[365 Days of Extraordinary] Day 127 Transcript: Keep It Simple Samantha

Samantha Leith Keep it Simple

Good evening, folks. Monday. Okay, that was a bit silly. So today I wanted to talk about Keep It Simple Samantha, otherwise known as Keep It Simple Stupid, otherwise known as … actually I found out there were another couple, Keep It Simple … I’ve lost it. Yeah, there were another couple of ways it was called. Keep It Short and Simple or Keep It Simple and Straightforward. Why am I talking about this today? Well, it’s actually on my manifesto and I should’ve put that in the description. Oops. Well, I’ll go back and change it. So it came to me today because I was getting bogged down, completely bogged down and over-complicating something that should’ve been relatively simple.

So I was taking a onboarding process with some new clients, and where, in my brain, all my forms and the things I need to get them to sign, and what are the questions I want to ask them, all that kind of thing, I wanted to just go, bang. And then I was like, “Oh, I’ve got to …” And at the moment my VA couldn’t do it for me. So, I was like, “Okay, I’ve got to upload this into here, and then I’ve got to put this here, and then I’ve got to …” I was like … and I was getting so bogged down on the complexity of it that I was just like, “Oh God, I’ll just email them the Word document.” And it was driving me crazy. So then it became complete overwhelm and I didn’t do what I needed to get done in a timely fashion.

So what do we mean when we say Keep It Simple, Sally, Samantha, insert … because stupid is not actually a very nice thing to say. So you may just be less advanced in a particular area, not actually stupid. So what do we mean by, we say it? Well, you can do it in every part of your life. A lot of people have the KISS principles in design technologies. There’s a lot of KISS principles involved in developing software. There’s a lot of KISS principles involved in coaching practices. But how can you KISS it in life? How can you KISS it in life? Things as simple as, you know when you go to something and there’s a PowerPoint presentation and they’ve got five gazillion points on there and you’re like, “I don’t know what I’m looking at.” Whereas if you go to something and there’s a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation and there’s one picture and one word and you can soak it in. That is literally the KISS principle. It’s, keep things as simplistic as possible.

Now you may laugh, but I actually try and keep the KISS principle with what I wear. So today, plain dress, purple or fuchsia, whatever color you want to call it. And I have just a couple of points of jewelry to pick up the color. To me that’s keeping it simple. When I have something more colorful like floral patterns or something, I very, very rarely wear much jewelry because it’s overpowering. So I think you can take the KISS principle into many, many, many, many, many areas of your life. So I’ve made a couple of notes so we’re going to go through a couple of them.

Pinterest - Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Samantha LeithSo how about, where could you keep it simple in emails? Keep them short, keep it short, Sally. You don’t need to be verbose in everything you write. I am guilty of this because I tend to do the emails with, “Hi, how are you?” I keep them really conversational, “I hope you’re really well, how’s bump-watch going?” if they’re pregnant. Or, “How was your dinner you were telling me about?” When I could’ve literally just said, “Did you get that thing done? Thanks. Sam.” So keeping emails as succinct as possible without all the long, stuff, one great way to do it.

And actually, the KISS principle, feeds in a lot into when I’ve talked previously about decision fatigue and how when we’ve got minds with so much stuff that have to happen and we’ve got to make all these decisions, make all these decisions, make all the decisions, that we get to 7:30 and I’m like, “Oh shit, what am I going to eat for dinner? I can’t decide.” So, guess what? Plan that stuff out and keep it simple, so know that on Friday night it’s takeaway night. Hi, Charlie. Monday night I pick up Elodie for example, and I’ll actually grab takeaway when I go to pick her up because she finishes late tonight. The more simple you can keep any of those routines, with food, with clothing, with exercise, just works so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so well.

In your work productivity, the simpler you can keep it the better. So, if you can have one app instead of three, go the one app. Again, this plays into doing things like taking off alerts and notifications on your phone because they just bombard you and that’s sure as hell not keeping it simple. And so much software today helps with this. So if you’re using Xero for example, you don’t need to have 500 other things going in, you can scan the receipt and upload it directly into your expenses, your bank feeds, automatically in. So that helps a great deal with that kind of work productivity. If there’s a letter that you write often, save it as a template, don’t rewrite it, that just kills you, that’s just wasting, wasting, wasting, wasting, wasting, wasting, wasting time. And lists, lists, lists. So productivity, keeping it simple, and lists, don’t over-complicate things.

In business, how are you … not yet … how are you over complicating things? Are you trying to offer your customers 500 different things? Don’t do it. If you go into Peter Alexander, it’s sleepwear and candles, sleepwear and candles. And I think they only do the candles … and you can get gift cards for the candles. And they only do the candles, A, because it makes their shops smell fantastic. And B, I think when he started it, he liked the candles. So it was a love thing rather than a, “This is a great …” Because you shouldn’t burn a candle when you’re in bed, that’s bad juju, you might burn the house down. So I don’t recommend that. Jo Malone, started with bath oil, keep it simple, simple packaging, incredible … it was all about the fragrances. But the concept, this design, what she started her business with, simple, simple, simple, simple, simple.

There are many examples like that in the world, so many examples. Musicians have those examples. How often do you listen to a musician and you’re like, “Oh God, who are they now? What are they doing?” And they’ve just over complicated it because they’re doing a different style. I was at a conference, as you know, in San Diego a couple of weeks ago and someone said, “Oh yeah, Rihanna now she’s coming out with Fenty law.” Like, “Rihanna, just make music, that’s what we want you to do.” And it’s true. So there’s now Fenty cosmetics, Fenty lingerie, Fenty this, Fenty … I happen to like the Fenty lipsticks, so you know, Rihanna keep that going. But in some ways her expanding and doing that kind of thing has diluted her message and confused people. So don’t do that.

Another thing where we should keep it simple is when we get involved in other people’s stuff. So if you’re getting involved in other people’s problems and things like that, you can actually keep that simple. Remain a little detached, couple word answers, don’t get overly involved and over-complicate things. That’s a big one where you just keep it simple, stay away, stay away, stay away, stay away, stay away, stay away. Boundaries I talk about a heap.

I think the big ones for me, and the lessons I learned today, is that systematization, ironic given I used to coach people on business systematization. But it’s no longer my jam so I was getting myself in a fuddle because it’s no longer my area of expertise, so I’m not abreast of … that’s funny me saying that, isn’t it? I’m not up to speed on what people are doing and what the systems are, and what people are doing in that area. So I was totally, totally overwhelmed. Should have kept it simple and gone, “I need to do …”

And this is how you do it, literally, take a sticky note, if there’s a process that you need to follow that’s getting really over complicated, write down where the starting point is, where the end point is, all the different bits in between. So in my case it was paperwork they needed to get, it was questionnaires they needed to fill out, appointments they needed to schedule, da, da, da, a whole lot of stuff. And then get rid of a couple of them. Or see how you can merge two of them to make it easier for your customer or your client.

There’s a reason subscription boxes, and membership sites, and things like that are so popular, every … sorry, should’ve put my phone on do not disturb. A flower delivery service that gives you fresh flowers every couple of weeks, because we don’t have to think about it, they just arrive. HelloFresh, GlamCorner, all these things that make life easy are based on the premise of we need to Keep It Simple Samantha, that’s it. So look at some things in your life tomorrow and any of those moments we get, it’s complicated, and write your little start, finish, what’s in between, and how can you make changes to keep it simple? Until then, KISS, KISS.