A simple picture of a pencil on a white background

The KISS Principle: Keep It Simple, Sucka!

A couple of months ago, I wrote about building habits with better-than-nothing behaviour, and since I’ve recommitted to filming daily videos, those lessons are more relevant than ever. 

To be clear, better-than-nothing behaviour isn’t about doing what’s easiest – the hard things in life are generally the most rewarding. But if you can simplify the process, or find ways to prevent yourself from being overwhelmed, you increase the likelihood of achieving your goals. 

Think of it like rinsing your dinner plate before putting it in the dishwasher: it comes out cleaner that way. 

Which brings me to the KISS Principle. 

Back in the day, it was an acronym for ‘keep it simple, stupid.’ That’s frowned upon these days, so I’ll refer to a more politically correct definition: keep it simple, sucka! 

The reason I tell you this is because recently, my bullet journaling, including monthly and weekly planning, has fallen by the wayside. 

Initially, I had some pretty cool layouts for my monthly and weekly spreads. This included bright pages with goals, top tasks, a habit tracker, and a time tracker among other things – all of which needed to be filled out each day, week, and month. 

Truthfully, it included a lot of colouring, which was fun, but it also ate up a lot of my time. Laying out all the pages at the end of each month took about 2-3 hours. 

Here’s the thing: 

  • I write two blog posts a week, with each being between 800–1100 words;
  • like you, I have daily chores and honey-dos on an ever-growing list;
  • I’m trying to maintain a healthy relationship (which I could be doing a better job of);   
  • every night, I spend 45 minutes cataloging my day – I call this my brain dump; and
  • I try my best to get to bed at a decent hour so I’m not zonked the next day. 

Needless to say, it got to the point where I almost completely stopped writing in my bullet journal. 

And without my planner, I’m far less productive. 

Which is why when April arrived, I made the decision to simplify the process. The biggest change was I eliminated the flowery designs and the outlined sections. 

Sadly, the habit tracker didn’t make the cut either. It was helpful at the beginning, but it no longer adds value or helps me establish habits in a tangible way. Maybe I’ll bring it back in the future, but for now, I’m cuttin’ bait. 

My bullet journal isn’t as colourful and pretty looking anymore, but writing out the monthly and weekly spreads for April only took 15 minutes. 

And since I have an easy-to-reference roadmap in place, I’m getting shit done again.

If you want to see what it looks like now, it was featured in yesterday’s episode of your Daily Dose of D. You can also watch the video below.

If you’re feelin’ frisky, like that bad boy, leave a comment, and give it a share, won’t yah? I’d be super grateful if you subscribed to the channel, too. 🙏

Once the novelty wears off, the real work begins  

Whenever we start something new – whether it’s a workout regimen, writing that book you’ve always wanted to, or trying to break a bad habit – our excitement often gets us through the first few days. 

Everything comes easy at first, and we feel really good about our progress out of the gate. But once the novelty wears off, which it always does, shit gets real. 

  • The motivation to hit the yoga mat disappears; 
  • writer’s block rears its ugly head; and 
  • the temptation to take a puff becomes irresistible. 

This is why simple systems and plain processes are incredibly important. Because if you overcomplicate things, the less likely you are to stick with them – especially when the going gets tough. 

Full disclosure: the remaining content is all about my writing process, so if that’s not your jam, let me remind you of this: keep it simple, sucka!

An example of overcomplicating things is when I switched up my writing process. 

When I became a full-time writer, I decided to move away from writing my outlines in a notebook. I figured it wasn’t what a professional would do, and I also thought starting out electronically would increase my output. 

Boy, was I wrong. 

The backspace is far too tempting in a Word document or Google Doc, which means freewriting on the computer is nearly impossible for me. I can’t help but try to make every sentence perfect. 

I would write, I would delete, I would write, and I would delete some more. 

Next thing I knew, an hour or two had gone by and I’d barely written more than two short paragraphs. And as more projects landed on my plate at work, the faster time moved forward and the slower the words filled the page.

That’s not exactly efficient.

Of course, once I made the switch back to my trusty pen and paper (simple system) the whole process improved (FYI: this blog post is around 1100 words, and I knocked it out in an hour-and-a-half).

In case you’re wondering, my plain process for writing an article looks like this: 

  • I research the topic online and create an outline in my notebook simultaneously – I drop the links to the references in a Google Doc along the way.

     
  • Next, I create my first draft in said Google Doc based on the outline I wrote in my notebook – I hyperlink the URLs where necessary.

  • After that, I do a critical edit, slicing the fluff and tightening up the flab wherever possible – this is the step a lot of writers despise, but it’s where a good piece becomes great.

If it’s an article for a client, the next step is an internal review where the account manager makes any final recommendations before sending it off for client approval. 

If it’s a piece for the Davis Daily, I upload it as a draft and do a review on the blog before publishing. Seeing it on the site helps me identify any errors (most of the time – I recommend having another writer do the final proofread, but I don’t have that luxury yet).  

As for recording your Daily Dose of D, I film it all in one take without any fancy transitions, scripting, or dramatic effects. 

It’s quick and dirty, and it works – more importantly, it gets done

As time goes on, I might add a little flair, but it’s all about creating consistency at this stage. I just want to keep it simple, sucka! 

Thanks for reading, folks. ✌

The Diary of Davis Newsletter.
Photo by Aaron Burden

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