How to stop overcomplicating things at work

It starts with you.

First published on Thursday, Aug 13, 2020

Last updated on Monday, Aug 21, 2017

4 min read

Work can be a complicated business. Meetings about meetings, large project teams, sign off processes, overly complicated language, spaghetti-like hierarchies, workplace politics. Sometimes it can seem like you have to jump through hoops even to make the smallest changes.

But are we guilty of over-complicating things? Take the example of language in the workplace. What could have been said simply in 10 words has suddenly become an essay filled with buzzwords that don’t really mean much. Helicopter views, low hanging fruit, opening the kimono. What does it all mean?

Keeping things simple is one of the key aspects of the Lazy Manifesto and when you find the quickest and simplest way to do a job you free up time to get on with other, more important work.

So how do you go about keeping things simple in work?

Start with the goal

In many companies, projects can become quickly derailed by not having a clear understanding of the overall goal. It is important therefore to state upfront what the overall aim of any work is, what the scope of the project is and what role everyone plays. That way everyone knows what they are working towards and anything that’s not helping to achieve the goal can be sidelined or removed.

Reject the ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ mindset

Businesses can quickly develop an ingrained way of working and develop a set of processes on how work gets completed. But by sticking to the status quo you could be allowing tasks to become overcomplicated. It often takes new starters, those who are yet to become ingrained in the company politics or processes to point out better, more efficient ways of doing things.

It is therefore important to question the traditional ways, to challenge the status quo and find easier ways where possible

Limit your choices and focus your time

With any project or task, there are a million and one ways you can go about it and you could give yourself a generous timeline to complete any particular piece of work. However, with choices comes potential indecision and an overly generous timeline means you could spend most of your time tinkering and adjusting to fill the time allocated. So, when it comes to your next project limit the choices you give yourself to stop the project from going off track and give yourself ambitious time targets, this will focus your mind on the essentials, not the nice to haves.

Let go and stop micromanaging

When it comes to work we can sometimes find it hard to let go of control. This can come in two forms: control over your own workload and control over what your team are working on.

In the first instance, you may find it hard to delegate work, especially if it's something you’ve done a thousand times before. But by keeping hold of work you not only prevent yourself from moving on to potentially more important things, you also stop your team from developing and learning valuable skills.

Micromanaging can also make things more complicated. If you are always worrying and checking up on your team you are stopping yourself from getting on with growing your business. That’s not to say you should stop managing altogether, it’s about trusting your team to get on with the job you hired them to do and getting involved at the right moments, not constantly.

So lose control a little, trust your team to get on with it and you’ll find you have a much simpler working life.

Give yourselves time to discover a simpler way

We know you're a busy person and there's always something to be done. However, this ‘busyness’ only promotes the 'do it the way we’ve always done it' attitude we’ve explored previously. The world, however, doesn’t stand still and new, more efficient ways of working are out there waiting to be utilised. Instead of the constant head down, get on with it mindset you need to stop and look around once in a while. That might be stopping to think about your own internal processes and how they can be improved or to look for new technology that can help you simplify your business efforts.

Keeping it simple is one of our six ways to working lazy. Download our Lazy Manifesto today and find out how you can be working lazy for a better business and better work life balance.

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