To paraphrase Leo Babauta in the Power of Less, simplicity boils down to two things:
- Identify the essential
- Eliminate the rest
Seems pretty simple (pun intended), right?
But in reality- it can be a little tougher! It takes focus to identify what really is essential, and follow-through to eliminate the rest.
I’ve been working on implementing this principle for about 4 months now with varying degrees of success.
- I’m working on creating one new habit each month. So far,
- I’ve succeeded with yoga (it took 2 months!),
- Strength training is a work in progress (i.e. – super inconsistent),
- And walking 10K steps each day is definitely almost a habit.
- I’m using my notecard consistently to make sure the tasks that earn a place on my to-do list are actually worth doing
My next attempt at simplifying is to apply this to email.
Babauta recommends setting a limit on the number of sentences you use in every email. The idea is to use fewer and fewer and fewer words to get your point across.
Great idea! But how? Let’s use A.W.E.
- Awareness – How many sentences do you typically use now? Look back at some previous emails. Does it take you 20 sentences to get your point across? 5 sentences? 100 sentences? (lol!)
- Work – Pick a lower number and try it for a week. If it typically takes you 8 sentences to get your point across, try 5. Or, write the email how you typically would, then go back and eliminate the unessential.
- Evaluate – What’s working? What isn’t? Is your communication getting clearer? Are you “saving time” because you don’t need to explain yourself? Did you decide to pick up the phone instead? Can you see the benefit of the experiment, but need a lot more time than a week to see progress?
I’m going to try using 5 sentences (or fewer) in my email communication this week!
Where in your life and work can you identify what is truly essential? Do you feel confident in paring down to simplify? A.W.E. can help you build great new habits and break down old bad ones. Persistence and awareness are key!
I’ve developed a tool that can help you get a clear view of how you spend your time (and where you can simplify). Download your own complimentary Magic 168 Action Guide and discover how you spend the 168 hours you have in each week!