I’ve got a short newsletter for you this week, on simplicity.
Jony Ive, who was Apple’s Chief Design Officer for years, is seen by many as a master of simplicity. He says:
Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that’s a consequence of simplicity. Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product. The absence of clutter is just a clutter-free product. That’s not simple.
When a product or object simply works and everything lines up with its purpose, then that’s simplicity. Afterwards, you can’t imagine it being any other way.
You can apply this principle to the way you work. Paring down to the essentials is key. Want to stick to your new method or routine longer? Then eliminate steps in your process. Make it shorter, make it simpler. That ups the odds you’ll stick with it.
This week, I’m sure there are things you can come up with that can be simplified. Where can you cut out complexity today? How about tomorrow? Which appointments can be combined or which recurring agenda item scrapped?
But like Ive says, there’s a difference between pure simplicity and just clutter-free. If everything falls into place with a product, then it practically describes itself.
My takeaway: it’s good to start by trying to clearly describe the purpose of the thing you’re doing or making. Your first attempt at clarity often won’t cover it, but that’s okay. The process of working out a description, sharing it, seeing where viewpoints differ, and adjusting, helps bring the purpose into sharper focus. Then you can adapt the concrete implementation to match.
To come back to your own methods again: What exactly is the purpose of doing things the way you do? What are you aiming for with your process?
Answering these questions brings you a step closer to a process that’s a perfect fit. Simple.
Have a good week!