Living Simple: Learn to Focus On Less To Achieve More
Focus On Less To Achieve More? It may seem crazy that with Living Simple Minimalism you can perform better at work and in life if you spend more time with your family. Leave work to volunteer in your community or take time in your workday to go to the gym.
But it is true. People tend to do more of the same thing they have done when they believe there is a need to get more done. Do you have to ask yourself if what you really want to do is more of what you have done? Or do you want something new?
Stephen Covey introduced us to the concept of “sharpening the saw” in his famous book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He tells the story of a woodcutter, sewing to the point of exhaustion while trying to take down a tree.
When a man watching suggests to the woodcutter that he could get the job done quicker by taking a break to sharpen his saw, the woodcutter responds in anger:
“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw. Don’t you see I’m too busy?” Are there things we can do not to be too busy?
What are you doing to cause yourself to be too busy? in American society, we pride ourselves on working hard. We brag about working with no sleep. On not having lunch during the workday.
How many years have we did not take a vacation? Are you really working and living at peak efficiency when you do this?
Is there a better way? Because you know you are no good to anyone when you are too tired and in an overworked state. But that state has become the norm for many believing they are getting more done that way.
In Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less he speaks about protecting the asset. He says:
“The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we under invest in ourselves, and by that I mean our minds, our bodies, and our spirits, we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution”
Nothing happens without you, The Asset. If you want to be operating at your peak, protect the asset, and take care of yourself. Constantly check your work, home, and social processes.
Don’t allow the bad habit of doing things because they have always been done that way, cause you to be too busy.
Too busy to enjoy what is really important in life. Also, too busy to become more efficient. Too busy to live simply and focus on less to achieve more.
Focus and productivity are qualities many people struggle with. These qualities are essential to be able to focus on less to do more. Being productive isn’t a matter of having the best tools or technology to make yourself feel busy. Instead, it is the ability to focus and produce at a high level.
This you must practice and learn to do. As you get better and incorporate better focus into your routine your productivity will go up and the time spent to become productive will go down. You will just be.
What helps me is to plan my day beforehand. Not a detailed plan just an outline of the important things that I would like to get done. I try to front-load the day with the most important things I need to get done.
This includes work, home, and social activities and not one group have priority over the other.
The three groups have equal weight in my life.
There was a time I used a small paper planner but now I use my phone and an app. It’s called WinStreak. It is a simple app that highlights the three or four important things I would like to front-load my day with to ensure they get done.
The benefit of doing this the day before is it gets you in the habit of thinking and planning the day ahead of time. Productivity goes up when you plan ahead.
Begin Something New
Begin to make positive changes. Go slow and be creative. Cut out the waste in your routine and weigh the results. All positive results should be adopted, all failures should be discarded.
This philosophy should be incorporated into your normal routine and the slow approach will eliminate any Accumulated negative results.
Trying something new should be fun but should not be done just because. Only try something new if it has a high probability of yielding promising results in your goal to focus on less to achieve more.
You don’t want to spend all of your newfound free time evaluating your new techniques for doing less to achieve more. You see the waste in that.
You constantly have to schedule fun, otherwise, it will not get done. We all have been in the workflow, the zone, or the fog of war while working. Anything that was outside of our work purpose got sacrificed.
Depending on the project this could last days or weeks. That is not good and not productive in the long run as you begin to burn out and produce sub-optimum work.
Christine Carter wrote that people equate their importance to how busy they are in her book The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work. However, she notes, the trick is to find your sweet spot, that perfect balance between power and ease.
Again, experiment to find your sweet spot.
Carter says, one way to do this is to: “Find the minimum effective dose of everything. The ‘minimum effective dose (MED) is considered to be the lowest dose of a pharmaceutical product that spurs a clinically significant change in health or well-being.
In order to live and work from my sweet spot, I had to find the MED in everything in my life: sleep, meditation, blogging frequency, checking my email, school volunteering, homework help, date nights.”
Work With Stakeholders
Share your routine improvement ideas with the people and groups that will be affected by any changes. Family, friends, and co-workers will be a great source of advice and suggestions on what may or may not work on your quest to achieve more with less.
Discuss with your boss or significant other your intentions and have them help you evaluate the results. During the evaluation discuss what went wrong and what went right and how to improve. Continue to work on improvements whenever possible.
Believe it or not this interaction can also be seen as spending quality time with the important people in your life. It can have a dual positive effect.
You get positive data to help you focus on less to achieve more and the important people in your life feel and know you care as you involve them and seek their advice.
The Attempt Is To Focus On Less To Achieve More
Don’t be shy. Let the principles know you aim to focus on less to achieve more. They should know that your actions are not all about them. LOL.
Let them know you are seeking a goal but you also love interacting with them to achieve it. Inform them of the benefits you aim to achieve.
When you explain that you are trying to do less to achieve more many people will look at you side-eyed. Some may now see you as a lazy, work-avoiding slacker. You may have to explain yourself thoroughly and assure them it’s actually about efficiency.
Let your boss know you aim to achieve more in less time and you will like to share the new-found extra saved time with the company. Inform your family and friends that you aim to spend more quality time with them and volunteer more in the community.
Teresa Amabile, Harvard Business School director of research, and Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration say that when it comes to creating our current work environment dampens our productivity.
Amabile suggests that employers encourage their employees to daydream for 30 to 60 minutes a day. Instead of constantly doing it, she recommends unstructured time, which can be spent in peaceful contemplation.
In an article for the Harvard Gazette, Amabile states, “In the short term, people become less engaged in their work if their creativity isn’t supported. They will also be less productive because they often can’t focus on their most important work.
In the long term, companies may lose their most talented employees, as well as losing out because they won’t have the innovative products, innovative services, and business models that they need to be competitive.”
I believe this is true in our personal and home life. We should constantly evaluate our routines to include what is important and discard what is not important whenever possible.
I know you can’t do everything but that is the point. You can’t! You should always try to do what is important.
Doing anything else has been documented not to be efficient anyway. You may feel like you are doing more but all you are doing is becoming too busy.
Living Simple, focusing on less to achieve more is the way to go. Always inject a healthy dose of great times with friends and family and community service in your life.
Your mind and body will rebel if you don’t. Don’t let the feeling of your mind and body rebelling be the norm in your life.
Step back and take time away and remember the way your body and mind should feel and make that the norm.
Dial that feeling in and never lose it. Use it as your guide to focus on less to achieve more. Do you have any tips? What works for you to help you focus on less to achieve more?
Hi Tony, you’ve a nice job here.
When I started reading your post, I didn’t really know what to expect, but I certainly ended with the challenge of sitting down, having a reassesment and doing more while focusing on little.
That’s such a great advice. Thank you for sharing as I hope it’ll bless many more lives.
Thanks. Yeah, committing a simple plan to memory will have you cruising on autopilot in no time.
Great advice! Right now I have too much on my mind and to many projects. I need to prioritize and plan better. Cut the things that are no fun and do rewarding stuff instead. Life is to short to be bored. 🙂 Andreas
Focusing on the essential and taking time to make great memories with good friends and family is key.
Having time alone to let my mind wonder & just be i snot only what helps keep me from being crabby, it also is a source for ideas for me. I also found that getting ridding of clutter, or just generally getting rid of things I haven’t had anything to do with in a long time, letting them go & getting rid of them…WOW! What a great feeling!! and then..it’s just the beginning!
I agree Donna. Alone time can be quality time. Less clutter means less things and surface to get dirty and clean. Less time cleaning is a gift worth receiving. Relaxing in a newly cleaned house is a great feeling.