Simplifying the Stuff

Starting out a new year, everyone focuses on what they want to do and how they want to grow. People talk about goals. I’ll be honest, I’ve never been great with goals. I’ve always been a “let’s pick a thing and go do it” kind of person. Which, I’ve been pretty happy with so far. Although, I’ve been thinking of adding a little more structure to my life in that regard. Goal setting. Wow. What a novelty! That said, I’ve only got a few goals, and I’m going to share what I got so far.

Keeping it simple

What does that mean? “Keeping it simple.” I’ve always been busy with things and stuff. Maybe I’m organizing a meetup; maybe I’m holding a conference, or perhaps I’m helping someone with a problem over a cup of coffee. There’s no problem with any of that.

When my time is not valued
I feel that part of my time is spent doing things for the sake of doing them and not asking why am I doing this? Will anyone truly value my time? How does this provide value to others?

Case in point, about a month ago or so I was asked to “pinch hit” last minute as a panel facilitator for social media for nonprofits discussion hosted by the C2 Initiative. I jumped right at that opportunity (also unpaid). I showed up an hour early, after braving traffic for an hour and a half; I paid for my parking. I met a nice lady who was there keeping things organized. She didn’t work for the organization putting on the event, though.

No one from the C2 Initiative was on-hand at the event to field questions or to guide me. On top of that, I had one very angry person from a nonprofit get angry and testy with me because of a location change that was posted less than 24hrs before the event began. I got why he was upset; I couldn’t help him, and I could only refer him to the email of the person who asked me to help out.

I ended up moderating the panel, and it was a good discussion. One of the participants was Brigette Willard, of GiveWP fame. There were nonprofits who seemed to benefit from the knowledge spilled at the talk, but I was still miffed. I followed up with my contact at the C2 Initiative, and I never got a reply to emails or phone messages. Not even a “thank you.” To that sort of bullshit, I say “no thank you.” I have friends who say no a lot. Only now do I truly get it.

If I’m going to give my time for free, I’m going to ensure the value and also do so on my terms.

Simplifying the products and services I use
I’m a big productivity fan; I have apps that talk to apps, that talk to yet more other apps. Why? Because I can, and it’s cool to see a bunch of things fall like dominos when a particular trigger fires.

Depending on what it is, I can probably do without it. I don’t need to know about random bags of crap; I don’t need an alert to tell me it’s going to rain tomorrow; I also don’t need alerts when someone comments on something on some app or social network somewhere. I can do without all that shit.

As I evaluate the things I use, I’ve listed the things I love, the things I need, and the things that are why do I have this? I’m checking that list and axing things from my life.

From a business perspective, I also utilize a lot of services. I’ve been making strides to self-host certain aspects of my business such as invoicing and project management. I’ll assess what other things I can host myself. I’m also looking at my web hosting situation, too. I have a shared hosting account at SiteGround, I have an account at Cloudways, I have a WP Engine business account, I have a reseller account on Inmotion Hosting, and then I have a pro account at Pantheon. That’s a few too many hosts, and I don’t provide web hosting anymore, although I do have a few legacy clients that I can move off to their hosting plans. I’ll start there. I have invoicing, project management, a maintenance server site, and then my main site that I need hosting for. Just one managed hosting account and one shared account is all I need.

Simplifying my service offerings

For a long time, I’ve sold PPC, SEO, and Copywriting services. These aren’t services that I specifically do nor do I enjoy them. SEO is vague, and I guess I do enjoy it, but I bundle that under the digital strategy and content marketing, both of which I like. I don’t prefer writing content for other people, and I don’t enjoy PPC that much. Both of those have gotten the ax. If I get inquiries for those services, I just refer them out.

So what do I enjoy doing? I enjoy development, digital & content strategy, and marketing automation. I like to build strategies, solutions, and finding ways to utilize them intelligently.

Living a little more

Conferences are not vacations, and I used to think of them as such. They’re not unless you intend to stay for a period before or after where you can truly relax and do the thing that brings you the most joy. However, I never do that. I pack up and go home after a conference. I could stay an extra day or two and site see or just relax in a robe eating chocolates and drinking a great IPA all day.

The truth is that I don’t know what that sort of “living” looks like. I don’t know what that means to me, and I need to ask that question and do a little more of it.

My friend, Greg Douglas, has a thing he says: Always be present. When talking on the phone, or in person, or where ever, be present. Put the phone done, close the laptop, and give them your attention. This seems like such a simple thing, but I’m horrible at this. Over the holidays, I had my lappy open quite a bit. I wasn’t alone. My mom plays Clash of Clans and so do a lot of other folks in my family. It’s hard to be present. And technology is to blame, in part for that. The rest could be our wild political and religious differences.

Always be present. Look for more fuck yes things to do. That’s a good start.

Final thoughts

Simplifying or minimalism is a big topic and one that I could write a lot more about. Overall, I guess I’m just trying to streamline and focus on what’s truly important to me and what matters most.

What about you? What have you done to simplify your life recently?

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