I know, ‘Do less? You having a laugh?’
To make it worse, I’m also suggesting doing less means you can be and achieve more. Whacky eh?
Or maybe not…
What if THIS complete contradiction turned out to be the key to creating success in our lives? What if it suddenly opened up time that we could spend how we chose to spend it rather than being so overwhelmed and exhausted that we are literally being dragged round our lives, bone tired?
How on earth can doing LESS possibly equal MORE?
Play with me for a minute. Because I know you like both ideas if we just separate them out.
Doing less? Er, YES PLEASE.
Achieving more? OF COURSE.
Getting busy being busy is at an epidemic level. We can see it, feel it and yet we don’t how we CREATED it. We sure as heck don’t know how to stop it.
We all know that we are not being efficient when we work bonkers hours. Yes, we may be present, meaning we’re at our desks. Not the same thing as being productive. Not even close.
And home lives? Any of you reading this ever felt like you can just sit down and be with your favourite film or a good book whenever you want? You’ll do it when……that’s right when everything else is “done”. Translated as ‘Never’.
We’re all about easy around here. So here for your delight and pleasure, are 14 Easy Ways to Do Less and Have More.
1. NOTICE YOUR ENERGY
We wake in the morning with weary bones wondering where we are going to find an unlimited source of energy to get through the day. We get started by pretending not to know that some things, people and tasks FILL us with energy. Where others drain us. We put all the draining things on the same list as the filling ones and try to push through.
Here’s a new way. Notice what brings you energy and what doesn’t. Then match your energy to the task. So much changed for me when I realised it was best for me to coach in the mornings when I am fresh and focused. Then I turn to emails in the afternoon. Easy. I do less and achieve way more.
2. IDENTIFY WHAT MATTERS MOST TO US
If you want to know what’s truly important to you, look at where you’re spending your time. What’s getting your focus? Oops.
We’d all to love to be saying our relationship and quality time with those we love right? If it’s what matters most to us, it’s the thing that gets the most attention right? Certainly, in my life that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, I’m embarrassed to admit that often I have treated these things as “banked”. Because they were important, and I had them, then they didn’t “need” my attention. And we know how THAT feels…
Commit to not being that person who makes others feel like they rank just below their inbox.
Make WHAT IS IMPORTANT important. Anytime we’re saying YES to something else, anything else, we are saying NO to this.
And we are looking to create conscious choices. KNOWING what is important creates a REASON to be ruthless in creating that space. Ironing that duvet versus cuddling up on the sofa with a loved one? You know what to do.
3. OUR VITAL FEW
What are the things that only YOU can do, that really MAKE a difference in your life and the lives of others? Darren Hardy in the Compound Effect suggests that we have just three.
For me they are coaching, creating (content, clients, business) and learning.
When I look at my diary is this where I am spending all my time? Not always and when I’m not, I create procrastination and heaviness.
What would happen If you Identified and concentrated on your final few? That when we knew we only had 2 hours to complete something, we only DID THESE THINGS. That way the important stuff gets done.
What about the rest? I’m guessing you’d have a totally differently relationship with your workload if you knew the top things were already nailed…
4. SAY NO
Go on try it now. We get so used to saying yes that we don’t even consider the possibility of saying no!
N.O. Radical eh? That word has been such an Achilles heel for me.
Here’s an idea – today go and say no. To something in your inbox, a commitment, a meeting, to someone asking if you are free at the weekend for a catch up. Just say no. CREATE the space simply by saying NO. Make it easy; “Thank you so much for asking. On this occasion, I’m going to say no”. Do it without writing four paragraphs on why. One sentence max. Otherwise you’re not saying no, you’re apologising and making excuses and demonstrating you don’t really believe the no. If your crazy lady says ‘what will people think?” genuinely ask yourself – do I want my life to be decided by who will like me or what I want?
5. CANCEL IT
Yes you can! Look at something in your diary right now. Something you KNOW you don’t have to do, yet have time allocated to it. Got an icky feeling where your energy drains just thinking about it? Cancel it.
See the white space. Feel the freedom. See how powerful you are. How relieved. CANCEL IT. Now – before you put a single other thing in that space, ring fence it with the title JOY. Or FUN. Or HAPPY TIME. Or….you CHOOSE. S.P.A.C.E.
6. ASK FOR HELP
So many of us have what I call the “Agreement of Individualism” which goes something like, “I must do this myself, I must be self-reliant, I must prove I can” which all equates to “I must pretend I’m super woman”.
This can be a biggy for many of us and yet all through history women have supported each other ALL THE TIME. Now we seem to believe we have to do it all and most of us are exhausted. Look around, there’s another woman doing EXACTLY what you’re doing and pretending she’s fine too!
What if this was easy? Today just go and ask for some help. On anything. Yes you can.
7. RECEIVE HELP
This one is so much fun. We have a famous story at Somebody Inside of one of our Sisters who actually DECLINED the offer of help taking a bed upstairs (yes you read that right).
Instead she found herself hot, sweaty and utterly exhausted dragging it solo. To make it worse, the guy asked twice!
How often do we say ‘no, no I’m fine’ (there goes that word) knowing deep down we really want to say yes. There’s help being offered to you right now. Always. Want me to get you a coffee? Can I grab lunch for you while I’m out?
Today, just today, say YES PLEASE!
8. PAY FOR HELP
Here’s another boom idea. You could pay for help. I can almost hear some of you saying “too far Devlin, some of us don’t have money”. For some of you that’s absolutely true, and for some of you, it’s really not. It costs £44 a month for me to have space and breathe easier. To get my ironing done and have my house cleaned.
I’m happy to say no to a new top or a takeaway, or forego a daily latte, knowing that means my house is cleaned without me touching it. SPACE to do WHAT MATTERS MOST TO ME. Tick.
9. DO NOTHING
I’m being serious. Do you even know what this means? We are on go the moment we wake up until we fall into bed exhausted. I want to challenge you to experience space by literally doing nothing. That could be for 3 minutes, 10 or even an hour. Rules are NO DOING. Lie on the floor. Stare out of the window. Meditate. Just sit. Simply breathe. Do nothing. Give yourself permission to be with it for the time you’ve allowed. No point in sitting there anxious to get going again.
Commit to it. And see how it feels…..refreshing eh?
10. DO ONE THING FOR 25 MINUTES
In ‘Deep Work’, Cal Newport discusses the myth that is multi-tasking. How we kid ourselves that we are being smart and “efficient”. The evidence says otherwise.
The brain can do one mental task at a time. Fact. We just believe that they are happening simultaneously.
In fact, the constant switching back and forth not only takes huge mental energy, it takes more time. Often creating an experience of never actually doing a good job anywhere.
Write a list of priorities or projects. Choose one. Allocated 25 minutes and turn off all distractions. Give it your full attention.
Why 25 minutes? Because that’s the amount of time experts say the mind can realistically focus for.
Still not finished? Take a 3 minute BREAK – get air, a drink, wee. No emails. Go again.
You’ve got it.
11. UNSCHEDULED TIME
Turns out you do have space ALREADY!
Yes, you do. It’s the white space in your calendar. Trouble is, we’re super quick to fill it. Take some of those spaces and write ‘ME TIME’ in them. Quick. Otherwise your diary is full of EVERYONE ELSE’s priorities.
Find space and commit it to YOU before anyone else does. You get to decide how long – starter 2 hours a week? Maybe in 2 blocks. A day a month? Ring-fence it. Now.
That way when you get to the week and someone asks if you are free, if the diary says “ME TIME” you know the answer……no!
Imagine waking up and knowing there’s time already allocated just for you to do ANYTHING. Feels good huh?
You knew it was coming… I have a lot to say on this.
For now this. UNSUBSCRIBE. From those shopping sites, blogs (not this one, obviously), websites etc. If this brings you out in hives, save them on your favourites in your browser.
Space v pretending you’re keeping up.
If you’re really addicted to the internet, get yourself an app that physically stops you. Freedom is a great one. Let’s face it that’s where so much of our time goes. Hours if not days. If you really want a shock, download Moment. It shows you how much you have been on your phone. Even how many times you picked it up.
Let’s call it; many of us are addicted. We are surfing, scrolling, numbing, disappearing from our own lives. Because we are bored, tired, want to be distracted. And then saying we don’t have time. We do. Let’s simply decide to use it where it matters.
This article with others. Why? Imagine a life where everyone used time differently. Where they loved the life they had created. Where they could enjoy it rather than constantly trying to just make it to the weekend. Time to notice others. To laugh, to connect, to breathe. Show them the way. By BEING IT.
When people now ask are you busy? I say no. Focused? Committed? Making my top priorities top. You bet!
You can do this.
Your life is yours. Start choosing to live it that way.