Doing Less but Getting More Done


Do you have a problem with productivity?Do Less and Be More Productive

The likelihood is that you’ll answer yes. A large majority of us, whether office workers or not, think we could be doing more despite the heavy workload we already try to push through each week. In fact, workers tend to obsess around the idea of productivity and the next hack that can help them complete an endless list of tasks.

If we want to get more done within our time frames, could the answer simply begin with doing less?


Stop Chaining Yourself to Your Desks

The common train of thought is that if we are more productive we can get more done, we’re ahead in the workplace and on track to having a fantastic social life outside of work. However, what determines between this little image and the reality is how we perceive productivity.

It is instead about understanding the fundamentals behind how your brain works rather than just setting up camp at your desk, taking on a heap of work, and downloading a bunch of tools that promise to help you (which, let’s face it, you’ll soon abandon).

Start by Saying No!

You may think you can take on the world, but every time you say yes you are effectively saying no to something else; something which perhaps should have taken priority.

Don’t get us wrong, we know that it will be hard putting ‘laziness’ into practice and remaining disciplined and on track but just give it a go. Forget the nagging feeling that you could be doing more and learn to say no to yet another project, another meeting and another conference call.

Being productive isn’t about taking on as much as you can and working yourself to the ground in the process. It also means producing as much value for your company as possible and not becoming swamped in tasks that you don’t really have time for. We’re talking photocopying, shredding, hold punching and printing; those jobs that aren’t necessarily the most important. The point we’re trying to make is that if you can delegate don’t be afraid to do so and free up some of your own time to really get on with the most important jobs.

And despite what you may think, you’re not going to impress anyone taking on a load of extra work if you can’t actually do it. Really, what is the point in spending hours on a task that you don’t really understand and could have been completed by someone more competent in the first place? The definition of unproductive in our eyes.

And whilst you continue to say no, why not try working offline? The online world is a distracting place and you can avoid the temptation by turning it off. Did you know that 60% of distractions at the office come from the internet, emails and phones? It is likely that you are often part way through a project when you are taken away by a call or email ensuring that you are now completely removed from the task in hand. We know that it’s not always viable to turn off your distractions, particularly emails and phone calls, but if you can try even for just an hour.

Don’t Just Take Our Word for it…

…there are a multitude of studies out there suggesting exactly this; productivity isn’t about spreading yourself thin. Doing less and doing it without interruption is certainly the way forward in terms of being more productive.

According to Lifehack productivity is reduced by as much as 40% when attempting to multi-task and that leisure is in fact the new productivity. That may sound a little illogical but it’s true. Working too much leaves us unproductive, sick, unhappy, burned out and disengaged resulting in projects which are completed half-heartedly. When discussing productivity in the workplaceBrigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time; we are LESS productive, creative and innovative than we would be if we had more time off.

Residing in this continued state of ‘busyness’ actually prevents us from entering a mental state which makes room for unexpected connections and those lightbulb moments. In fact, despite appearing idle whilst daydreaming or mind wandering the brain is actually working particularly hard in these moments. Why? Well these unfocused, default mode allows us to tap into a greater array of mental resources.

It’s Not about Being Lazy

Our minds need down time, otherwise we are always under stress, feeling the pressure of deadlines, constantly checking emails and making calls. Therefore doing less isn’t about being lazy it’s about focusing on quality rather than quantity.

So why not have a go at doing a bit less and we are certain that you’ll accomplish a lot more?

Posted by Paul Randall
15th June 2015