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posted 2014-10-24 by Donna

I am aware that my life is complicated. To be more accurate, I have made my life complicated. I would actually like it to be simpler. A lot simpler. And once something has been made to be complicated, it isn’t so easy to simplify. It takes a fair effort. It takes a lot of energy to maintain a complicated life. It often happens subtly, over a long period of time. You don’t realize how much it costs you – in energy, effort, time and peace - to keep it all going.

Having too many choices is a form of complexity. Research shows that when people are in a store to make a purchase, and are presented with too many options, they tend to leave without buying anything. Too much complexity overwhelms us.

Take this awareness and turn the lens to where you work. How complicated are the processes and systems that keep your business working? How much of that complexity really needs to be there? What is it costing?

This applies to pretty much anything…project management systems, computer systems, filing systems, business processes. Things should be only as complex as they absolutely need to be, and starting from simplest is usually best. More complex is rarely better. It costs more to build and maintain. And it leaves a legacy of extra time and money to keep it going. Einstein had it right.

I also think there are two considerations in any decision about whether to buy something, or to implement a system or a process. The first is how simple or inexpensive it is to put in place (or to purchase) in the first place. The second is how simple or inexpensive is it to keep it going or maintain. Next time you have a decision to make, you could consider the answers to both of these questions.