Keeping it Simple (KISS Principle)

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According to Wikipedia, the KISS principle is described like so.

KISS is an acronym for the design principle “Keep it simple, Stupid!”. Other variations include “keep it short and simple”, “keep it simple AND stupid” or “keep it simple and straightforward”.

source: Wikipedia

Programming with a purpose

In computer programming you hear “make it dumb” all the time. The idea is to use the specific module or program for just one task.  For example, say you program an upload module to allow users to upload their favorite picture.  Using the KISS principle you would program it so that all it does is upload.  It doesn’t send a confirmation email after the upload is complete or redirect you to another page.  There is no business logic in the control.  It uploads the picture. All the logic inside the upload control only pertains to itself.  Make sense?  It’s dumb (simple).  All it does is one thing; upload.

How often do you find yourself not just multitasking but trying to process everything at once?  How often do you “half” listen to someone while you think of something else on your task list?  The big question is, how often do you do just one thing?

How to “keep it simple”:  Prioritize, Purge and Commit.

1. Prioritize your task list

You have a task list.  It might not be written on paper or saved in a Google doc but it exists; even if only in your mind.  Task lists not documented are the worst kind because they constantly steal your time and energy while you think about them. 

The first step in keeping it simple is to prioritize your task list.  That means you have to write it down.  I use http://fogbugz.com.  It’s perfect for tracking bugs in a software application or for mapping out what’s next on my to do list. Write down all of your tasks (10 max) and then rank them from 1 to 10.  With 1 being “critical” (most important) to 10 being “if time permits” (least important).

2. Purge your task list

Now take your task list and purge it.  Cross everything off after 5.  All that should remain are items 1-5.  This is your list.  Forget the other items for now.  You can revisit those after you complete items 1-5.

3. Commit to 5 minutes a day

To me, now comes the easy part.  Knowing what to do is often the hardest part.   Since you have a well-defined list you can forget about everything but task number 1.  Commit to spending just 5 minutes a day at completing this task.  Tell yourself, “I have 5 minutes, I’m going to get started!” 

Most people won’t start because they are overwhelmed by the million things on their list.  You are lucky.  You have 1 thing.  It’s the number 1 on your list.  Get started on it now. 

You’ll be amazed at what you can do with 5 minutes a day.

I hope you enjoy this post and commit to spending 5 minutes a day.

Craig

Craig Kelley

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Craig is the author of How to Get Out of Debt and an avid blogger. He strives to help people maximize their time and succeed financially as well as personally. He has been a leader in several start-up companies including Mokumax Virtual Domains & Servers, Inc. and currently HealthcareSupplyChain. Read more...

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