How to Do Less When You Have More to Do

Time management is not always all it’s cracked up to be. When you apply it successfully, you end up doing more–not less–of what you need to be doing.

Most people who follow time management programs find that they actually decrease their productivity and effectiveness.

If you want to get things done, focus less on managing time and more on yourself and the things you’re working to accomplish. Then you can begin finding ways to lighten your personal load.

Here are eight ways to make it happen:

1. Utilize the talents of others.

If you have a lot to do and you’re like most of us, you couldn’t possibly accomplish it all by yourself even if you wanted to. You need help from others–and the more people you know, the less you have to do on your own. First, though, you need to train others, empower them and encourage them. Outsourcing and using the talents of others is a surefire way you can do less.

2. Do less with more focus.

Most of us are so busy looking at all we have to do that we hardly take the time to focus on what needs to get done. Once you’ve decided what to work on–that is, once you’ve chosen the highest-impact task–get to work on that task and focus on it completely. Reflect on what needs to get done, and then focus until it’s done. Don’t let yourself get distracted, don’t let your thoughts wander–do what you have to do until it’s complete, and you’ll find yourself with one less thing on your list. Concentrated focus gets more work done than multitasking.

3. Systemize and strategize.

An organized person with a strategy is worth any amount of lofty ideas and dreams. Everyone needs to learn to systemize what needs to get done and strategize how it will get done. Take the time to think things through, reassess and realign yourself with what needs to get done. Spend some time in thought and planning on a daily basis–for most people, the beginning and end of the work day are the best times.

4. Put your strengths to work.

It’s a lot more effective to work on the things that you’re good at than to spend time working on things you don’t do well. What are your strengths? Do those things that fall into those areas first, because you know you’ll do them well without taxing yourself too much. Ask yourself of each task: does it give you energy or does it distract? If it distracts, reassign it to someone who can attack it with strength and gain energy from it.

5. Stay mindful and calm.

What does mindfulness have to do with time management? Everything. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. This simple technique can not only calm you down but will help you create clarity needed to do the tasks you need to do.

6. Be thankful and grateful.

The other day, someone said to me, “The people who appreciate me, I do more for.” People want to be appreciated, and the more you thank people and acknowledge their contributions, the more they’ll want to do things for you. A simple gesture of sincere gratitude can cut down your to-do list.

7. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

It’s much more productive for all of us to spend our time on what works instead of reinventing the wheel. If you know something works, don’t try to re-invent a good process or experiment with a technique that might not work. Use your creativity for what is needed and don’t waste time spinning your wheels. There’s a time for invention and experimentation and a time for doing what works, and sometimes it is making the right choice between them that determines our productivity.

8. Give your best to do your best.

When it comes to getting things done, you have to be at your best to do your best. That means getting enough sleep, taking breaks throughout the day, and taking time to think and reset. If there’s something you want to accomplish, give it your full effort.

In the end, the principle is simply this: to be really good at doing less with more to do, focus not so much on what you can do but on how you should be.

Many of us were taught that in order to succeed we have to exert enormous amounts of effort and be constantly busy. However, the most successful people don’t necessarily work harder than everyone else–instead, they work smarter.



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What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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