With a title like “Work Less To Achieve More“, I’m sure you wondering if I’ve finally lost it. It’s a concept that is so way out there, that is often mistaken by some as an excuse to be lazy. However, it actually makes a lot of sense.
Let’s face it, the rewards of working harder is clearly evident, so much so it often overshadows the consequences of such actions; fatigue, burn out, and a whole list of psychological issues, seldom talked about. In case you’re wondering, I’m actually talking from experience here.
As a secondary school teacher, for almost 10 years, my annual burnout became part of a predictable cycle.
Imagine a work day, which starts at about 6am and ends close to midnight, or later when you’re preparing students for regional exams, marking papers, planning school events, class events…
Then some people still think it is unfair for teachers get 6 weeks vacation at the end of the school year.
The rewards of my efforts were in my pass rates, success stories of my students, and salary was not bad either, but having your body shut down on you at the end of each year is not fun.
I carried this work ethic into my first business, and as can be expected, I got pretty similar results. With one exception, as an entrepreneur, when you’re burnt out, you can’t work… No work equals no pay…
Something had to change, but it took a while before I figured out.
Some may call it work smarter, but in my case it boiled down to prioritizing; the foundation of work less to achieve more.
Over time I realized that most of the results I got in my business, came from only a few activities, so I started to focus on those.
I also noticed that I functioned better when I was well rested, so I took off the alarm clock. Surprisingly I woke up at about the same time daily, which coincided with the sunlight entering my window.
Guess there is some truth to “early to bed early to rise” after all.
I used this extra time and energy to partake in additional activities, which further enhanced my ability to work; exercise, meditation, self-study.
Then I realized that I could gain additional time, by cutting out some more unnecessary tasks…
See the trend here? One positive action led to another, all to the increase of the productivity both in life and business.
I am not quite sure on the percentage of activities that produced more results, but I have noticed that as you get your priorities straight, and simplify your approach in one aspect of life, it seems to spill over into other aspects as well.
By figuring out what works for me, I am now able to knock out the key tasks quickly, do additional tasks which aids in the future development of the project, and now have time to rest and even hang out with friends; which is something I really need to work on, now that I have the extra time.
Everyone is wired differently, and what works for me, may not necessarily work best for you. However, we can all benefit from improved productivity, in business and life. So, try a few approaches, find out what brings about your desired results. Then repeat…