I once read a quote that hit me as hard as an Adele song.
It was by Steve Maraboli, who said: “It’s a lack of clarity that creates chaos and frustration. Those emotions are poison to any living goal.”
Suddenly, I thought to myself, ‘Hello, John where are you? Why are you on so many different sides?’
Adele lyrics and references aside, I started reflecting on a problem I didn’t know I had.
As millennials, we are told (and in some cases, tell each other) that there is no better time than now. This means we can:
> Take opportunities people offer us
> Create our own opportunities
> Grab both by the balls
And while this sounds awesome, you can spread yourself thin. We’re talking paper thin. This is where the chaos and frustration hit me in all directions.
At work, I am the Marketing Coordinator; but as a freelancer, I branded myself as a Graphic Designer who can write, photograph, market your brand, walk your dog (okay not that bit)… but do you see where I’m coming from?
Boy, was that a BIG MISTAKE. Here are my 3 solutions:
1 // Simplicity rules
The first thing I did was simplify my value proposition. When I’m not at work, I am a freelance graphic designer that helps clients’ improve their brand through design solutions. There is no copywriting, photography, or marketing involved. This not only eliminated the stress of trying to be a jack of all trades, it also allowed me to be perceived as a specialist in a field as opposed to a generalist.
Tip for clarity: Remove the things that don’t add any value to what you’re doing. Whether it’s taking out the irrelevant job experience in your resume, or the extra services you offer in your package, the process of elimination makes it clearer for people to understand who you are and how you can benefit them.
For a better understanding of clarity through simplification, I recommend reading ‘Simplify’ by Greg Lockwood and Richard Koch. It’s a great read that delves into how the best businesses in the world succeed by simplifying their offerings.
2 // Set specific (but achievable) goals
The one thing I clearly did wrong was set myself unachievable daily tasks. This made me procrastinate like there’s plenty of tomorrows because there were too many goals and I didn’t know which was more important.
Tip for clarity: Write down one thing you want to achieve (either in a weekly or monthly period), and then list the priorities and steps you need to get there. ‘Ooh, great tip, Captain Obvious.’
I know, but sometimes having a clear sense of direction involves doing the most obvious things. If you find ways of visualising each of your steps, your efficiency and productivity increases, allowing you to score that next goal faster.
3 // Give yourself the time to experiment before setting up
In design, and I’m sure in plenty of other industries, there are several solutions to get to your end result. This can leave us in a state of panic and frustration knowing that the deadline is looming, but your project ain’t booming.
Tip for clarity: If things aren’t working out for a project, just let it marinate in your mind and do something else. From running to cleaning your room or binge watching your fave show, taking a step back will put you in the right head space to execute your tasks. Forcing something to happen can leave you in a world of pain … as Stephen Covey said, “It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going if you’re heading in the wrong direction.”
There you have it. The art of simplicity, specifying your goals and allowing yourself time if things aren’t working out can help improve your clarity when it comes to achieving your goals.