Leading Ideas: Simplify Your Focus

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) Consider this:

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

Consider this:


Simplicity isn’t simple. Complexity is simple. Anyone can make something complex. Read the front page of any newspaper. You’ll find complex problems everywhere. Look into your own life. You’ll find complex forces at play. Complexity is the natural state of things. Sophistication lies in your ability to SIMPLIFY complexity. It lies in your ability to make sense of the world around you. You can’t do everything. Understand what’s important and what’s not. Pick your focus and act.

One of my clients runs a fast-paced technology business. A frequent struggle of his is staying on course throughout the day. One process we implemented to help him is called “3 Things” (described below). Each morning he uses it to determine the 3 tasks he’s committed to completing that day. If he strays, he uses it to pull himself back. “I still get knocked off course,” he explains, “but I’m clearer when that’s happening now. The twenty minutes I spend planning my 3 things each day has been extremely helpful. It takes a lot of stuff off my plate that should have never been on it in the first place.

Try this:

3 Things exercise
1. Write down your objectives for the next year.
2. Identify the 3-5 primary buckets in which you spend your day (might be Admin, Development, Production, & Personal for instance).
3. Write down active tasks in each bucket.
4. Prioritize each list.
5. Consult your objectives and pick the top 3 tasks across all buckets.
6. Each day bring yourself back to them when you get off course.
7. Repeat steps 3-6 daily.

Doug Sundheim • Executive Coach • New York, NY • •