When Complexity Reigns … Stop, Simplify, Refocus


Have you ever been overwhelmed by complexity or by having too many items on your project or to do list in the printing industry?

The feeling you get when you think you have to do it all can make your life seem very complex, and you know the next item added to your list just might drive you through the roof.

There is a way to regain that sense of clarity and simplicity that allows you to refocus your efforts.

Here is a process for regaining the level of simplicity that allows you to accomplish your most important goals:

Stop Everything

Take a break from all the hectic activity. All of that activity consumes so much of your energy you start to lose sight of what is important. You also lose that sense of accomplishment when life is complex and you have too much to do. When you’re overwhelmed, the best way to start simplifying is to stop everything immediately.

Reread Your Desired Outcomes

Once you have stopped all activity, begin by rereading the outcomes and goals you wish you accomplish. Once you have clarity about the goals you want to achieve, it is easier to work on simplifying your focus to create the successful outcomes you desire. Consider having no more than three to five major goals at one time.

Review Your Most Important Priorities

The next step in simplifying the complexity is to start reviewing your highest priorities—those that will help you accomplish your goals. When you get clear on your priorities, then you will have clarity on the next steps to take. By understanding your goals and the priorities to accomplish those goals, you will be able to streamline your activity and regain the sense of calm that comes from simplicity.

Visualize the Simplicity

Take a minute to close your eyes. Visualize the simplicity achieved by reviewing your goals and desired outcomes, as well as achieving your highest priorities. Imagine what completing those goals will feel like.


Refocus your time and effort by creating a to-do list with only your most important priorities. This refocus time will help you remain in a confident state of mind because you now know what you have to do to make progress.


Now you are ready to restart your work. This whole process will take you 15 minutes or so. However, it is imperative if you want to get back to that feeling of simplicity and self-confidence that is needed to make progress.

All of us become overwhelmed by the complexity in our lives at one time or another. If we take the time to stop, review our goals and priorities and then visualize the outcome we will have re-simplified our lives.

We will regain the sense of calm and confidence needed to make progress again and feel good about it.

What do you do to simplify in the midst of complexity?


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4 replies
  1. Richard Stienstra
    Richard Stienstra says:

    Great reminder Bill! These are a couple of things I try to do to simplify in the midst of complexity.

    1. Take a half day off and do something physical around the house. Clean the garage,basement or a couple of windows. Something simple but that takes my mind off of major things that need to be accomplished.
    2. I often re-write my goals list. They may be the same but I actually just re-write them.
    3. I take time to pray. It gives me peace and helps me prioritize what is really important.

    • Bill Prettyman
      Bill Prettyman says:

      I really love the idea of rewriting your goals, Richard. Just that action, I assume, will reengage you with them and make them more visible again. I’m going to try it!

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