Do Less to Do More

Photo credit:  Eirini Ch

Photo credit: Eirini Ch


There’s a lot going on at Chez MO, which means I have a perfect example of Doing Less to Do More. I’ve decided to temporarily reduce blog posts from weekly to bi-weekly. I need to borrow the time it takes to write and publish two posts to ensure other projects with a high return on time invested (RO(T)I) get completed. In this way, I’m avoiding overwhelm before it has a chance to take hold.

When we have too many things to do, we feel overwhelmed. Then it becomes difficult to decide what to do next,… so you do nothing at all. This is when to Do Less to Do More.

When you have a long to-do list staring you in the face, it may be counter-intuitive to purposely do less. But think about the times you were really engaged in one project or task, when you were in flow. It felt good, didn’t it? And I’ll bet you completed that task relatively easily. That’s the concept behind Do Less to Do More.

These specific tips will help you Do Less to Do More, and avoid overwhelm:

1.     Notice what helps/hinders you when you work, whether that work is in your home or in your head.

2.     Pay attention to the choices you make – when you say ‘yes’ to doing something are you confident you have the capacity to do it, or does it become another rung on your never-ending to-do list ladder?

3.     Research shows that it takes around 20 minutes to regain our focus – that’s 20 minutes after the change of focus or disruption; 20 minutes of valuable working or thinking time that you can’t get back. So organize your time so you can focus for a solid chunk of time – you’ll not only get more done, you’ll be less tired because your brain won’t be jumping around from one thing to another… squirrel!

4.     Having said that, build recovery periods into your working day, otherwise you risk burning out. Here’s the trick – it’s not about just stopping working, it’s about disconnecting. If you stop working but continue worrying, you’re still working. Find ways to switch off – think crossword puzzle, games, playing with the kids/dog, a mindful walk outside (think of it as a walking meditation where all you do is let your senses notice).

5.     Create a weekly to do list, then a daily to-do list of no more than three tasks (they have to be significant – not a quick call!) – which relate to your weekly list of goals.

6.     Spend the first 15 minutes of the day knocking out the easy stuff: quick emails, phone calls, admin tasks. Having completed those tasks gives you momentum to keep going.

7.     Focus first on the most difficult main task on your to-do list (ie, the one you’ve been avoiding), while you still have lots of energy.

8.     Intentionally take breaks throughout the day. The brain works in 90-minute rest-activity cycles, so take a re-charge break about every 90 minutes (you’ll soon figure out what length of break is good for you) – it could be a 10-minute walk outside, listening to music, looking at art, meditating, or exercising. You can also try the Pomodoro method of breaking up your work session – read more here.

By doing less – working on fewer projects, not multi-tasking – you’re working more efficiently,… and that means you get more done and are more likely to achieve your goals. Less is more!

 Mini poll:

Do you prefer weekly or bi-weekly blog posts?

Let me know at Ellia@MindfulOrganizing.NET!

I’m a Mindful Organizing and Productivity Coach. I work with professionals who are stressed by their messy home, scattered brain, or project deadlines. I'll help you intentionally clear the clutter from your home and your head so you have more time, peace, and results in your life.

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