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5 Reasons Why Less is More

5 Reasons Why Less is More

The phrases “Work smarter, not harder,” “Less is more,” and “Simplicity key” plague our lives in every aspect, yet no one seems to really apply them. Is there any truth to these notions? Today’s society is all about absorbing information constantly, whether it be consciously or unconsciously, and attempting to remember it all. However, this burden placed upon us often leads to stress, confusion, and burnout. Here are 5 scenarios where doing less is more:

1. Get organized!

Being organized can initially be a very time-consuming and conscious responsibility. If you’re used to throwing paperwork all over your desk and using the excuse that it’s “organized chaos,” then you may also be familiar with the unnecessary time you spend fumbling through it trying to find one sheet. Keeping organized folders can make it easier to find paperwork. Or if you want to go green, keep digital copies in organized folders. If using digital copies, timestamps can also be great for tracking down files.

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Other than organizing physical clutter, organize your time as well. Sync your calendars, and add in new events and meetings as they pop up. Being aware of what you need to do, and where you need to be, allows for more efficient planning.

2. HIT it!

High-Intensity Training (HIT) has been shown to have some greater long-lasting effects than the average endurance or strength train. A good HIT session can last 20 minutes (5 minutes warm up and cool down, with 10 minutes of high-intensity intervals) and will have fat-burning effects all day, build muscle strength, and give you a shorter but more intense cardio workout. Simply varying the means (rowing, running, or cycling) can help build even muscle strength, and cuts an hour-long workout session out of your day. Check out Hoi Wan’s explanation of High-Intensity Training.

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3. Eat like our ancestors

Intermittent fasting has caught on with the health fanatics recently, and has been shown to be a very effective way of maintaining a good physique. Based on the principles of going long periods without eating as hunter-gatherers, it suggests our bodies are adapted to be able to fast and work at their best in doing so; fat is stored for a reason, so give it a reason to be used. Check out Nerd Fitness’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting.

4. Keep it concise

Twitter has provoked a revolution of the way in which we communicate; being restricted to 140 characters requires creativity and clear thinking to be able to convey what you would like to say within the limit. Thus, opting for emails or texts that are limited to a similar number of characters requires you to clearly think about what it is you want to say, such as how you want to deliver your message, tone of voice, and your key ideas. This is not only beneficial for the receiver in order to truly understand what you want to say, but also allows for the ideas to become vivid and clear within your own mind. For example, if I wanted to convey this topic within the limits of a Tweet, it may look something like this:

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Twitter’s constricted communication allows for clarity, conciseness, and creativity in conveying your message.

5. Break boundaries

This one is where you get creative. It is no surprise that there are several different aspects of your life that you try and manage simultaneously, and many people stand by the idea of only handling one task at a time. But it is perfect acceptable to break boundaries. Always seek out ways to complete more than one task simultaneously. It could be writing an article whilst commuting, or organizing your paperwork whilst researching through for some information. Fluidity is key, and by honing in on your creativity and actively seeking out better alternatives can be rewarding in itself.

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Now you have seen some key concepts and examples that adhere to the idea of “Less is more,” it’s time for you to implement them within your own day and free up more time for the memorable moments in life. Especially with summer coming, do little, often, so you can spend more time in the sun!

Featured photo credit: Marketo Blog via blog.marketo.com

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Kerim Hudson

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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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