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Work Less, Get More Done

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” [Ephesians 5:15-16]

How does your output compare to your outcomes? In other words: Don’t tell me how hard you’ve been working; tell me what you’ve accomplished.

As I juggle mounting personal & professional projects, I’m constantly evaluating the best use of my time and resources. While I still waste plenty of time on things like fighting the fax machine, debating last night’s TV show, or clicking on a shiny online ad, I’m happy to share two techniques that have helped me abolish heaps of routine tasks that did little more than clutter my schedule and cloud my perspective.

1. Not-To-Do Lists
A while ago, I wrote about cultivating Not-To-Do lists. Best-selling Author Jim Collins argues that for every new objective you should have a stop-doing objective. (Listen to Jim rant on this concept and different ways to implement it here.) Which routine tasks do nothing (or little) to help you or your employer? Does your boss really need that report at the end of each week? Can you come up with higher-efficiency alternatives? Start by clarifying your goals, then throw out anything that doesn’t line up with them, or that rates low on your priority list.

2. Work Less
Having trouble managing your workload? Try working less. (David Woods of Giant Partners goes so far as to suggest you take off at noon for greater results.) Let me explain: Think back to when you were getting ready for a vacation—didn’t you easily triple your output in preparation for your absence? “If you had less time to work,” Woods says, “you would work on only the things that produce the greatest impact.” Imminent deadlines and shorter work schedules force you to focus on what really matters.

What if I miss something important? “With this new freedom,” Woods argues, “comes worry that you’re out of the loop. Get over it. The really important stuff will percolate to the top.”

It’s not how busy you are that determines success. Monitoring your output to ensure high-impact outcomes ultimately amounts to an unbeatable life and business strategy.


2 Responses

  1. Andrea – I am really enjoying reading your blog. The last couple of entries have been great reminders to me. It’s also great to connect with another Christian female business leader!

  2. Thanks, Jenni! I really appreciate the encouragement. (And your note is a good reminder for me to post more often 🙂 Have a great weekend!


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