Are You Stacking Business Tools Instead Of Simplifying?

Image of Stacked BlocksWhy can’t we just keep things simple?

Is it that hard to cut out the clutter so that we can actually be productive? If you’re struggling to find the time to accomplish something then chances are you don’t need yet another  tool or service to help you eliminate the clutter from your life.

Let me explain…

I was surfing the web devouring information (kinda like sippin’ water through a fire hose) and I came across a few blogs reviewing the WriteRoom word processor.  This thing is great, it’s an alternative to Microsoft Word that helps you focus on you’re typing by creating a full-screen writing environment.  No fancy menus, drop downs, tables or otherwise.  Just words.

It even has a black background and green font reminiscent of the old days; it’s easy on the eyes.

People were raving about WriteRoom asking how much it is and where can they download it.  You’d think it was the best program ever released.  It’s going to revolutionize your word processing by keeping you focused so you can type away without missing a beat.

Am I the only one that sees something wrong with this picture?

You’re worried about opening Microsoft Word or maybe a Notepad file to type in because you may be distracted.  Maybe it’s the exciting feature buttons of the MS Word UI that interrupt your train of thought? Or is it perhaps the ever-stimulating  menu options in Notepad that make you too jittery to want to focus on typing?

The Tool For the Tool

Don’t over-complicate your life.  If you need a tool to help you simplify the use of another tool in support of your online business then you’re just tool stacking.

Stop stacking.

Buying a program that just adds-to-your-programs-but-is-nearly-identical-to-that-other-program is useless.  It’s like trying to find a tool that will help you swing a hammer.  You’re using a tool to use a tool.

Simplify.

The problem isn’t that you need a newer, shinier, fancier widget to get our productivity rocking.  It’s that you need to regain control of your attention span and discipline yourself to achieve goals.  Well, that’s if you’re setting goals (which you should).  If you haven’t set business goals for 2011 then don’t worry because we can work on growing your business together with some strategy sessions.

Oh and how about this one: another advertisement running these days is the new Windows smartphone that claims to, “save us from our phones.”   I see.  So let me get this straight, I buy your $300 cell phone so that I can finally organize my browsing, texting, calling, Facebooking, Tweeting, Foursquaring, emailing, and everything else from the palm of my hand?

Stop stacking.

If the phone you have is overwhelming your focus and time then consider setting it down for a day.  For an hour.  For ten minutes. Just step away.

Besides, there’s a great big world outside your door and we’re tired of watching you trip and walk into things while you walk and text.

Are you stacking or are you reaping the benefits of productive simplicity?


Photo: fdecomite


21 Responses to Are You Stacking Business Tools Instead Of Simplifying?
  1. Pete Carr
    January 12, 2011 | 7:00 pm

    Hi Jon,
    How true. I think we are all guilty of over complicating things.
    I like to keep it simple. I still use pen and paper, no distractions, just me and my thoughts. I jot everything down and then type it up. Keeps me focused as I know what I have to write.
    Pete

    • Jon
      January 12, 2011 | 9:22 pm

      Pete thanks for the input. You’re right we’re all guilty.

      How interesting it is that we BOTH write best with a notebook and scribbled thoughts then we take it to the keyboard. Glad I’m not alone!

  2. [...] So instead of rattling off a list of all the shiny bells explain to your customers what the product or service will do for them today, how it will make them feel tomorrow, and bonus points if it protects their family.  But keep it direct and simple. [...]

  3. [...] It’s a simple search-engine interface where you type in exactly what you seek.  This is one business tool you should definitely keep in your [...]

  4. Stacy | Grow With Stacy
    May 20, 2011 | 11:06 am

    Hi Jon,
    Great point! I don’t know how many times I’ve asked myself why technology seems to make life more complicated when it’s supposed to make it more simple!

    Stacy

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:17 pm

      Ha, technology can be our best friend and worst enemy all within the same 10 minute span of time :)

  5. Jeanine Byers Hoag @ Dressing My Truth
    May 20, 2011 | 11:11 am

    Great points, Jon! But I do have a confession….

    I sometimes work even when I am supposed to be done for the day and I am tempted to get an iPad or something similar so I could take it over to the couch so that I could still work a little while hanging out with family or watching TV.

    I know what you’re going to say! Just walk away from the computer, right? I know, I know.

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:21 pm

      That’s funny, Jeanine. Hey even I’m tempted to buy an iPad from time to time just for the novelty of it. Who doesn’t like a new shiny toy? I really wouldn’t use it much for work, it would be for random surfing and taking to the homes of friends and family. But let’s do our best to limit distractions, shall we?

  6. Jane | Blog SEO
    May 20, 2011 | 12:30 pm

    Hey Jon,

    You just hit the nail. When it comes to buying organizers or installing that addon or plugin for productivity I always research, think, do a test and then use it. You know, if I don’t spend this time to take decision I will regret it later when I struggle to cope up with its sophistication.

    I have heard about Writeroom, gotta try it out with the new Macbook I am going to purchase soon.

    Jane.

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:25 pm

      Research, think, test and then use: good process. It’s easy to complicate our processes with more tools and shortcuts but we ought to routinely assess exactly what our end game is and the necessary tools to get us there.

  7. Catarina
    May 20, 2011 | 12:42 pm

    Agree with you completely. Too many things are on offer and there frankly isn’t enough time for all of them. Besides, as you point out most of the things on offer we really don’t need.

    Have simplified all my life and it facilitates a lot. Far too many people complicate life and issues so much they get nowhere.

  8. Deevesh @ Technshare
    May 21, 2011 | 3:03 am

    Jon,

    You’ve made a great point. Technology isn’t making the things simple, instead making them more complicated.

    I still use the old pen and paper method, and it works better then any other tech tool.

    Thanks for sharing this great post. have a great weekend, Jon.

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:41 pm

      Devesh I do the same with paper and pen! That’s how I write most of my first drafts for anything. My thoughts are clearer and fire better when I’m putting pen to paper with no screens or radio or any other distractions. Best wishes keeping your technology tools in check, D!

  9. Mavis Nong @ Online Business Tools
    May 21, 2011 | 2:40 pm

    Hey Jon,

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Why complicate things if you can simplify them?

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    All the best,
    Mavis

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:41 pm

      Right on. It’s the KISS method all over again.

  10. Janet @ The Natural Networker
    May 21, 2011 | 6:58 pm

    Jon, aloha. Great Post! Though I have not heard of WriteRoom, the idea that people would pay for it, boggles the mind. What they really need is free–no, that’s not true, it requires effort. What they really need is FOCUS!

    Another thing, Jon, it seems that you can get a free version of most anything–at least for a limited time or scaled down model. Why not “test” it to see if it does make a difference before buying it and to see if you even use it?

    In the past month or so, I have deleted so many programs. What I want to do is to get systems used down to the fewest and easiest possible. Already I feel better.

    Best wishes for a terrific weekend, Jon. Aloha. Janet

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:35 pm

      Yes, we need FOCUS!

      There is so much free out there that you really don’t have to pay for much, I agree. Plus, trial periods are available for a reason! Congrats on your reduction effort I hope that you’ve streamlined things nicely now and are focusing on things that reward you well.

  11. Oliver Tausend
    May 22, 2011 | 3:42 pm

    Hi Jon,

    what a thought provoking post, thanks for sharing. I love your repetitive instruction:”Stop stacking.” If we keep stacking tools, we’re stacking the cards against us. I am not saying that I am not guilty of that, lol.

    Take care

    Oliver

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:37 pm

      We’ve all been there or we’ll all experience it at some point. We’ll look at all the toys and programs we amass at some point and say enough is enough. Even you aren’t immune to it, Oliver :)

  12. Diana Simon
    May 23, 2011 | 3:40 pm

    Hi Jon,

    I absolutely loved this post and had a chuckle here and there! I like how you pointed out that it our attention that we need to gain control off.

    I can understand how easy it is to get distracted online because there is just too much information. At times, instead of doing what I am supposed to get done online, I get off tracked and it takes me so much longer to finish my tasks.

    I am setting a time limit for me to stay online so it forces me to keep my focus.

    I usually don’t buy things to help me with something else but I just enjoy reading and that throws me off!

    Thanks for the reminder.

    • Jon
      June 2, 2011 | 9:39 pm

      Diana,

      I’m glad you got a laugh. The internet can be our biggest enemy and time robbing tool. It truly is so easy to come off track so it’s important to be vigilant in our efforts to reduce distraction. Focus is key, as Janet suggested in her comment.

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