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Can You Really Do More With Less?

overwhelm Jan 19, 2022

I’m a high achiever, especially when I am passionate about something. I will put in extra hours and let these things that matter to me simmer in my thoughts even when I’m not “officially” at work. Sometimes my passion can feel overwhelming to people around me. I’ve had to learn to tone down my intensity. 

Years ago when I was in charge of our budget process, it was a tight year and we were reigning in expenses. There may not have been as much money to work with, however, I still had the same amount of passion. I remember in one meeting saying, “we just have to find a way to do more with less.” One of the directors paused and quietly responded, “why can’t we do less with less?” My passion and intensity didn’t even let me see that doing less was an option!

I was sold on the “do more with less” strategy until my thinking was called into question. And it was a good question! The grip of the high-achiever in me was loosened as I pondered the alternative question. Could I do less with less?

Doing more is not our goal as leaders. Multi-tasking is a myth. Even Jesus did not try and do it all. He stole away to pray. He got tired. And yet, he did everything God asked him to do. He stayed on mission! 

And when he stayed on mission he did less and he did it better than we do in our efforts to get all of our crazy overwhelming things done. Maybe it’s time to pause and re-evaluate our thinking. 

What’s really important to you?

If you were to strip away all the things you are doing and start anew, which ones would you pick to add back first? Why are those the ones that are truly important to you?

What’s working?

Where are you getting the most “bang for your buck”? What is still providing value? Where are your “wins”? What are you celebrating?

What’s important to the mission?

Refocus back to WHY you do what you do. How much of what you are actually doing relates to your why? How does it do that? If you stopped doing it, what would be lost and would people miss it?

Next Steps

You can let go of some of the less important things – or keep trying to do it all and risk losing your people, impact the quality of your programs or products, and derail your focus on what matters most. That “letting go” is easier said than done. We will get practical in future blogs. Recognize, for now, your “do less better” approach may require some reflection before it will feel like it's working. 

  1. Set aside 30 - 60 minutes to reflect. Use the questions in this blog as a springboard to simply notice what is important about what you do and why.
  2. Check out the book “Essentialism”. The “do less better” approach is discussed in greater detail in this book by Greg McKeown to help you reevaluate what’s important. Find other resources that can help you think through your do less better strategy.
  3. Set aside some time to journal and pray. Ask God what is important to the mission and then journal. Set it aside for a day and come back to it. What do you notice?

Last blog explored ways to stop normalizing overwhelm. In my latest podcast episode the discussion focused on When The Workload Is Too Much. Next week we will dive into some practical strategies to move beyond the overwhelm. To manage it so it doesn’t manage us. If a quick strategy session will get you thinking about what doing less better is for you, then sign up for a free 27 minute strategy session today.

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