Olly Headey

December 22, 2023

Simple thinking

Here’s a novel take away. A week of deletion.



Most companies get more complicated over time. This is why they slow down and start to fear change. This is how they lose their best people and why customers end up going elsewhere.

Complexity is exhausting.

Downing tools for a “Delete Week” is a good start, but striving for simplicity is more of a mindset you need to instil.

Before I left FreeAgent I wrote some engineering principles and the first one was “Keep it simple”. It was probably the only one we needed as the others were based on simple thinking.

Whether you try a delete week or not, you should certainly ask yourself the question of what you would discard given the chance.

What gets in the way? What could you do without?

Then just delete something anyway.

I’d start by removing some of those dreaded recurring meetings. Stop interrupting people. Especially creatives like programmers (yes programmers are creatives, get over it!) and designers, but pretty much everyone at some level.

These meetings are rarely effective. You won’t miss them, and you can always meet when you need to which definitely won’t be every Tuesday at 10:30 sharp, forever.

Free up eveyone’s calendar for creative thought and those wonderful long and uninterrupted periods of deep work.

This is where the magic happens. 

The beatify of simplifying, the sheer Kondoesque joy of elimination and having fewer things in your face is addictive. It’s addictive because it feels good and because it works. You’ll have more energy and more time which leads to more ideas and more progress.

Less is more. Keep it simple. Go delete something.


About Olly Headey

Journal of Olly Headey. Co-founder of FreeAgent. 37signals alumni. Photographer.
More at headey.net.