Author and productivity consultant Brian Tracy writes in his book Focal Point
that the ever-increasing number of opportunities, responsibilities, and tasks can be hard to manage.
This is in part because of a tendency he refers to as “Meyer’s Law”: it’s a simple task to make things complex, but a complex task to make things simple.
And yet, not all tasks and activities are created equally.
To help focus on those that are most important, he recommends using the following Seven Rs of Simplification:
Rethinking: Whenever you feel overwhelmed, with too much to do and too little time, imagine you’re an outside consultant looking at your situation, and ask yourself: Could there be a better way?
Re-evaluating: When you get new information, pause and re-evaluate your situation “based on the way it really is today, right now, not the way you wish it were, or the way it might have been in the past.”
Reorganizing: What can you change to try and get more outputs from the same quality and quantity of inputs?
Restructuring: How can you redirect your energy, money, time, and other resources to the activities that are responsible for the top 20% of value or profit?
Re-engineering: The goal here is to find newer, cheaper, faster, and easier ways to accomplish a given task, and still achieve your desired result. To do this, list out all the steps required to complete the task, from start to finish, and then set a goal to reduce the number of steps by 30%.
Reinventing: Practice zero-based thinking by asking yourself: If I were not doing it this way, knowing what I now know, would I start it up again this way?
Regaining Control: Take complete responsibility for setting new goals and plans, and for making new decisions and committing to new actions. ”You don’t wait for good things to happen to you. You go out and make them happen.”