Back to Basics: 5 Steps to Get Started

At regular intervals throughout the year, I take myself through a Back to Basics process. My definition of what going back to basics means is this:  

Being laser focused on the specific factors, tasks, and actions that make the biggest difference to achieving the specific outcomes that matter most to you. It’s about prioritising your time, attention, focus, and energy on those things and removing or reducing everything else.  

It’s a simple but powerful exercise because with so many demands being placed on you, personally and professionally, it can feel like you are being pulled in a million different directions. When that happens, your efforts are being diluted which negatively impacts your personal effectiveness, progress, and outcomes. 

If we are honest with ourselves, we all get sucked into things that don’t really make that much difference or add that much value to what matters most in life, work, or business.

When you adopt a proactive Back to Basics approach you create these benefits for yourself: 

  • your time, attention, focus, and energy are on the things that will have the biggest impact and make the most difference to what matters most to you, personally and professionally.   
  • you make better decisions in relation to what you choose to take on and what you don’t, what you let in your schedule and what you say no to, what gets your attention, and what you need to let go of.  
  • improve your personal effectiveness and reduce busyness, overwhelm, stress, and complexity.  
  • create strong foundations on which to succeed and thrive with what matters most to you. 

Here are 5 steps to help you get started with getting Back to Basics in your life, work, or business:


 Step 1 – Identify all the things you can think of that take your time, attention, focus, and energy but make little difference or contribute little value to achieving what matters most to you. Include things that add unnecessary complexity, busyness, or make you feel overwhelmed. For each of the things you have identified, look for proactive steps you can take to reduce, eliminate, or manage them. 

Step 2 – Identify the things that will proactively boost your progress, outcomes, and would make the most difference to what matters most. For each of the things you have identified look for proactive steps you can take to increase and prioritise them. 

Step 3 - Putting boundaries in place is a powerful way to protect what matters most. Having strong boundaries is an essential part of your back to basics strategy. Identify and make a list of what boundaries you would benefit from putting in place or strengthening. 

Step 4 - Everyone’s situation and circumstances are unique. So, it can be useful to ask yourself this question to really drill down to what is most relevant to you right now: "What would I benefit from going back to basics with most in my life, work, or business?" Look for things that would really make a difference for you and what matters most to you right now.  

Step 5 - Simplicity is the antidote to complexity, busyness, and overwhelm. Simplify everything. It is a superpower in the quest to get back to basics. Identify what you could simplify.

The bottom line:

We often spend a lot of our time, attention, and focus on things that don’t really matter at the cost of what does. You can change that by creating and implementing a Back to Basics strategy. 

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