how doing less has helped me achieve more

How doing less has helped me achieve more [PMP #183]

We’ve all heard the advice that we should do less, focus, and say ‘no’ before taking on too many commitments.

This is a lot easier said than done. Social pressure and our personal desire to please people often results in us doing more than we’d like and getting overwhelmed as a result.

Now I’m far from perfect. But do my best to maintain a sense of balance in my life. With that in mind, here are some examples of things I’m doing less of or say ‘no’ to in an attempt to maintain this balance.

'If you seek tranquillity, do less' - Marcus AureliusClick To Tweet

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Limiting my availability and working hours

Maintaining a balanced lifestyle has always been at the core of my business. I could easily take on more clients and projects by working longer hours. But this would go against the reason I decided to work for myself in the first place.

Using Calendly to schedule calls and Timing (affiliate link) to track my hours I’m able to limit how much I work and ensure I don't work longer than I should.

Sometimes new clients approach me asking if I’m available to start on a project ASAP. I could try and squeeze them in by working more. But I usually pass on these projects as I’d rather not overload myself or disappoint the client by not being as available as they need.

I gave up on becoming a volunteer firefighter

In 2017, I was interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter. This was during the early stages of my business and being a go-getter, I thought I could fit it all in. I attended the meetings at my local station but after a couple of months, I realized this was going to be a bigger commitment than I realized.

Therefore I made the decision not to take this any further as I didn’t want to stretch myself too thin or resent the work later.

At the time I felt like a failure. Like I’d given up. But sometimes we feel an obligation to ‘keep going’ when giving up is actually the right thing to do. As Seth Godin talks about in his book, The Dip, quitting is okay and you need to recognise when to quit so you can focus on other things. In my case, it was a decision that I’m pleased I made. Looking back, I’m pleased that at least I gave it a go…

Consolidated my consulting offers

Last year I decided to stop offering Mailchimp support as one of my consulting offers. The decision came about after realising that I enjoyed these projects less than my other Asana and Pipedrive projects. I also realised that I was spending more time on these projects for the same return resulting in a greater opportunity cost.

Cutting this service offering felt scary at the time but was the right thing to do. As I had hoped, the available time was quickly filled by my Asana and Pipedrive project work.

Reading, journaling and meditating

Okay, so I haven’t stopped doing these things altogether. But I no longer pressure myself to do them according to any set frequency.

If I want to learn about something, I’ll find a book to fulfil this need (what I refer to as ‘just in time learning’).

If I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I’ll meditate to unwind.

Or if I want to get things off my mind or remember a significant moment, I’ll journal about it.

If you’re someone who does all of the above daily, I take my hat off to you. It takes great commitment to maintain these habits. For me, I’m happy to meditate, journal or read when the time calls for it.

Less 1:1 consulting

Early this year I had the goal to do less 1:1 consulting while maintaining my income. And this worked out great for clients as well. By repackaging my service, clients now have access to my online courses and they can attend group calls twice a week (rather than waiting 2-3 weeks for a private session).

Changing a model that works to something new was scary at the time, but well worth doing. The new model is more scaleable and clients get more value compared to the ad-hoc private sessions.

No guest posts or interviews

For a while, I’ve had a blanket policy that I don’t accept requests for guest posts or interviews for my podcast. This is partly because they don’t align with my content goals but also, the admin to manage this type of content is more work than it’s worth.

By doing fewer interviews, it means the ones I do publish with people that I know are more meaningful and better quality (I hope).

Outsourcing to a virtual assistant

About a year ago I started working with a virtual assistant, Angeline. I only task Angeline with a few hours of work per week (if that). But it’s a nice way to get some of the smaller tasks off my plate. For example, when I’m done with this blog post and podcast, Angeline will upload it to my podcast host. She gets my YouTube videos ready for publishing. In the past, she’s helped me set up my online courses, make website changes, build Zaps and even with client work.

Having someone you can rely on who can take work off your plate is a real game-changer. When I first started my business I certainly wasn’t in a position to hire a VA but now that it’s fiscally a responsibility, it’s awesome!

What are you doing less of these days? Please leave me a comment below!