You might recall an article I wrote about something I call “clean investing.” In that article I talked about how simple I like my investments to be. And by simple I mean I don’t like dealing with anything “physical” i.e. owning real estate vs. owning a REIT and I prefer investments that I don’t have to monitor often. Basically I want to put my money in, turn my head the other way, and have more money than I started with in X amount of years. The funny thing is that there are lots of investments like these and yet somehow I feel like most of society continues to try and “beat” these methods. For what reason I don’t know. Anyway, as with investing, I like my business dealings to be “clean” as well. But a better word I’m going to use today is “simple.” In particular I want to focus on solutions to any problems that arise or ideas that might come up. If I’m trying to solve any problem whether it be in business or in life, I want the solution to be as simple as possible, period. If it’s too complex, involves too many steps, takes up too much time, and stresses me out more than I need to be then I want absolutely nothing to do with it. Let me preface this by saying that the solution itself doesn’t have to be simple. Let me repeat. The solution itself doesn’t have to be simple. It can be complex as all hell. However, if it’s complex? I’m getting someone else to do it. So guess what? It then becomes simple for me. Let’s get to some examples.
I Cannot Stand Grocery Shopping
My wife loves grocery shopping. It’s practically a hobby of hers. Finding the 10 cent savings on a 2 dollar package of pasta pretty much makes her day. If you put me into a grocery store I’ll likely start whining like a baby 5 minutes into my visit. It’s nothing against grocery shopping, the people who work there, or those that shop. But for me? I find it to be one of the biggest wastes of time I can possibly imagine. But I need groceries. You know, like, to live and stuff. Food’s kind of important. So I know that the grocery shopping has to be done. But I’m just not gonna do it, ever. When I made that decision, my life became 100 times easier. I simply said to my wife, “I’m happy to do the grocery shopping but I won’t go to the store, period.” I’ll use Amazon Fresh or Peapod but I’m not wasting 2-3 hours going to a grocery store when I can be doing more productive or better yet, relaxing things. And since my wife can’t stand using grocery delivery services she said she’d do the grocery shopping for us. Problem solved. And the solution was extremely simple. I don’t have to do the grocery shopping and since my wife loves doing it, win win. Things don’t always work out that way but I believe that if you stick to your guns, stay simple and lean in the direction of constantly seeking simple solutions that align with your lifestyle, you’re in great shape. And the thing is, there’s always a solution. It’s just that sometimes it might take longer to find it than others.
I Never, Ever Want to Deal with Physically Being at a Bank
If I have to do anything more than use an ATM machine I go nuts. Seriously. I don’t know why. I can’t for the life of me figure it out but there’s something about being in a bank, filling out a piece of paper, and waiting on a line to see a teller that I absolutely can’t stand. It’s almost like the grocery shopping thing. And I have nothing against banks. Frankly I have nothing against the tellers that work there. But again, I just feel like my time is much better spent doing other stuff. The nice thing about banking today is that the majority of the stuff you do can be done both online and with your phone. I make nearly all my deposits online and with my phone. All my payments from clients come through either Paypal or direct deposit. So basically the only time and I mean only time I ever have to go to the bank is if I have a large check to deposit (larger than they allow you to make with your phone) which might be once a year, tops. On occasion I might stop at my bank because their ATM doesn’t have a fee. But even then I don’t have to go inside. So again, my problem of not wanting to go inside the bank has been solved. Not only has it been solved, it’s become quite easy. Depositing a check with my phone literally takes 30 seconds. Depositing a check at the bank when accounting for driving and waiting? Easily 30 minutes. Case closed.
More Complex Problem: I’ll Only Go So Far To Fix an Issue with a Website
I know nothing about coding. I know nothing about HTML. I’m the least technical website owner I can think of. P.S. it’s funny because people assume I know about computers and all that crap when I tell them I own websites. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sure I know how to put what code where. And yes I understand certain aesthetic things like inserting pictures and links. But if I had to do a deep dive into the backend of my websites to do technical analysis I wouldn’t even know where to start. So when one of my sites was experiencing a decrease in traffic, I tried with all my knowledge to come up with my own solution. To do this I read every article I could find and went to a certain point until I got tired of it and realized an expert would be way more qualified to solve this issue. In this particular case I hired an SEO company to do a site audit. This was a 2 week process and will likely be ongoing for a little while longer. I have zero ability to undertake this audit, not to mention the time. The problem (how to get my traffic back up), is extraordinarily complex and will take into account hundreds of little things and actions required to fix it. But who’s fixing it? It sure as hell isn’t me. So while the problem is and will be very complex, the solution has become simplified because I handed it off to an expert. Granted it cost me money to do this but to me, the money is far and away worth the peace of mind and the time saved if I had continued the path of trying to solve this problem myself.
Sometimes You Have to Man up and Delay the Simple Solutions
One caveat to these examples I’m giving you is that you’re not always in position to have a simple solution, and that’s OK. The point here is that you always need to look at the simple solutions first and apply them if they are available. Like let’s say I want to get a landscaper for my house but I can’t afford it. Who’s gonna mow my lawn? Well that person’s gonna have to be me until I can afford to pay someone else to do it. The point is this. I know I don’t want to mow my lawn and I know the solution is to hire someone else to do it. So now my job is to do everything in my power to enable that problem to be solved simply (make enough money to pay the landscaper). In this particular example while the answer is pretty simple, make more money, that isn’t always easy to accomplish. Still though, that’s not the point. The point is that I found a simple solution. The work to get to that solution is something you have to put in and make happen.
The Benefits of Simple Solutions
In my own life and career having simple solutions to any problem has opened up a number of doors. In my opinion however, there are three main benefits of finding simple solutions that are invaluable in life and career.
- Freeing up time – by far the biggest advantage to finding simple solutions is the freeing up of time. Having more free time allows to even further refine the solution finding process but also to do “whatever you want.” I might use that time to work harder or I might use that time to watch a TV show. Doesn’t matter. The point is that by finding simple solutions I freed up the time and in life, I think far and away the most important commodity is time.
- Learning how to delegate – you may not realize this but finding a simple solution tends to teach you delegating responsibility to others. If you know you have a complex problem that requires numerous solutions (i.e. a team to fix it) you’re learning how to delegate responsibility which is a crucial skill especially if you want to become a better leader or scale a business. Nothing grows without at least deferring to help at some point.
- Learning how to trust people – To the day I die I’ll be a “I can do it better myself” type of a guy. But that’s not always going to pay the bills and that’s not always going to get the job done. At some point in our lives, whether it’s to fix the hole in the wall or to hand over our client list to our assistants, we’re going to have to trust that other people can get the job done. If you’re looking to simplify a solution to any problem, often times you’ll have to trust people to help you. There’s no getting around it.
Get out there an make life simple. You won’t regret it.