Addition by Subtraction – When less leads to more!

It’s that time of year again: New Years, new you? This is the time of year when you should buy gym memberships, diet, and quit smoking or drinking. I mean, at least that’s what all the ads say, right?

Any of these things is hard enough, but some of us tend to stack up, which means we usually fail at all of them. That being said, I want to explain why addition by subtraction can help you do more. Just think of it as less leads to more.

A NEW Milestone

Now a new year is just a big milestone. I can tell you to have a lot of the above things that you don’t have to start on January 1st. You can start on May 1 if you want. In fact, I find it much better to run outside of May 1st than January 1st. So I started running again. That was some time ago, but the bottom line is that just because the year is changing doesn’t mean you have to change too.

New Year’s predictions

Every year around January 1, we tend to look back and focus on the future. We try to predict and project how the New Year will be different for us.

I wouldn’t call it a resolution, but I think after a few years of being locked away and attending so many online meetings, people will want a human connection more than ever this year.

We are all fighting for it. I think most of us miss these face to face meetings. And I think everyone is really fed up with Zoom and Zoom meetings. I call them Zoom-bies because fewer and fewer people are showing up and webinar attendance is dropping. If the information is genuinely interesting or critical, people are willing to watch reruns on their own timeline.

As the year progresses, I expect to see more and more people stepping outside their bubble and embracing one-on-one, personal, or group meetings.

Addition by subtraction

That being said, I want to give you some ideas on how you can take some things away to make room for new things that are going to help you move forward, whether it’s January 1 or May 1.


The first thing I want to subtract is the meetings. Have you signed up for a bunch of networking or online zooming groups? These tend to be great when you’re locked in your office, but do they actually add value to you and your business, or are they just a habit? Are you getting something from them? Do you meet good quality people? It’s one thing to meet people. It’s another thing to build long-term relationships.

If you want to take more time for better meetings in the future or maybe take the time to write this book or maybe go out and jog. It’s time to assess which meetings bring value to you and your business, and where you can drop some to free up time and brainpower (Zoom eats brains, hence Zoom-bies).


Next thing I’d like you to think about is email. We tend to send a lot of emails, but you might want to stop and think about just picking up the phone to call that person. If they’re ready to pick up, you can actually get more done in less time. I do this more often. Especially when it comes to a complex question or technical support. You can do more in a more condensed way.

Speaking of email, think about all the subscriptions you have for sending bulk emails from things you once cared about. Better yet, unsubscribe from any email that you can’t even remember signing up for (this happens to me all the time).

Now’s a great time to go through your inbox, look at the things you no longer care about, and unsubscribe.

Also, if you are one of those people sending these emails, think about how you can better target people. In other words, it’s not about sending more emails to more people, it’s about sending the right targeted email to the right segment at the right time. Think about how you can set yourself apart by making sure the emails you send are much more about the things people want to stay subscribed to.


Now is a good time of year to go over your books and see what you are paying on a monthly basis. See, are you actually using that? Or, do you derive value from it? If you don’t use it regularly, it’s very easy to keep paying that bill.

Consider creating a spreadsheet of everything you have subscribed to; when it’s due, how much is, whether it’s an annual subscription or a monthly subscription. Make sure you have a list of everything so you can see what you’re spending your money on, what’s making a difference in your business and your life… and what isn’t.

One of the things I signed up for this year after working with a handful of people was Medium. It was only five dollars a month and every month I kept paying it, but I never went to read it. So I wondered if is this something of value? I took that $ 5 and basically subtracted it from Medium and subscribed to a news service that gives me a whole bunch of newspapers, magazines, and a ton of different information for basically the same price.

The key question is, will I start reading this more? Will I use it? I don’t know, but at this point it’s a better bet because I know I’m not doing anything with Medium.

The other thing, when it comes to software subscriptions, is figuring out if there are things that you have subscribed to that you are not using. There are a handful of things that I unsubscribed from. I took that money and put it into new tools.


One of my new favorites is called MindNode. It is mind mapping software. I tried a lot of them, but I didn’t use them. I wanted a better option that works more like I do.

MindNode is Mac based software. If you are using a PC, I know there are tons of alternatives out there, but anyway, are you using it? I am!

MindNode is something I can use on my phone for the office and put ideas there. Then I can go back to either platform and evolve the things I’ve been thinking about while taking quick notes and then rearranging them. Think about the type of tools you use on a regular basis, then look for a better one.


Another interesting tool, which I’m about to start using, is called Mentimeter. This is a software presentation tool that I have found that can be used in Zoom and can also be used on live presentations. The coolest thing about it is that it has the ability to collect live comments and polls.

People use cell phones or laptops to answer. In the middle of your presentation, you give them a unique URL, and then you can have a live representation of the audience’s responses.

You can create bar charts and word clouds, and it’s a great new way to present to an audience, to engage them. If you ask someone in the audience what they think about it, you might get a limited response. This tool promotes anonymous responses, which change the dynamics.

Final thoughts

I want to wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I know it will be filled with lots of new stuff, but hope your new stuff is useful and worth your time and money. For me, I’m going to prepare myself by tidying up last year’s files in a banker’s box, creating new files, and preparing for whatever this new year brings!

Now is the time to put away the old and welcome the new into your life and business. Whether it’s gym memberships, emails, Zoom meetings, or memberships, now is the time to assess and ask yourself if I need it? Do I use it? And will it help me and my business get better in the New Year?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you can do to add joy to your business and remove the things that don’t. Are you too focused on the past, the future or the PRESENT? Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions to get more with less.

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