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How to Simplify Your 31


Before I started writing this article I wrote several other ones about this topic and I choose the Select All + Delete option, because I realized something. It wasn’t my own topic and it wasn’t even my own idea.

I read Ryan Holiday’s article about 3.1 lessons learned on the way to 31 and there were some ideas that got stuck in my head, but these were his ideas, not mine. And yes, I was inspired by his series from 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31 years old articles and that’s one of the reasons why I’m writing this second article.

Maybe his articles are much more inspirational, motivational and more people will find themselves in them, but this article is something only for myself. Because maybe in a few years or months I will get back to it and see what I was thinking about back then.

But this doesn’t mean that if you think you could get some new life hack ideas for your own you shouldn’t read it.

In my last article on this topic I wrote more on what I learned before I turned 30 years old. There are some points that are still relevant for me today and I’m getting back to them whenever I feel like doing so.

So, today I want to talk to you from my own experience about one single word I will use in my 31’s – simplify.

Simple doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do things. Simple doesn’t mean that you are living in a comfort zone.

As David Droga said:

“The creative people I admire seem to share many characteristics: A fierce restlessness. Healthy cynicism. A real world perspective. An ability to simplify. Restraint. Patience. A genuine balance of confidence and insecurity. And most importantly, humanity.”

And that’s why I want to learn to have this ability, to simplify my life, to simplify my world, to simplify all the things around me.

So I’m starting with these 3 points:

Simplifying side projects by stopping them

Side projects are good for our personal development and sometimes for our professional life. But what is there to be done when you realize there are too many side projects and you can’t focus on the right thing? You just let them go.

I have several side projects that I need to let go, or just give them a pause. For example I have a blog about Instagram. When I first started with it everybody thought that I was crazy. I even wrote an ebook, interviewed several local instagrammers and partnered with a company that gave me monthly statistics about the Instagram ecosystem in my country. This blog helped me get more awareness, get more speaking gigs and also connected me with a few people that I never thought I’d meet. But I had to move forward and let it go, it’s not relevant for me today and I will give it a break.

The lesson I learned here is that it’s ok to let your side projects go. Even if you invested all your time, money and other resources and I know that it’s your “little baby” you gave life to and were there at every step of its development. Of course, you also let the world know about it! But sometimes you just have to let it go.

Nobody said that side projects have to be eternal projects.


Saying “NO” is liberating

Whoever is calling you on the phone you have 3 ways to react: answer the call, reject the call or ignore it. The red button is the one that gives you the opportunity to reject the call. And let’s be honest with ourselves, we don’t want to use the red button because we think that the other people will think that we are disrespectful. But no, the red button is just saying “no, I don’t want/can’t talk right now”.

I remember that one of my best friends told me the next thing: “Whenever somebody is calling you and you can’t answer the phone, you don’t have to call him/her back right now and excuse yourself why you could not speak on the phone. It’s just that you couldn’t and that’s all.”

We don’t have to say yes to everything. We don’t have to answer to every call. We don’t have to reply to every notification. Even if it takes us just 5 minutes from our life. Even if it’s a simple job to do or a favor.

We don’t have to justify our answer.

Like one of my podcast guests said in an interview – Saying NO is liberating.


Get a real friend that works in your industry

When the team from SocialBakers asked me to give them some productivity hacks I thought about a thing that I never read on the internet or never heard at conferences – get a real friend that works in your industry.

And I have 2 very close friends that are working in the marketing industry. One of them is working with me and with the other one I had the privilege to work a while ago. But the talks I have with them are something more that I can get from any webinar, from any conference or article from GrowthHackers. I’m learning from them every time I have a situation, I struggle with something or just need some guidance.

There is no NDA, there is no competition, there is no chit chat just for the sake of conversation or other things you might think won’t work for you.

How will this simplify your life?

Talking about your professional struggles with someone from your battle zone will be just like  therapy for you. Because they will understand you not only as a friend but also as a colleague.


These are my 3 ways on how I want to simplify my life. There are other tactics I will use, but I don’t have them very clear in my head, or maybe I’m just not ready to share them with you.

I don’t know what will come next and how I will handle it, but for now, this is how I want to simplify my life.

Simplifying doesn’t mean that you get in your comfort zone and you stay there for your entire life.

Simplify is my keyword for my 31’s.


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Robert Katai

Content Marketing Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

Ram Castillo