I can already tell I’ve disappointed the woman interviewing me. There’s a dissatisfied pause from her end of Skype. She sort of sighs and says “So that’s it? You use post its?”
I recognize this response because I hear it 2-3 times a week.
“So you just use the timer on your phone?”
“You just use a normal notebook?”
“You just make a double batch and then freeze the extra?”
I’ve heard this so often I was honestly starting to develop a complex. Am I a Luddite? Does everyone else know something I don’t? Am I doing life and business ‘wrong’ if all I use is a notebook and Google calendar?
You know what this looks like. It looks like using 7,456 apps, plugins, and platforms to manage your online life. It looks like 17 different kitchen gadgets that serve 17 different purposes.
Yes, sometimes counting our macros, joining a bootcamp, and measuring our BMIs is the answer. But could we just buy a bunch of pre-washed salad greens and take walks on our lunch breaks?
Sure, maybe we really do need to join Mint.com and learn to invest. Or maybe we could just stop buying stuff we don’t need and look at our bank accounts and credit card statements once a week.
Yup, we could put off launching our businesses till we have headshots, three service offerings, two opt-ins, and The Perfect Website. Or we could email our friends and say “Hey, I’m trying my hand at X and I’d love to do it for you – for cheap/free – to fill up my portfolio and get feedback/testimonials. Waddya think?” <- How I got my start as a copywriter.
When we believe complicated solutions are the best ones, we’re taking ourselves off the hook. Click To Tweet We’re removing personal responsibility from the equation. How lucky for us! We can put off sending that vulnerable pitch email because we need to spend three weeks learning this new software! How convenient!
How to make things less complicated
Ask yourself ‘What would this look like if it were easy?”
Would it look like sending five personalized emails instead of 200 template emails? Would it look like spending 20 minutes researching how to make it easier instead of powering through with the complicated, taped-together method you use now? Would it look like finally admitting to yourself that maybe this relationship/activity/service isn’t working and it isn’t worth the hassle?
Notice where you’re getting these “Everything Must Be Complicated!!!” ideas from and consider muting accordingly
Is your best friend obsessed with her 17-part beauty ritual and 13 different kitchen gadgets? Are you following people on Instagram who walk you through their 21-part launch sequence? Does your co-worker sweaaaaar by a workout routine that requires two different gym memberships and three different meal delivery services?
If those things work for them – awesome! Lovely! But if you feel overwhelmed every time your friend starts talking about making her own tofu, it’s okay to (lovingly) tune her out.
Or follow people who take the less-complicated route
One of my favorite Internet Humans is Paul Jarvis. In a sea of online marketers who seem to be chasing seven-figure dreams and 12-person teams, Paul is happy to do the work himself and keep his work lean and specific.
Paul’s not the only less-complicated human on the internet. The Minimalist Baker creates recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, use one bowl, and take under 30 minutes. If you google ‘body weight workout’ you’ll find 3 million+ results for exercises you can do with NO EQUIPMENT.
Sometimes the answer is downloading a plugin or an app or signing up for a new service. Sometimes we really do need another product, service, platform, do-dad. A complicated solution is not intrinsically better or more legitimate than the simple one. Click To Tweet
But frequently, we don’t. We need to be honest with ourselves about what we want and the work we need to do to get it. The solution is probably inside our heads, not in another purchase or plugin.
Are you inclined to over-complicate things? If you’ve made things easier in your life or business tell us how in the comments so we can benefit from your knowledge!
photo by Sarah Dorweiler // cc