Time management Monday: Do less?

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Well...do not rush !

Some advice I commonly see on time management websites is to “do less.” I have to admit my initial reaction to this advice is sarcasm: “Oh great idea. I can be less busy if I just stop doing stuff!”

I understand part of the point, which is to not take on more when you are already busy by saying no to optional obligations. But that’s not really doing less, it’s just not doing more than you’re already doing.

Another way to “do less” is to cut out time wasters that deplete your energy, like too much internet surfing. Being bombarded with information coming at you at the speed of light can deplete your decision-making energy because on every page you are deciding, do I click on this link? What about this one? With every new page there’s a flood of information and visual overwhelm. Reducing that type of input prevents your brain from getting tired out on trivial matters.

I think for most of us, we have so many things that need to get done every day it’s not feasible to cut many of them out. I think better advice is to group similar tasks together to streamline actions and do things more efficiently.

Have you ever tried to “do less?” How did it go?

4 thoughts on “Time management Monday: Do less?

  1. I think a lot of us feel we NEED to do things which don’t really need to be done. Or we try to do everything for our colleagues or our family or our friends. I think you *can* decide to stop doing things for other people and let them learn to take care of those things themselves, even if it means that some hard lessons will need to be learned first. I see people doing WAY too much for other people all the time, whether motivated by a desire to help or by a need to control or a mixture of both.

    I think Linda is right, a lot of this stuff is written for management who can (and should!) delegate more. But I think a lot of us can offload more than we realize. Or rethink the value of certain tasks. I might drop my vegetable garden this summer for this very reason. I switched from ordering my heating oil deliveries and monitoring my tank to signing up for an automatic delivery service, where the company keeps track of the “degree days” and delivers based on our historic usage. These little things give me a little less to deal with and some extra time to devote to things that are more important to me.

    I know a lot of people who are planning and tracking not just for themselves, but for their entire department or family. It is so important not to fill your time with managing other people’s schedules and needs. Let them do it themselves, and learn to do it, and learn why to do it (when things fail).

  2. I have cut way back on what I do. My priority these days is my family and family doesn’t follow a schedule very well. We’re dealing with some health issues that require us to be flexible. I’m definitely doing less than I used to. And I’m okay with it. I had to choose what was most important and do that. The rest had to go.

    I think you’re absolutely right, though, about getting rid of time wasters and doing things more efficiently.

  3. Most time management advice is written for managers and assumes you’re taking on too much and can delegate. It works a lot differently from the employee’s perspective (especially since employees are the ones being delegated to). Sometimes you get stuck having to do too much because you’re told to “just do it.” Worse, a lot of the advice assumes that the person is at fault for doing too much, not the culture or the people around them.

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