Do Less to Accomplish More

October 10, 2012

With increasing deadlines, business meetings, and email that connects to our phones, it's easy to see that we're constantly working. But in the midst of all this virtual clutter, true productivity and happiness can be lost. At Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute, we want to help you train your brain to do focus more effectively.

How do you focus your mind and accomplish your goals by doing less? The guiding principle is that when we approach any task in the right spirit, we become more successful and efficient at it. When we engage in fewer self-defeating behaviors, when we feel less fear, when we become less distracted, we accomplish more of whatever we set our hearts to. Thus, by recasting our attitudes, we reap tangible, practical benefits. We then do less by jettisoning activities we think are urgent but aren't. We do less by streamlining our efforts and eliminating unnecessary or reflexive responses. But to achieve these external real-world benefits, we first have to turn inward and do less within ourselves.



Before you check your email today (or for those reading at work, minimize your email browser), take a moment to ask yourself what you really want to accomplish today. Once you have a clear goal, ask yourself why it's so important. When you take the time to focus yourself, you'll be amazed at the efficiency of your work.

Keeping yourself centered is wonderful in concept, but how can the art of doing less help you when you're working 40-plus hour weeks? When you practice mindfulness, what you're really doing is training your attention. Think of how much more you could enjoy your projects, write your emails and even wash your dishes if you could give the task your complete focus.

To learn how to do more by doing less, you must first prioritize five activities, which you can fit into your routines.

First, take time to rest mentally and physically, in-between or outside of your usual activities. This could mean going for a brief walk during your lunch break or taking a few moments to be mindful before a big meeting.

Pause in the midst of activities to reflect. This can be done with a mindful moment anytime you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed.

Identify and reduce unnecessary activities. In this case, unnecessary means those things that are not in alignment with what we want to accomplish. Take a moment to reflect on your daily actions. Do you spend time worrying? Perhaps trying to do two things at once? Examine what behaviors detract from your work, instead of enhancing it.

Be completely present for what you are doing, without sacrificing or rushing what's in front of you in order to get to more important stuff later. No matter how mundane the activity, treat everything as important and take pleasure in it.

You do less by integrating effort with a feeling of effortlessness. What does that mean, sounds confusing, right?. With practice, we all can find that sweet spot that combines engagement, creativity, and composure.

Once you've accomplished the art of doing less, you'll be amazed how much more you complete during your working week. At SIYLI, we know Less can be more, but only if you take the time to train your brain to focus.

SIYLI Suggestion: This week, we want to hear how you accomplish your mindful minute. Do you take a walk? Focus on your breath for a few minutes? Let us know what gets you focused before work.