4 Ways Doing Less Helps You Accomplish More
What if I told you that you could accomplish more by doing less…
Sounds Crazy, right?
Well I can tell you through personal experience that you can definitely achieve more by doing much less.
There is also a wealth of scientific evidence supporting the notion that less is more.
Here are 4 ways I learned to de-clutter my life and achieve more by living in the moment.
If you’re like most people you probably go through your day juggling 1000 different things. The experience can be overwhelming and at times debilitating. When I first started my career as an internet marketer I was balancing a full time job while launching my marketing agency. The drudgery of working long hours day in and day out took an immense toll on me. At the start of every week I would hop out of bed and run 100mph until I hit the weekend, at which point I would take a quick breather and do it all again.
This was a period of major growth in my life — both personally and professionally. Although I was learning new things daily I felt this overwhelming sense that I could somehow be doing more. What I came to realize was that I wasn’t applying myself fully to individual tasks. More plainly put: I wasn’t being present. Soon thereafter I quit my 9-5 and applied all of my time to my marketing agency.
Contrary to popular belief humans are incapable of multi-tasking. What human beings are capable of doing is handling multiple tasks in succession. That’s one reason why texting while driving is so dangerous. NTSB studies has shown that texting while driving is the functional equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol level of 3 times the legal limit. A great way to stay present is to realize that you can only do one thing at a time, so we might as well do it with all our effort — rather than jumping from task to task.
Modern technology has provided mankind a life of ease. Most, if not all, life’s pressing questions can be answered within the palms of our hands. The wealth of information, which requires very little effort to extract, comes at a steep price: our attention spans. Smart phones are vilified and praised for their modern computing capabilities for that reason.
Think of the number of times you’ve been at a dinner table with your phone out. Or the number of times you’ve overlooked or ignored important information because you were doodling on your phone. Don’t get me wrong I am guilty of the same indecencies — however, not too long ago I decided to be mindful of my Smart Phone Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or SPOCD as I like to call it. Taking time to disconnect daily is important to stimulate creativity. Think of the great minds of our times — Einstein, Hawking & Gandhi. Their most brilliant and creative thoughts came during times of silent reflection. Imagine if they were busy checking their Facebook statuses compulsively?
Creative Ways to Disconnect:
- Giving yourself 2 hours of down time every night. Charge your phone in a different room or under a pillow.
- Turn your data off when running errands or small chores
- Leave your phone in your bag while working out or hanging with friends.
- My Personal favorite: While dining with a group or friends place all your phones in the middle of the table. First one to touch their phone pays the whole tab 😉
Abandoning The Phrase “I’m Busy”
People often think being busy is an accomplishment. The truth is being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you are accomplishing anything. The worst offenders use the phrase “I’m busy” as an excuse to not help others. By saying you are too busy you are in essence insulting the time of others. Don’t get me wrong — there are times where I’ve been swamped with a million deadlines and tasks. One thing I’ve learned along the way is that saying you’re busy when someone asks for help is a humble brag — as if what you are doing is more important than what they are doing. Rather than saying you’re busy, next time say “let me get back to you in a bit.” Compartmentalizing your own tasks and taking time in between is a great way to refresh your mind and help others in the process.
Here’s a quote I live by:
You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.
Taking Time To Reflect: Mindfulness
I know you may think this sounds quacky but taking time to think about absolutely nothing is an effective way to combat stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed. Here’s my nightly routine:
- Write down 5 things everyday that you’re proud to have accomplished.
- Write down 5 things everyday that you’re thankful for.
- Take 10 minutes to practice mindfulness meditation. Just close your eyes and try to clear your mind. If you’re like me it can be a tough task so just let your thoughts wander without judgment.
Taking time at the end of every day to introspect can have profound effects upon your overall well being. (It’s worth noting that introspection shouldn’t be confused with rumination. Focus on self-improvement rather than overthinking every aspect of your day) I also spend at least 20 minutes a night writing emails to colleagues thanking them for their time earlier in the day. It’s also a great opportunity to expand on thoughts and ideas that weren’t as clear earlier in the day.
It may sound counterintuitive but doing less can actually help you achieve more. What are some techniques you use to help you optimize your time and mind?