9th April 2014

Do more with less, yes really!

How often have you thought if I only had one more hour, another colleague to support me or less email to process I could take a deep breath, get caught up or not work on the weekend? In today’s overwhelming, overstretched, over scheduled world, we are not only asked, but often required to do more with less – less time and resources. So, how do you really do more with less? Stretch the hours that you do have and make those minutes work for you.

Batch or group like tasks.

Batching or grouping like tasks increases our efficiency without any extra effort on our part. For example, make all of your phone calls at one time, process your email at one time, or review project proposals from vendors. Switching between disparate tasks is highly inefficient because it takes our brains so long to reengage with the task we switched from and remember what we were actually doing. Work on the same type project or task and increase your output.

Work in vacation mode.

Have you ever noticed what happens before a vacation? Your inbox is magically cleaned out, projects are wrapped up, and your desk is cleared off. I call this the vacation phenomenon. The vacation is a hard deadline. You are going to be on a sandy beach holding a drink with an umbrella in it on Saturday afternoon. As a result, you have to get the work done before you go. Consider working in vacation mode even if you are not going on vacation and create hard stops to your work day. For example, schedule a fun activity after work that has a hard start time – a movie, a play, or a sporting event. Watch what happens to your productivity during the day.

Create a stop doing list.

As our responsibilities continue to expand at work, we keep adding tasks and projects to our to do lists. But, we never take anything off of the list. Take a hard, critical look at your projects and tasks and ask yourself if each project is still relevant, directly tied to the organization’s strategic goals and has a significant return on time investment. There are probably a few tasks and projects lurking on your list that need to be moved to the stop doing list. No one is going to miss them.

Decide what is good enough and stop.

Do you know what good enough is for each of the projects on your list? This is good enough for the organization and good enough for you. Overthinking, over editing and over tweaking wastes valuable time and is not necessary. Do good work and then stop.

Do more with less by making your time work for you not against you.

Leverage the natural efficiencies that can be gained by completing work in groups. Set and adhere to hard stops in your work day. Remove tasks and projects from your to do list that are no longer aligned to your
goals, nor your organization’s goals. Know what good enough looks like for you and then stop
when you reach good enough. Stretch your time today and enjoy your extra minutes!