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How NOT to make your life simpler and easier

I’ve written a lot lately about choosing simplicity, aiming to do a bit less and choosing time and space over constant activity.

So I was happy to receive the transcript of an interview Leo Babauta did for an online marketing group called Third Tribe.

Leo is the very successful author of the ZenHabits blog, which covers personal productivity matters, minimalism and simplifying home and work life.

He recommend mindfulness in working life, refusing to be caught up too much in the online world (hear hear) and reducing the stress in your life by gradually cutting down on commitments and learning to say ‘no’.

He gives great advice about choosing the right task to do in the right moment – and being able to tell the difference between tasks we think need doing and what’s really important. Whittling your business activities down to a few most-essential tasks is a great way to make time and space for the things that are really important.

But then I saw something very strange.

“...whenever I find myself needing to hire a Virtual Assistant, I say “well what if I stopped doing this thing that I need the Virtual Assistant to do?” And then I do that, and now I don’t need to hire a virtual assistant because I no longer have that task anymore, I just eliminated it. It turns out that it’s fine.”

Of course I’m going to take issue with this, running a Virtual Business as I do – but it is over idealistic. If my clients stopped doing the things they need my Virtual Assistants to do for them they would cut out of their business:

  • Expenses analysis
  • Keeping in touch with clients
  • Managing their diary
  • Booking travel tickets

So sure – if you’re going to stop doing anything, going anywhere and staying safely in your armchair and avoiding doing any business with anyone, you can eliminate the need for a Virtual Assistant. We’d all be living in a very different world if this was possible – and I’d be happy to wind up Kaleidoscope Virtual Assistant Services. But we don't live in that world - so if we want to slow down, we have to be able to delegate some of the essential stuff that's keeping us so busy.

If I have a client striving for time and simplicity in their life, it’s a pleasure to give a service that helps them make that possible. Here's a typical comment from one of my clients, Christina Griffiths, MD of CGA Management Ltd: "Catherine is fabulous! She is a key part of my business success and has enabled me to focus on what I do best, taking away all the annoying administrative tasks that take up so much time and energy." That is what a Virtual Assistant is for - giving you freedom and control over your time, not taking it away.

If you'd like to discuss this, please feel free to leave a comment below.