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The question that should replace ‘how do I get more done?’

11 Jan 2016 | Clarity & Focus

When I was interviewed by the journalist and broadcaster Julie MacDonald, about my book How to be Really Productive, she started with this question:

“Grace, this isn’t a book on how to be more busy is it?”

Quite the opposite, actually!

But it’s an interesting question. Because much of our conversation on productivity tends to start with “how do I do more?”

“Too much to do, not enough time, how do I fit it all in?”
“Higher targets, less resources, how do we do more with less?”

And if we’re not careful, our efforts to become more productive can become an exercise in cramming more in, resulting in a quest for “how to be more busy”, rather than how to get more value out of our work and our lives.

Let’s face it. Most of us are already experts at being busy. We are by definition always doing something, even when we think we’re doing nothing. The question isn’t “How do I do more?” but “How do I do more of the things I want to do, and less of the other stuff: the stuff that steals my time, energy and attention, and gives me little in return.”

Perhaps a more useful question would be to ask: What do I want to do more of, and what do I want to do less of?

Because it reminds us that there is a trade-off, and that if we are to make space for more of something, we may need to do less of something else.

One of mine last year was ‘less networking, more geek out conversations’ which for me meant stepping back from networking groups to make space to meet individual connections, being less committed to regular meetings in favour of in depth conversations, and giving myself permission to travel to meet one person rather than a roomful of people.

This has led to some fascinating conversations with fellow authors, trainers, change makers and productivity geeks – all of which have made my life and my work richer.

This year, I have a new one: ‘less proving my worth, more doing the work’ to remind me not to let my ego distract me into chasing opportunities to be seen in the right places, so that I can remain fully focused on serving and delivering value right where I am. I know that this is how I do my best work, and trust that in the process, the right doors open to the right places, and my work can speak for itself.

What about you? What do you want to do less of/more of, this year? Perhaps it’s…

  • Less faffing, more focus
  • Less fake work, more real work
  • Less confusion, more clarity
  • Less emails, more conversation
  • Less hiding, more stepping up
  • Less pressure, more passion
  • Less distraction, more attention
  • Less reactive, more strategic
  • Less perfect, more human
  • Less default, more choice
  • Less burnt out, more fired up
  • Less standby, more recharge
  • Less brain dead, more creative
  • Less headless chicken, more brilliance
  • Less zombie, more wide awake
  • Less busy, more productive

Or something else?

I’d love to know your less of and more of’s.

Leave me a comment, or drop me a line and let me know…


Image if author Grace Marshall

About Grace

I coach, train, write and speak on productivity. I help people adopt new ways of working and thinking about their work to replace stress, overwhelm and frustration with success, sanity and satisfaction.

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