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Simplification by Elimination


I came across the concept of “simplification by elimination” while reading The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris.  Actually I should say RE-reading the book because I read it about 3 or 4 years ago.  I remember it really impacted me at that time and I implemented a few concepts from it.  But the funny thing is that upon reading it this time, I was struck by something completely different!  They say that you will get what you need when you are ready for it….and what I hadn’t realized until I read this the other night was that I had added too many things into my life.  I was interested in all of them..but there were getting to be so many things that they were starting to slowly bury me.  So I took a deep breath in, and started to decide how I would implement the concept of simplification by elimination.

In the book there is a great quote from the immortal Bruce Lee:  “One does not accumulate but eliminate.  It is not daily increase but daily decrease.  The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.”

Today I will share with you one small thing I did which has really helped simplify my life utilizing the concept of simplification by elimination.

The very first thing I did was reflect on how my blackberry seemed to be ruling my life of late.  I was at it’s beck and call.  I started thinking back to a time when there were no such things as “smart?” phones.  How the heck did we ever survive?  Pretty nicely actually!   When I was doing something…I was there 100%.  I didn’t have to shift my attention the moment I heard a bing or a ding.  I mean of late it is the last thing I look at before I go to bed, the first thing I look at when I wake up, I look at it when I am walking the dog, I pull over when I am riding my bike to make sure I am not missing anything “critical”.    And many of these important things I get to just in the nick of time are things like Best Buy telling me they have a special sale in 3 weeks, or Facebook telling me I have very important updates waiting for me, or my favorite…learning that some poor soul in a 3rd world country just needs my help to get 40 million dollars out of their country and because I am such a trusted soul they will give me 10 million just to give them my bank account number and passwords.

I have even begun priding myself on the fact that I will return an email, text or BBM within seconds, 24-7.

But why?  Does it really matter?  Does it really make a difference? Nope.

Tim says to eliminate all the things that are not critical, or at least delegate them to someone else.

So I asked myself, what was the core reason for me to have my Blackberry?  The answer was that I want to be available to my family in the case they needed me.  This is critical to me.

So I have all my emails directed to my smartphone, and also texts and BBMs.  Well the rest of my family all have iPhones…so I decided I could afford not to worry about BBMs.

What I ended up doing was adjust the settings on the phone so that it was on silent.   Then I was able to set a distinctive sound JUST for my family members (they need to be entered in your phone as contacts).   Oh my gosh…I was so happy…and when I tested it out it actually worked.  Any texts, emails or calls that are from anyone other than those people I consider critical will just be silent.  And any of them from my family “ding”!    What it allows me to do is to just have my phone put away, or turned upside down on my desk and not worry that I am missing something very important!  I can’t even tell you what a difference that has made for me in the last couple of days.  Today for example in a meeting, I just set it by m side and totally ignored it…it allowed me to focus on the meeting so much more!  Simplification by elimination.  Thanks Tim.

The other big thing I did was take Facebook off my Blackberry.  This was actually my daughters suggestion.  Another big hassle eliminated.   I found that if I had commented “oh so cute” on a baby picture, any time anyone then commented on it it would let me know on my smartphone by lighting up and binging.  If there is anything less critical than that … I don’t know what it would be lol! 

I am a big fan of Tim Ferris…he is always exploring and experimenting .  I find it very inspiring.  You can check out his 4 Hour Work week blog here.

Try some simplification by elimination for yourself!  Feel free to share your results with our other readers by commenting below.



Attack Your Financial Stress With Knowledge

Tool to Attack Your Financial Stress expensify.com

Financial stress is something that can affect anyone.  This post is about potentially reducing your stress by actually facing your finances and learning about them… not ignoring them.  Knowledge is power. One tool I will discuss is Expensify.com

I know from talking with many people that one of the most potentially powerful stressors is financial stress.  Worrying about money.  And one of the things I find from many people when they are worried, is that they begin to ignore the details, to try not to think about them.   For example, they may have a large credit card bill that keeps piling up…but they believe that by sweeping it under the rug and just not thinking about it, their stress will go away.

Sweeping A Financial Stress Under The Rug Does Not Make It Go Away

What I have found is that when mentally trying to ignore something, you 1) actually spend a lot more time thinking about it, because you have to keep thinking about it to ignore it 2) your energy becomes very negative because it is spent on avoiding rather than welcoming in to your heart and 3) the very action of ignoring something leads to uncertainty, because you constantly worry about what “could” be happening…which is in itself very stressful.  It is far better to know something…only that way can you lay it to rest.  And attacking your financial stress can be done by learning everything you need to know about your enemy.

Attack Your Uncertainties…Learn As Much As You Can About Your Financial Stress

One thing that I counsel people on in reducing financial stress  is in attacking their uncertainties.  What does it mean to not have enough money?  It usually means they are spending more money than they really should be.  And when we dig into this further, the reason for this is because people have no idea where their money is going…they have never taken the time to actually track their expenditures.  If you know where your money is going, where it is being spent, then you have already won half the battle…because you have removed the uncertainty, the uneasy background feeling of not being in control of your money.

Rule: Spend Less Than You Earn

I was reading the Wealthy Barber Returns by David Chilton, and this was one of the rules he had in his book.  Seems pretty simple, but just thought it was worth bringing up here.

Expensify.com Is One Tool You Can Use

Expensify.com is one tool you can use in attacking the uncertainty that leads to financial stress.  It is a website where you can enter all your expenses, categorize them, and then create reports to see how much you are spending and on what.  What I did was download a version to my blackberry, and EVERY time I spend ANYTHING I quickly input how much, to whom and for what into the program.  Literally takes 10 seconds.  It is so convenient.  Then when I set some time aside in my schedule to follow up on this, I log onto the Expensify.com website on my computer, and I find all the things I entered into my blackberry already there, and I just organize it.  You may be surprised at how much you actually spend on the little things….they can add up.  You can print out a report to share with your family if you want to provide them with knowledge.  Just the fact of knowing your spending patterns is very empowering in itself, because it feels like it has helped you take some control back over your financial situation…rather then your financial stress controlling you.

The Latte Factor

David Bach talks about how the little things add up, and calls it the Latte Factor.  You may find it interesting.

A Task For You

So here is a task for you … if you are up to it.  Check out the expensify.com site (I don’t get anything for promoting them, I just have found their services useful … and free … and love to promote things I think are good).  And if you use some other tool, like another website, or program, or even good old pencil and paper…just do it. Attack you financial stress.   Invest some time to learn about your spending habits.  Decide if you like what you see…and if you don’t…then change it.  But you can’t change it if you don’t even know what it is.  Empower yourself with knowledge!

Evernote – Cool Technology to Simplify Your Life


Evernote is a super cool FREE technology that I was introduced to while reading a book by Tim Ferris called “The 4 Hour Work Week”. The book is about ways to make your life easier, to automate things, with the goal being to get all the work you want to get done, as efficiently and as effectively as possible.

Evernote: A Time Saving tool

One of the tools he suggested was Evernote. So being a good student, I immediately sought to apply what I had learned. I googled it, downloaded it, and started playing with it.

What Evernote can do is be a web-based place where you can keep your notes, pictures, videos, web clippings, business plans, basketball scouting notes…and then be able to access it from anywhere! So if you make notes on one computer, just do it in Evernote, and then when you are on another computer, just open Evernote and there they are. The most supercool feature is that I can actually do it on my blackberry as well (or your iphone or droid or ipad or whatever).

Never lose your inspirational thoughts!

As I have told you before, one of the places I get my most in-depth thinking done is when I am on long walks, and some inspiration hits me (Ho’oponopono…are you living from replayed memories or inspiration?) I know that if I wait to get home I will lose that thought. So I just take a second, and enter a note into Evernote, and it will not only be accessible from my Blackberry later, but it will actually synch and then be available from any computer with internet access!! How super cool is that? I have found Evernote has saved me a tremendous amount of time and energy, and made me much more productive (and less forgetful).

Usually if I was out and about I would scribble a note on the back of a receipt or something like that and lose it. Or I would email myself a note…but then I had to take time cutting and pasting and transposing it to something else. You can add photos you take to Evernote. You can add videos. If you have an ipad you can use a program to take handwritten notes and save it to Evernote. You can actually clip interesting pictures/articles from the internet (like YourStressIsGone.com of course…lol!) into Evernote.

Many different uses for Evernote

My cousin Glen Estrabillo (  RetireMeGlen.com ) is a young entrepreneur who has been able to retire himself living off residual income from real estate investing. He travels across North America, and globally on a frequent basis. He also runs courses teaching people how to do it. I don’t know if he used Evernote, but I know he subscribes to my blog…so hopefully he will find out about Evernote and I think it could prove a valuable asset to him.

As a basketball coach, in between games I will make notes on opposing teams we may play, and put them into Evernote. If you need to pick up groceries, make a list on your computer at home on Evernote, including inserting recipes from the internet, and them pull them up on your cell phone. If you have a presentation for work, enter it into Evernote, and then pull it up from work, or vica versa, or if you want to work on it from the beaches of The Mayan Rivera.

The goal of YourStressIsGone.com

The goal of YourStressIsGone.com is to constantly introduce you to new ideas that will increase the quality of your health…physically, mentally, spiritually. I have no boundaries I am restricted by. I just want to share anything and everything I have ever learned in my quest to bring myself back to life…including time saving ideas like Evernote. FYI, the very first open 21 Day Health Transformation is at Day 10 as I write this, and I have already heard of some great stories. To register yourself for the next one, just go here.

Peace, Health, Happiness and Success! Tony