It generally seems that at this time of year (depth of winter to be precise) we begin to choke a bit at life’s many complexities and consider simplicity. We stare down those New Year’s Resolutions wondering how we are tracking against all of that Dec 31st optimism. We feel ground down by the weather (although some of you lucky readers may be on a beach break right now or live somewhere warmer than us). There’s the growing list of to-do’s (tax day around the corner, camp planning , etc. etc.). And finally we think (errr, panic) about what we are going to achieve later in the year…from work and home goals to masterminding a happy photo-perfect Summer vacation.
All of this got us talking about what is simplicity. So today we celebrate the simple tricks, companies and people we are thinking about. And not just the ways in which we all can simplify our lives but a reminder about how brands can better communicate with us. There are so many products and brands we try – for work and pleasure – and have become quite obsessed with those propositions we understand immediately. So with that, here is our celebration of the simple… simple to understand, simple to enjoy.
Simplicity is Healthy Eating
We know what’s healthy and that we aren’t getting enough of the good stuff. There is never enough time. And you are lucky if you like to spend time in the kitchen (we see you over there on Instagram). This is why we love Daily Harvest right now. Frozen vegetable-based meals in cups that you pop into the microwave. And/or shakes that you add liquid to and throw into the blender. So easy, so healthy. And a great reminder about how healthy and easy frozen fruits and veggies can be (especially if you can’t invest in a mealplan service).
Simplicity is Eating Less
Many Brits will remember the compelling BBC documentary ‘Eat, Fast & Live Longer’. Dr. Michael Mosley, doctor/scientific journalist, shot to fame for the diet that came of his journalistic explorations. His resulting 5:2 diet made Mosley a leader in helping us understand the benefits of fasting. He has a new book and approach that modifies earlier recommendations. The simplicity of the recently launched The Fast 800 is what has gotten our attention. Mosley says eat 800 calories a day until you lose the weight. Nothing simpler than that. His book is worth a read if you can get your hands on a copy.
Simplicity is Turning it Off
Doesn’t this seem so obvious to suggest you should tune out to simplify your life? But we don’t do it enough. We have post-traumatic political syndrome…feeling sure that if we turn off CNN we won’t be prepared for the apocalypse. Or if we only look at Instagram with only one eye open we’ll miss all of the fun we aren’t having anyway. This great piece about the ‘Lost Art of Concentration’ in the Guardian is a must read. In addition to providing compelling evidence that the idea of that multi-tasking is a positive thing; there are tips to enhancing concentration. One of our favorites from the article:
This is a simple way of learning to concentrate better. It goes like this: whenever you feel like quitting – just do five more – five more minutes, five more exercises, five more pages – which will extend your focus. The rule pushes you just beyond the point of frustration and helps build mental concentration. It’s a form of training as well as being a way of getting something accomplished.
Simplicity is Throwing it Out
Sure Marie Kondo is so 2014 (yes it was that long ago that she burst onto the tidying scene). But it’s not just her resurgence this year on Netflix that has gotten our attention. It’s our need more than ever to declutter and de-prioritize mass consumption. As city dwellers this is not just a conceptual need but instead a fear of sinking beneath our possessions. Even if us city folk fill our closets with less …we fight the same battle of resisting new shiny objects and art brought home by the kids from school. Why we like the Marie Kondo Method reminder is this…what doesn’t ‘spark joy’ as Kondo effuses, for us, causes stress. It’s hard to focus on what’s important when you are knee deep in things you don’t need.
Simplicity is Saying it Clearly
There is a great book often used in universities and journalism programs called ‘On Writing Well.‘ The late William Zinsser tells an anecdote in the book regarding the way he would get students to simply write a flyer or any business letter/document. He would push them to get to the point over and over again until the piece was so tight and obvious. The point is we often obfuscate to death with words. Primarily professionally and often it’s done by brands to us. Why do so many websites say so much and yet so little? What does a brand do? What does it want us to do? What do we want/need in our day to day lives? Keeping it simple is sometimes a very hard task apparently. Zinsser was a master in helping to understand that saying what you mean in three words is more powerful than three paragraphs.
So with that, let’s wrap it up. Until next time.