Less = More: A DareSeptember 25, 2009 Leave a comment
Friends, what if less really IS more?
What if in order to spend more time on the things that matter, we really do need to spend less time working on those things and on everything else, too?
What if its true that our energies, time, intellect, creativity and gifts — if concentrated, focused, harnessed, smartly— really will yield more, better, longer-lasting, more potent results and legacies than they will if we are everywhere-and-no where in particular, all things to all people, jack of all trades, and eh….spread too thin?
And, what if it is true that in a more focused, streamlined, measured, discriminating, approach to life and work will thereby make the experience of our working and living itself more rewarding?
What about simplicity?
I’m more and more compelled by these “truths” in the context of my own life, and am taking some steps to challenge myself around these notions: inviting coaching relationships, workshops that address this issue, welcoming constructive feedback, fasting to seek God for revelation and direction, assessing my commitments, etc.
And, in the midst of all this, I hear Harvard Business School has just published the results of a 4-year study that the Wall Street Journal introduces in an article entitled, “To Work Better, Maybe Try Working Less”. The bottom line of the study seems to be that with an increase in non-work related time and focus, the incidental benefit is that when the worker returns to the work, the results are of better quality and come quicker.
What do you think?
What would it take to have a 4-day work week – a wild and crazy idea – become the norm? (Not so wild or crazy according to a recent study performed by Brigham Young researchers).
When will (let me personalize this) I take the courage to operationalize the recommendations of a consultant colleague of ours, Stever Robbins, in his 2006 article for the HBS Working Knowledge newsletter entitled, “Productivity Means Working Smarter, Not Longer”:
1. Work Faster (means to eliminate distraction).
2. Increase Focus (prioritize the work that actually moves the company/organization forward).
3. Say “No” (don’t take on more than you can handle with high quality results).
4. Work in parallel; Do not multitask (delegation is your friend here).
5. Realize that your highest leverage activity is to regularly take the time to reexamine and tweak HOW you do your work.
I’m convinced, Friends.
So, in the year —eh, 6 months — ahead: Watch me streamline. Hear me say “No!” (exclamation point there because I’m dramatic ;-)). Feel my contagious joy as a result of greater impact, less work to create it, reaping tangible and priceless rewards — all with more time for leisure, loving and living well along the way.
Sound too good to be true? Well, let’s experiment! Find out what is true for us individually along the way.
I dare you to join me. Take courage. You in?
You have me jumping out of my chair shouting, “AMEN!” The key to pulling this off is to be, in the words of Robert Gass, “100% impeccably committed” to making this change.
I love it! Something else that brings me back to this Globe piece on one more idea I’d add to your mix – the lost art of boredom: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/03/09/the_joy_of_boredom/?page=full
and my riff on it here: http://dadtoday.blogspot.com/2008/04/finding-me-in-microboredom.html
I’m with you on the one hand. On the other, what if “prioritize the important stuff” is really still a pretty long list?!
@Stefan! Love the boredom! Love it! Thanks for chiming in, bro.
@Cynthia — Then just say “no”, then, to the things at the bottom of the list! The goal is to have a list that matters and is managable, not a matter-full list that is meaningless in execution, presence, and power. I often find that its on those things at the bottom of the list where Im taking up space that someone else really is needing, wanting, waiting, suited, to fill. Its about opening up space for others to fill…to step up…or at least, to save yourself for the long haul. Easier said, yes, but there’s truth there that Im committed to chasing!