17 Brilliant Ways To Simplify Your Business (and Life) in 2020

You hear it like clockwork: It’s time to set goals for the new year!

This year, in particular, is brutal. We’re nearing the end of the decade so the countdown is starting to reach fever pitch. Setting goals for yourself and your business is fab—but it can also be crazy stressful.

So, how can you slide into 2020 feeling like you’ve finally got a handle on it all?

You likely already know the answer to this one: Simplify. It’s time to reflect on the parts of your personal life and business that could use a little pruning back.

Sure, it might seem trendy {the meteoric rise of Marie Kondo anyone}, but this stuff works. Let’s dive into the many ways you can simplify your business (and life) in 2020.

1. Make *no* a complete sentence in your life

maya rudolph hard no

As the adage goes, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no.” When you struggle to say no, you end up taking on too much and getting yourself into situations you’d rather avoid {<== like that Superbowl party you promised to throw—even though you hate Football 😬}

Peek into your business and think back to the things you’ve said *yes* to over the past 12 months. Check yourself: Did taking this on make me happy? Was the stress worth it? If you’re shaking your head it’s time to start introducing *no* into your everyday vocabulary. It’s a quick way to simplify your business (and your life).

Related: 5 Reasons “No” is the Most Important Word You’ll Learn

2. Put the kibosh on 24/7 notifications

man doing the karate chop in a bathrobe

Ding, ding, ding! I dunno about you but it’s a chorus of notifications up in here. If it’s not email, it’s a text …and don’t even get me started on the eleventy thousand settings you need to adjust to not see @jane01357 commented on my Insta post {<== if I had $1 every time the world’s greatest graphic designer was here to help…}.

Your life is already jam-packed; adding unlimited availability online means you’re at a high risk of never getting anything done. Put boundaries on your connections. Limit phone calls, texts, and emails to certain times in your day. The same goes for your online *social* life. Set a schedule and stick with it.

3. Set down your iPhone and go outside

two girls addicted to social media

Quick, how many times have you picked up your phone and scrolled through the same Twitter feed today? Being plugged in is so natural to us there’s a good chance you don’t even realize you’re doing it. #addictedtosocial

Do you find yourself daydreaming about taking an art class, reading a new book or getting to the gym—but feel too busy? For 2020, let’s do a little experiment. What if for a week you removed your social apps from your phone? Too scary. How about putting a limit on the time you’re allowed to spend?

Taking a break from the constant chatter of the online landscape can help you remember what’s important. It can be uncomfortable not being connected, but you’ll be shocked how much free time you gain by laying off the ‘gram.

4. Don’t be a Negative Nellie

workaholics negativity

The client who wasn’t stoked about their new cut, the downpour you got stuck in on the way to work, or your fave pants that ripped when bent over to pick up a pen. We all have situations that happen to turn our good day to bad in a heartbeat. It’s natural to be bummed in any of these circumstances but do you need to let it ruin your day? Absolutely not. You’re wasting energy when you stew on minute details—and more importantly, you’re losing time.

Find ways to redirect your energy to get through your day. Maybe it’s meditating for 5 minutes after you’ve spent an hour stuck in traffic, or buying a latte as a *got through it* reward. Being more positive and finding new ways to move past negative situations isn’t easy but it can improve your life and simplify your business.

5. Have a singular focus

take notes to keep your focus

Here’s where the anticipation of a new year can throw your hopes for a simplified life off track. You begin with a long list of goals meant to “inspire” you over the next 12 months. Instead, you feel stressed, overwhelmed and unclear about where or how to start.

For 2020, set one goal for yourself and then break it down so you can visualize exactly how you’ll reach it. Having a singular goal up’s your chances of nailing it, since you’ll focus clear energy in one direction.

6. Say good-bye to the myth of multitasking

woman waving good-bye to multitasking

Ah, multi-tasking. What once was revered as a key strength for most careers has been revealed as a myth. The reality is, going from one task to the next then back again is more stressful, and less productive. Show some love for single-tasking when it comes to simplifying your business.

Build up your ability to focus on one task at a time. When you’re able to check things off your list rather than stare frazzled at what lay ahead, you’ll feel more relaxed and accomplished.

Related: Productivity Showdown: Single-Tasking vs. Multitasking

7. Get your nightly routine down to a science

waking up late will not simplify your business

The temptation to keep hitting that snooze button {especially as the days get shorter & darker} can be hard to ignore. The downside to giving in is the “oh, crap I gotta go, NOW!” feeling that follows. Try getting a few things done before you go to bed: figure out what you’re going to wear, make your lunch and put your keys in the right spot {<== mega time-saver 🤩}. Set your alarm for a time that lets you fit in everything you need to do without panicking…and then, get up.

8. It’s time to make a date for #fallcleaning

two young women in hazmat suits putting garbage into bags

Does it feel like your home or work space is slowly getting smaller by the day? It might not be your imagination. The majority of us tend to collect items or struggle to toss things we have no use for. Make a date to start decluttering and begin with three piles:

  • Donate
  • Sell
  • Trash

You’ll be surprised how many items you’re holding onto. I know it seems harmless to horde your old cell phones {<= sooo guilty over here} or those gas bills from 2001, but if you can live without it, give it away.

9. Release yourself from toxic relationships

elsa from frozen singing let it go

Let it go, let it go! Frozen lyrics aside, this is serious business. Relationships, whether they be at work or home can be complex. If you want to form long-lasting bonds you need to put in the effort. That being said, if both parties are coming to the table with open hearts and minds, you’re ahead of the game.

Relationships shouldn’t add negativity to your life or drain your energy. If this starts to happen you’ll need to evaluate. While it’s never easy to break up toxic relationships {that’s why they’re dangerous}, it can be done. Put your foot down and make a clean break with complete disconnection. If that’s not possible try going with a time out so you can establish boundaries. Fill your life with relationships built on mutual respect and empathy. The reward: a drama-free, simplified life.

10. Ask yourself: What’s the rush?

oprah taking time to relax in the bathtub

It’s exciting to think about the future, where your business will be, how it’ll feel to buy your first place or what your dream vacay feels like. But what would happen if you stopped to look around at where you’re at right now? Where you are, might just blow your mind.

If you slow down and try to live for now, instead of tomorrow or ten years from today you’ll be able to revel in the calm of not future pacing. You can’t continue to run from place to place, without stopping to take it in. Don’t look up one day and wonder where your life has gone.

11. Embrace the power of automation

jim carrey walking down the street

We love how awesome it feels to pay our bills online or never worry Netflix is going to flake out the day season three of Stranger Things gets released. But could you simplify your business (and life) by automating other tasks?

How about:

  • Automatic reorders {<= you need needles and ink, how great would it be to have it show up on the regular?}
  • Online appointment booking: why spend hours sending out appointments notifications and reminders. With an appointment app, you can automate not only your online booking but the follow-up {<= no more back & forth with your clients over dinner}

Related: Real Customers Reveal the Benefits of Online Appointment Booking

12. Maximize your efforts

max greenberg from new girl

It’s easy to believe when you go all-in at 100%, the results you see are a reflection of your resolve. After all, why else would you drive so hard to succeed? The truth is, approximately 80 percent of the results may come from just 20 percent of our efforts. *cue mind-melt*

You need to hone in on the 20 percent that really matters (ex. Your one big hairy goal). You’ll simplify your business focusing on what direction makes you happy—and map out a plan on how to get there. And remember, using the software will give you a lot of leverage to accomplish more. On the booking part using an appointment scheduling tool or on the legal part using Prospero legal templates.

13. Be like Steve, Mark & Dr. Dre

jennifer aniston, too many decisions

What do the former CEO of Apple, a tech geek, and a rapper all have in common? They simplified their look to limit their choices and simplify their lives. The average person makes 35,000 choices every day—no wonder you’re overwhelmed.

Take back some control by limiting options where you can. For example: eat the same breakfast every day or adopt a work “uniform” that fits your personality {<== no more freak outs when you have nothing to wear}. You’ll find when you eliminate options for simple things, you can save your real brainpower for major decisions.

14. Treat your body like the Maserati it is

hannibal burress eating lettuce

You wouldn’t fill your car up with diesel if good ol’ gas was unavailable—right? The result would not be pretty, and yet, many of us throw down a Big Mac or shrug off spin class with the only vehicle we get. Your body and mind are primed for regular movement and thrive on non-fast-food chain options. Knuckle down to eating well and getting off your butt as part of your *normal* life—it’s as simple as that.

15. Go old school: Make a list

a cartoon boy writes a list

If automating your life seems out in left field, or you’ve gone soooo far in the opposite direction it’s starting to slow you down—take it old school. When you’re feeling stressed about the number of things you need to do to keep the shop afloat today, shut down social (email included) and pull out a piece of paper. Set a timer for 30 minutes and start making a list of everything that’s freaking you out. Once you’re finished, go back over the details, break out the tasks and prioritize what needs to get done first.

Depending on the length of your list, you may need to delegate to a staff member or aim to hit your top three. Either way, the practice of getting your thoughts out of your mind and onto paper can have a surprising effect on your happiness and productivity.

16. Be open to change

open up communication with Jane Lynch

What does the culture look like in your shop? If it doesn’t embody your vision there are many ways you can start changing direction:

  • Ask yourself: Does the staff know what’s expected of them without question?
  • Hold a staff meeting to openly discuss how everyone feels being there (or if needed, ask for feedback anonymously)
  • Look at your retention rate for staff. If it’s crazy high, it’s time to start poking around.

Open up the lines of communication within your team, so they can speak freely and feel like they’re being heard. The more you listen to your team, the better your work environment will be.

17. Silence your inner perfectionist

nick offerman dressed as a monk

Eff perfect. Use this as a mantra if you need to. But keep in mind, it doesn’t matter how badly you want it, perfection is a myth. One of the real keys to success is putting yourself out there, whether at a networking event or showing up daily in your Insta stories. You’ll need to come to grips with the fact you may never feel ready enough to get your face out there. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it anyway.

Shift your focus to progress over perfection. Successful folks view *mistakes* as learning tools that help them grow, not failures. The thing is, if you never try, you lose your shot—and that is worse than the biggest flop.

Did you spot a key that could simplify your business (and life) in 2020?

kramer seinfeld serenity now to simplify your business

Using these 17 ways to simplify your business (and life) you can feel confident that when midnight strikes on December 31st you’ll have a firm grasp on more than just your champagne glass.

To get started, do a deep dive into the parts of your life that make you feel twitchy just thinking about them. Once you’ve identified what needs to change, all it takes is a bit of elbow grease and you’ll be on your way to serenity now.

Do you have a favorite way you simplify your business? Let us know in the comments below ⬇️.