Simplify to remove constraints

What could you do to make this (whatever your challenge is) easier? It’s one heck of a powerful question, one that has not only helped me remove unnecessary distractions but also become more thoughtful about the choices I’m making.

No matter the initiative, if it demands your time and attention, will always be at the risk of being ignore, sabotaged and/or eventually eliminated. That’s the reason why most new year resolutions don’t stick. And precisely why we’re unable to implement on our “innovative” ideas. There’s just too much of “you” involved.

You can’t really outsource every little aspect of your life. If you need to lose weight, you have to get moving or die in your couch. Hiring a trainer would help but only if s/he can appreciate the power of removing constraints.

And the principle is straightforward — what’s the most simple and direct way to get something done? This translates to the following considerations:

  1. The quickest way to crank out a thoughtful blog post without killing myself — for me this meant random thoughts that I care about the most. I chose to keep the posts shorts and deliberate instead of the industry standard “length.” And I almost never edit a post. It’s stream-of-conscious and I like it that way.
  2. The most effective way to get things done — I focus on just five tasks on a single day. One of which would be the biggest task (the ONE thing) that if accomplished would make me 80% productive (80/20 principle, remember?). Sure, if I have time and it’s not yet 7pm (my time to start wrapping things up) I continue to work.
  3. The foolproof way to make a decision — I don’t sit on ideas. It’s either a YES or a NO. And if I have everything that I need to know on the decision, I give myself no more than 3-5 minutes to brood over before giving it a go or no-go. If something’s missing, it’s always a no-go. The worst mistake anyone can make for any decision is to let it sit in your todo list for days, weeks and even months!

While I don’t have a framework for removing constraints as yet (look it up, you may find many others… if there are any), this is what works the best for me. And I think I’m going to stick with this until it stops working because I know the moment I dive deep into frameworks, things get complicated. Which beats the purpose, but most importantly doesn’t keep the challenge any easier. Thus, it’s a no-go.

By Sunil Nair

Nurturing leaders of tomorrow.

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