Here’s the scene: You thought that major project through from concept to final astounding results. You checked off all the pro’s and con’s, hammered out the details with people experienced in this sort of thing, and you ended up with a spreadsheet and an outline that showcases your dazzling brilliance.

But for some reason, your well-designed strategy, outline, excessive calculations, and fail-safe plan didn’t get the buy-in you had hoped for. The result of your hard work fell short. Those morons just don’t get it, right?

Let me make you a bet… If you are anything like me—someone who relishes in German engineering—my bet is that you overdid it. Your objective became too broad and your audience quickly lost interest.


Because you made it far too complicated.

It’s the middle of August and here I am enviously looking at the vacation pictures of my friends who are frolicking on Italian beaches and eating exotic foods in small corners of the world. Although I have visited many beautiful places in the past, I am sitting at home typing this because I didn’t plan a summer getaway this year. And oh look, it’s Mrs. Grumpy melting in a record breaking heat wave and dealing with security breaches on one of my three websites. I have come down with a case of feeling generally overwhelmed and not really wanting to write more, post more, share more.

Is this burnout?

We can blame nobody but ourselves. When we don’t bother to plan the vacation, the getaway, the workout time, the down time, any kind of break at all—we just keep working. We don’t have an excuse to stop. A friend of mine once said that when he realized his personal life seemed to get in the way of his work, he knew it was time to make some changes.

I think this is that time for me.

Can you relate? Do you always have one more email to send before you go home? Do you hammer furiously into the keypad of your phone while in the car, at the hairdresser, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or at your child’s soccer game? Maybe you’ve fallen victim to the time thief named Smartphone who cleverly robs you of any free minute. Have you noticed that half of us are running through our lives perpetually hunched over, or are you too busy staring downwards, too?!

I recently listened to an audio interview with Jack Canfield and Darren Hardy, the publisher of Success Magazine. Canfield says he limits his use of electronics and controls how accessible he is. Instead of answering emails and messages in the morning, he uses the first half of the day for tasks that need the most focus. Plus, he doesn’t work or even take business calls on weekends!

It has finally dawned on me. My life is too complicated. When did my life become all about pleasing everyone else, showing up on time, doing and writing the right thing to improve some arbitrary ranking somewhere? Did I lose sight of how I measure my pleasure? And when did I give up on summer vacation?

Have you, too, fallen into the trap of not being able to think or do “simple” anymore?

Let’s make a pact today. Let’s start Operation Simplicity with these five ground rules:

  1. No more eating lunch at your desk or ordering takeout anything—not even coffee. Pick a table, any table. Preferably outside.
  2. Buy nothing that you already have, even if it’s new and improved. You probably don’t need it because you already have one, remember?
  3. Always think about the simplest way to do anything. Then do it, delegate it, or delete it.
  4. Make people your priority. Schedule dinners, lunches, and happy hours with friends right away and make a promise to yourself not to back out.
  5. Go to your calendar and find dates for your next getaway(s) and book it now.

Because being plugged in is such a hot topic, will you please share your tips for simplifying your own life? If you have a trick up your sleeve, I’d love to hear it. We can all benefit from helping each other to simplify more.

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