Tag Archives: Simplify
Digital Control

Presence has become increasingly important as we are always pulled in so many directions and “energy flows where our attention goes”.

We can hardly survive a day without our smartphones anymore and when we are offline or have low batteries it creates feelings of anxiety. I have an ongoing experiment where I am trying to increase my productivity and get more done by using less and less resources (money, paper, time, people). 

I would like to summarize the learning for you and you might want to follow me in this experiment.

I want to simplify my life. I am always looking for topics that are complex in our shared, multifaceted lives today and I think about how to deconstruct them and make them simple again. (In my work as a Global Mobility Expert, this is essential.)

In a MasterMind Group we are all considering getting a paper planner again because we feel that our digital tools are just not doing all the tricks. I also feel that often paper gives me a higher sense of security than an app. Obviously, I am trying to reduce paper where it is not needed but there are areas where paper just beats digital tools.

Here is our Four-Step Approach to Digital Control:

1 – Start with an App List

To write this I started an app list I am regularly working with. The app list became very long. I am not even sure I finished it yet. It’s more a toolbox now than a list.

  • Email Accounts – 4 live accounts, 2 or 3 email ID’s that I never check
  • LinkedIn –  Inbox
  • Facebook – Inbox
  • Twitter – Inbox
  • Instagram – Inbox
  • Slack – Inbox (Member of 4 channels at the moment)
  • WhatsApp, Signal, FB Chat and other chat apps 
  • Seminar Apps such as Whova, Geneva

Once you have completed your app list review my simplification principles and check which ones apply to you. Do you have other principles for simplification you wish to share?

2 – Develop Your Simplification Principles

  1. People over Robots! Any personal message is better than an automated response.
  2. Move from DIGITAL to ANALOGUE on purpose. Use paper strategically.
  3. Delete unused apps from your smartphone.
  4. Turn your phone off from 9 PM to 6 AM. Give it a space for the night outside of the bedroom. (You will still hear the alarm!)
  5. Use Post-it for visualising what is important to you. The idea is: One thought, one post-it.
  6. Say “No, thank you…” or “yes, if…” to any proposal for meetings, work and tasks right away. Commit fast and decline fast. Don’t ponder on decision forever.
  7. When asked for meetings give two options only.
  8. Always set a deadline by when another person should come back to you.
  9. Wear black most of the time. On Wednesdays add a colour. Stop ironing during a pandemic.
  10. If you don’t know what to wear because you don’t know if the occasion is formal or not, wear a black suit.
  11. Choose your social media channels wisely. You are probably on too many.
     

3 – Write your 2020 Accomplishment List

Go through the RockMeApp archive and review all that you have accomplished in 2020. Check if there are open items that you wish to close within the next two work weeks.

 

4 – Participate in our online Workshops

 

Gluehwein
Gluehwein
Christmas
Christmas

When you are in the workforce and have a fully packed diary there is nothing you want more than a day without meetings and conference calls. You want a day in which you can decide what you want to do and how to prioritize from hour to hour.

People who watch netflix in the afternoon

When you take time off, you realize how hard it is to follow your own wishes because for the longest time you have done and followed the targets and needs of others. Maybe you are also a mother and used to take care of several persons in your household. Maybe you are a father and feel the pressure of earning an income. Did you ever have that fantasy of staying at home like an “unemployed” bum and watching netflix during the day (when all your friends are at work)? For me this would feel like missing school. Not ok. I am the pupil who had a bad conscience when she missed a day of school. I hated to miss lectures at uni. Showing up is part of my deal. Even when I am unwell.

For me to get to a point where I could not get out of bed and had to stay at home during my professional career was probably the lowest it ever got.

The vicious cycle of hustle

Taking time out to re-think yourself can be a healing experience but once you return from your yoga retreat, you feel the immediate need to get back into the vicious cycle of hustle, which includes maintaining a diary, checking your mailbox and dating for lunch. It also includes doing favors and running small errands for others, forwarding resumes and establishing connections, mentoring juniors and serving on committees or in the local fire brigade. Your days never seem to end. Once you get home there is a mess waiting to be cleaned up or you stumble upon clothes that should be washed / dry-cleaned or ironed. Unless you are really affluent, you will do these tasks yourself.

In egalitarian Switzerland your hairdresser has a higher productivity rate than your executive coach and your cleaner earns more by the hour than most undergraduates in other developed markets, so outsourcing is only a limited option.

Structure is the key to simplicity

After a long journey in the corporate world which sometimes feels a bit unreal I fell out of the structure of “having work” to go to. Four years into running my own business I can assure you that routine is back and having four days off feels like being away for weeks. A day spent walking in nature and studying medieval architecture seems as long as a normal working week. When we run on our programs, in our little rat cage the beautiful world outside seems unreachable. It’s strange that we live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and still we have so many stressed and unhappy people. Most of us in my view have built up such a high standard of living that we lost the ability to appreciate simplicity. We strive for more and more becomes the equivalent of better. I would call this idea delusional.

Become a bum once in a while

Sometimes you need to become a bum to appreciate your other life. I know it is hard to be out of the “workforce”. I know how it feels not to belong to the “inner circle” anymore, not being able to afford opera tickets, bar nights and luncheons. I understand the embarrassment you might feel when you have to decline a friend’s visit because you cannot even offer a glass of wine. Still, I would advise all of you to be a bum once in a while. Give your soul a rest from hustle by being out of a job. If you really think you can’t afford this experience try one of those four suggestions:

  • Have you sat in a café at the street by yourself and watched people?
  • Did you meet a friend for lunch and asked him about his parents?
  • Have you picked flowers in a garden lately instead of checking your twitter followers?
  • Did you spend time playing a game with children in the neighborhood?

I would be very interested in your experience and what you are taking away from it. Schedule your first meeting with me here.