It is no secret to my regular readers that I am a fan of efficiency.
A friend commented once that even my body type (a compact, under 5 feet frame) could best be described as efficient.
Efficiency involves effective resource management, including the amount of time and effort expended to achieve the desired outcome.
Time is finite (and infinite in a more existential sense, and also a construct, but that’s not where we’re going today) so using it wisely has always been the centerpiece of my efficiency focus.
Oddly I never focused as much on the other component: effort.
Having recently read Effortless: Make it Easier to Do What Matters Most by Greg McKeown, I am beginning to consider: where am I trying too hard?
And the corollary: where can I do less?
Some of my “do more” attitude comes from being Type A; some of it comes from my internal “commander” who berates me if she perceives I am slacking.
But some of it is just a lack of awareness that doing less* may actually be an option.
The author cites examples where people realize that they can remove steps and still get the results they expected…or in some cases, even better results… and from that point forward they are always asking the question, “Where else can I do less?”
For those of us who have been steeped in the more effort=better results model for much of our lives, it may be a question worth asking.
It isn’t necessarily a set of tools (though there are a few tactics I’m testing out; see “Try It!” below), it’s a mindset. And I am here for it.
* NOTE: this is NOT to say that we are off the hook for doing things to improve our world, nor am I advocating that people do nothing…The Commander wouldn’t let this newsletter go out without that caveat!
My Starting Points for Doing Less
Although I am just beginning my “doing less” journey, here are some of my starting points for implementing the reframe.
➡️ What is the result I want to achieve?
When I sat down to write this newsletter, I did not try to specifically connect it to a global theme nor did I consult my “Slice Ideas” list. I just sat down and reflected on what I’ve been reading and took it from there, knowing my desired outcome was a completed newsletter.
➡️ Where should I adjust my expectations?
My proposal creation process used to involve days of poring over each word so that what I shared was as close to a perfect representation of my ideas as possible. I now realize that it’s less about the perfect proposal and more about accurately reflecting where the client wants to go and how I can help get them there.
➡️ Where is the slow or redundant part?
Sunday morning cleaning used to involve hauling the vacuum up and down the stairs; I have since decided that running the Roomba and/or sweeping is sufficient most weeks. Even with two very sheddy dogs.
➡️ What could make this even easier?
I wanted to increase the frequency of my home yoga practice, so I now have a yoga mat on each level of my house so that if I have 10 minutes, I just need to slip off my shoes and get my asana in gear.
blast from the past
“We are conditioned to believe that we need to prove ourselves to be worthy (of love, of recognition) and valuable (to others, to the world). It is one symptom of the “work harder, achieve more” mentality that is central to the burnout culture we’re all steeped in. It also devalues things that have real value to us.” —Slice of Sunshine, May 4, 2021
Receive the “Slice of Sunshine” in your inbox by subscribing to the Department of Practical Sunshine newsletter.