Simplicity is certainly a hallmark of maturity. But, it is not often a first step. It is a character of mastery gradually woven into our endeavors and lives.

Simple Dashboard

Test build of OmniFocus 2.3

After I’ve done my morning routines, I might open OmniFocus and see the above. It is a simple list. Should I care to delve into details, I can select a link resting in the note field of a desired task, and work from there. I could also just work from what I believe, in the moment, to be a good next action. The lists only support me in making my choices. At this point, the only costs in maintaining this simplicity are the weekly review and the occasional adjustment.

I often hear that OmniFocus is not simple. Compared to other programs, that can be the case. But, OmniFocus is complex to the degree that it can support a complex life. It can also be a means of assessing where life is more complex than need be and aim towards simplicity.

What you can do with a musical instrument is also not necessarily simple. But an artist can get there with time and effort. More importantly, it is not a simplicity of the instrument we aim for, but that of expression. The instrument is only a channel supporting that process. Its complexity is about supporting depth and nuance.

As we attempt any new craft or project, we build supports, not fully knowing their upkeep or maintenance. How could we know? We haven’t done it before. While we could take the word of those who claim experience before us, and it is certainly important to hear their thoughts, we must also experience it ourselves. Without grounding in the self, we are without play, and therefore without mastery.

As we continue to review and iterate our systems, we learn and re-learn, finding new ways of creating. The costs of supports become more readily known.

We can then ask, with greater assurance, of any support:

“Is this worth its cost for what I find meaningful?”

Each pass polishes our systems into a smoother simplicity.