Doing Less, Lets You Achieve More

“Achieving more by doing less” sounds the same to me as “getting rich while sleeping”. It seems like it allows you to have the perfect working life. For me, and several other people on this earth, achieving more by doing less seems to be out of reach. In this blog, I’ve gathered some actionable tips to help you achieve more at work or in life. 

We often wish for an extra hour (or couple hours) a day. We experience high-pressure whilst trying to get everything done. But what we actually know, and what Christine Carter (author of The Sweet Spot: How To Find Groove At Home And Work) confirms: A new clock isn’t what’s needed to deal with a seeming lack of time, energy or patience. No, doing less is the key to achieving more.

A couple years ago, Stefan Sagmeister was talking about his company closing every seven years for a long sabbatical. He practically divides some of his retirement years into breaks during his working life. These sabbaticals gave him the energy and time to be more creative and return home with countless innovative ideas for his designs. “In the end, my job became a calling again. It was very enjoyable and over the long term, it was financially successful. Everything we designed in the seven years following the first sabbatical, had originated in that year.” Not only Sagmeister uses long-term sabbaticals to improve his productivity. Former number one chef in the world, Ferran Adria, closed his restaurant several months a year to reinvent his recipes. He ended up with three Michelin stars.

Video: Stefan Sagmeister about ‘The power of time off’.

Okay, we understand it’s not likely to go for a sabbatical every seven years or to stop working every 6 months. But there are definitely ways to improve your productivity with easy steps.

Let these tips be a guide to achieve more:

1. Find your MED
MED stands for the ‘minimum effective dose’ normally used in medicinal terms. It refers to the lowest dose of a pharmaceutical with the most significant result. If you find you MED in life (work, sleeping, checking your social media, meetings) you’ll be able to deliver least effort to achieve most.

2. Doing nothing isn’t a time waste
I know, doing nothing makes us feel uncomfortable and useless. Being bored is indeed… very boring. But looking out the window, taking a break or closing your eyes for a moment brings you more you’d expect. Giving your brain a time-out allows you to access more of your brains. Being focussed for too long shuts down parts – for example, the parts that let you be creative –  of the brains.

3. Switch on ‘autopilot’ when you get up
Willpower is a depleting resource that disappears as we’re forced to make decisions throughout the day.” To make sure you won’t run out of energy too early during workdays, you have to save enough of it for completing your most important tasks. Putting your morning rituals on autopilot can help you saving willpower. For example, checking your email and social media before you have rolled out your bed uses up your willpower without even noticing. Doing the same things in the same order every morning (making the least amount of decisions as possible) will help you to start your working day fresh.

4. Avoid multitasking
Multitasking divides, logically, your focus into little pieces. It divides your attention and it makes you feel less effective. Try to think about one task at a time to reach your goals in tiny steps. This will result in you losing less energy or not being stressed out.


How to get started
Re-arranging your daily life isn’t the easiest thing to do. It could take a while to get used to a new behaviour. According to the morning routine, it might need reps for at least two months to feel convenient about it. But hey, when you finally get used to it you’ll enjoy the advantages for the rest of your life. How do you make you life more effective?

How do you make your life more effective?

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Lieke van Wilpen

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