep it simple, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way until the end of time or until it’s run its course right.
You can always add.
but the challenge is to start simple. To start with something that may not be as polished with something that may make you think, Ooh, this doesn’t feel like that much. Like, is this really going to work? Do it. Try it, see what happens. Treat it like an. , right? Sometimes that giving it that frame is really, really helpful, and especially for me personally too.
Frame it like an experiment. Say I’m going to purposely, deliberately try to keep something simple and see what happens versus making it complicated from the get-go because you can always make it more complicated down the road. That is all I’ve got for you for this episode. . The one last thing, sorry, I’ll finish off with, I lied , it’s just cuz I’m looking at my notes and I can see the note and I hadn’t mentioned it.
The one last thing I have for you is a recommendation of a book called Essentialism. You may have heard about it already, you may not. But that is a really, really helpful book to think about some of this stuff as well. And I’ll. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. There’s no like affiliate links or whatever, so you’re not gonna I don’t know what I was gonna say then.
So anyway, we’re gonna keep that in. I am keeping this podcast simple and not editing it, so, and not making it perfect. So have a look at the show notes. It’ll be at the top of the, at the top of the links, along with the link to the episode about Notion, if you wanna look into notion as an. A bit more. I find it really, really helpful for myself to keep track of a whole bunch of different things.
It’s like a, it’s essentially a database on steroids is how I would describe it. But I’ll link a podcast that describes it a lot better and you can do like Google searches on it and there’s heaps of people who’ve done like YouTube things about it. I just really, really love it and don’t get a kickback or anything mentioning it.
So just go and have. Look at all of those things. I will sign off for this episode. I appreciate you tuning in, and I’ll chat to you on the next episode.