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How Doing Less Can Help You Do More

accountability goal setting personal development professional development May 31, 2021

We’ve all been over involved at some point in our lives. Whether it’s balancing school, sports and other extracurricular activities or it’s taking on too many responsibilities at work, it’s easy to find yourself taking on more than you can handle. 

Getting involved in a lot of different things is a great way to expand your reach, get experience and invest in the different interests you have. But what is also true is that the more you have on your list, the less you get done. 

As athletes you know this. You can’t become a great athlete if sport is only 20% of your focus. It takes total commitment. But this applies to anything you want to be truly successful at. It requires real focus and dedication. 

How does doing less help you accomplish more? It’s pretty simple - by doing less, you can actually create momentum on the key focus areas you are working towards. Instead of trying to balance dozens of things at once, you can spend the time you NEED to spend on the projects that really matter. 

Feel like you need to do some refocusing and clean house on some projects this summer? Us too. Here are some tips on how you can start to cut down on unnecessary focus areas and zoom in on the big stuff. 

Check in with yourself. Are you doing too much? 

It’s important to regularly take a step back from the day to day and ask yourself - do I need to keep pushing all of these things forward? Without time and reflection, you may find yourself spending tons of time and effort pushing forward projects, goals and careers that don't really serve you. Quality over quantity applies here. 

Another important question to ask yourself: do I need help? Maybe all the things you are doing need to be done, but you just don’t have the time to do them all alone. Now you can start to delegate, whether with colleagues, partners or family members so your plate is a little less full. 

You're not doing less - you're focusing more. 

How much do you put on your to-do list each day? 10 things? 20? 30? Experts say you should have about five things to complete on your list each day if you are going to have the time to focus on each well. Multitasking is a myth - it’s a way to spend time and make little to no progress. Rather than spending an hour where you switch between 3-4 tasks, you should be aiming to block out an hour (at least) to work on one thing at a time. 

Focus on your purpose and your impact on others. Ask why? 

Extreme focus is the key to making real progress on something that matters. You can’t be good at everything and you certainly can’t master everything at once. You need to start by thinking about your reasons for getting involved. It’s important to know your why - what is the purpose of this work? What work do you actually want to be doing and does this opportunity fit that? As we’ve talked about, it’s really important to have this gage so you know what to say no to and what to say yes to. 

Doing less can help you do more in a big way. It’s about focusing more on less - and being clear about the purpose behind it all. So take some time this summer to reflect and ask yourself - am I doing too much? 

 

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